Google Maps Celebrates Gadaffi Fall with Central Libyan City Square Name Change

Aug 22, 2011
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It's time for a very brief history lesson since this story affords us a brief look at a politically charged situation we generally otherwise wouldn't be taking a look at here on a tech and gadget oriented publication. The situation is the Libyan rebels are advancing on Libya's 40 year leader Muammar Gaddafi. This fellow took power back in 1969 with a group that staged a bloodless coup during which Tripoli, Libya's largest city and capitol, had it's most famous square, constructed by Italian colonial rulers and called "Independence Square" during the post-WWII Libyan monarchy. Soon after Gadaffi took power, he and his regime renamed the area "Green Square" and it's been that way for just about 42 years - until today.

As you can see from the newspaper clipping from The Robesonian from September 1st, 1986, courtesy of Google News, Gaddafi (or Gadhafi, as they call him there,) has been using what he called Green Square as a symbol of his power by letting loose fiery speeches against his enemies and for his political party's cause. What's not entirely clear is at which point this square was first called "Martyr's Square", the same name the rebels have this week renamed the square in celebration of their taking of the politically-charged geographic location and to what we can only assume is remember and honor those who have died in this most recent (and very possibly completely successful) coup.

The reason all of this, regardless of the true history of the "Martyr" bit, is hitting the Technology publication airwaves today is the fact that Google Maps has the area officially changed to Martyr's Square per a request sent in sometime this weekend and approved between Sunday night and Monday afternoon. We can only assume that such a massively important name change to one of the country's most important landmarks was discussed heavily before being approved at Google Maps HQ.

Furthermore, as a sort of tech bonus, there is a text message being sent back and forth across the country - and now across the world - that you really aught to see because it's so very uplifting. - thanks to DrSonnet for the original photo.

UPDATE: An interesting turn of events - YouTube videos such as the following two appear engulfed by comments saying that they aren't actually at Green Square, instead saying that this is Dajjal Square:

Al Jazeera Reports from Green Square / Martyr's Square

Sky News in Green Square / Martyr's Square


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