By Farah Waleed.
Tripoli, 16 December 2017:
In a small but significant piece of good new for Benghazi, a new cedar tree has been planted in the city’s Maidan Al-Shajara (“Tree Square”) to replace the one that vanished some time ago. The new tree was planted by the local Boy Scouts, “to give hope to our people”, they said.
The original tree was planted during the colonial era when the square was named after the Italian polar explorer and admiral Umberto Cagni who took part in the capture of country from the Ottomans in 1911. After independence, it was renamed simply after the tree, which is still held in fond memories among the older population.
In his hatred of anything from before he took power, Qaddafi had the tree destroyed and the square renamed as Maidan Al-Harisa. However, the name was spurned by Benghazinos who continued to call it Maidan Al-Shajara.
There has been competition to replant a tree. Two months ago, the city’s Amal Foundation organised a clean-up of the heavily damaged square and vowed that an new cedar would be planted.