A couple of weeks ago (March 15), at 11:30 pm, I heard automatic-weapons fire and loud booms while in my room at Benghazi’s Hotel Uzu. I opened the window and saw red beads of anti-aircraft tracer fire rising into the sky above Benghazi’s harbor. Curious, I found a driver and went back into the center of town — where I discovered that all of the fire was not coming from any fighting, but just from young men driving around in jeeps and firing their weapons into the air, letting off steam and pumping themselves up. Testosterone.
Later, at 3:30 am, I heard tires squealing loudly on the road in front of the hotel. Were pro- and anti-Qaddafi forces chasing each other? Was someone fleeing an attack? I opened my window again — and saw a line of 20 cars full of raucous guys in their teens and twenties, waving the revolution’s black-red-green tricolor, dancing with their heads sticking out of their car windows and sunroofs, chanting off-color slogans about Qaddafi and his hair, and drag racing across a highway bridge. Drag racing for the revolution, you could say. The world over, from Oakland to Benghazi to the Tokyo Drift, shabab will be shabab.