As many knows, I was born and raised in Tripoli, the capital of Libya. Since I was a little and whenever I go with my family downtown. As I grew older, I must pass by the Gazalla fountain. It is a tradition. Oh, the Gazalla, it was one of Tripoli’s landmarks.
The statue was built in 1932 during the Italian colonization by the Italian artist Angiolo Vannetti (1881-1962). It is originally called “The Gazelle and the beauty”. According to Vannetti’s own words, the statue represented what “the country had the sweetest to offer: the gazelle and the woman”. And sadly, I am referring to it in the past because it is gone now. On the 4th of November, 2014, people woke up and found it gone. It is still unknown until this day who removed it and why it has been removed.
It was one of the most shocking events in 2014 as Tripoli survived the airport war in the same year. The Gazalla left and it took with it all the good memories, the beauty, and love for this city. I would say it was kidnapped because it was more than a status for people in Tripoli.
For years, generations took photos next to it and sat by the fountain mesmerizing its beauty. I wonder how many sat there and discussed life, talked about their future plans, or even love! I still cannot process the fact that it is no longer there. My brain cannot comprehend who would do such a thing. Who would ever destroy the beauty and deprive people of it?
It’s been four years now and we haven’t heard anything about the gazelle. We terribly miss you and wonder if you’re still alive or they managed to bring you down into pieces. I don’t know if I will ever get answers as many other people in Tripoli but I know for sure the love people hold for it. I am saddened by the fact that many generations will never know what was it and what it meant to us. The Gazalla became a memory in our endless list of memories but maybe it will be a story for us to tell to generations to come.