A Tale Of Two Flags: Libya's Battle Of Symbols : The Two-Way In 1977, Gadhafi's Libya adopted a solid-green flag, abandoning the old design featuring three horizontal stripes of black, red and green. But now, anti-government protesters are often seen touting the older version.
NPR logo A Tale Of Two Flags: Libya's Battle Of Symbols

A Tale Of Two Flags: Libya's Battle Of Symbols

In Washington, D.C., Libyan embassy staff raise the pre-Moammar Gadhafi flag at the just-resigned ambassador's residence. Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

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Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

In Washington, D.C., Libyan embassy staff raise the pre-Moammar Gadhafi flag at the just-resigned ambassador's residence.

Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images

As of Friday, the flag flying at the Washington residence of former Libyan ambassador Ali Aujali is the same flag being touted by Libyans seeking the removal of Moammar Gadhafi from power.

The move is purely symbolic — Aujali resigned his official post Tuesday, to protest Gadhafi's violent crackdown on opposition protesters. But flying what is now known as the "pre-Gadhafi flag" reveals how deep the schism is between the government and the protesters.

In 1977, Gadhafi's Libya officially adopted a solid-green flag, abandoning an older design that featured three horizontal stripes of red, black and green.

The mid-70s seem to have been the enigmatic ruler's "Green Period" — in that era, Gadhafi also printed The Green Book, his own political doctrine that's often described as a blend of socialism and nationalism, along with spiritual elements.

The book's first volume also had a subtitle which can now only seem inauspicious: "The Solution of the Problem of Democracy."

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