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Living in Concern over loved ones in Libya

March 19, 2011. Posted March 24, 2011

Yasmine Mousa

For 41 years Colonel Qaddafi, oppressed, humiliated and exerted his country’s wealth solely, on preserving his rule, according to some Libyan-Canadian citizens living in Niagara region. Back home, inspired by the toppling of the autocratic regimes in neighbouring, Egypt and Tunisia, the Libyans have decided to follow suit. Even though they are well aware that it will not happen, without tremendous sacrifices.

Khaled Alghul originally from Tripoli-Libya, was 8 years when Colonel Muammer el Qaddafi came to power following a military coup that ousted the King, in 1969. He remembers his older brother who was in university at the time, took to the streets chanting for a promising future. Not long after, he discovered that no radical change is taking place. Slogans of, freedom, liberty, patriotism and development, remained in the air. So, the activist he was, Mr. Alghul’s brother spoke his mind. In 1972, he was arrested and prosecuted, along with a group of his peers.

In 1981, while still a university student, Mr. Alghul fled Qaddafi’s rule, to Canada. Years passed, yet, worry over loved ones back home does not seem to wane.

From her airy living room, Sukaina, mother of six, can barely do anything, except worry over her father and siblings, back in her hometown Tripoli- Libya.

Ever since the unrest in Libya erupted, hope and anxiety shrouds her. She calls her family on daily basis. But because of Colonel Qaddafi’s iron clamp, on all aspects of life, communications means in Libya are monitored. Therefore speaking freely about the situation, in Libya may put the recipient in harm’s way. “ I speak with them no more than two minutes, just to know they’re ok” said the St. Catharines’ resident. When the riots broke, like Sukaina and the majority of Libyans, her father expressed mixed emotions of, optimism and fear. “'It was a long time overdue, but it will not pass with impunity’ my father managed to utter,” said Sukaina.

The news of Colonel Qaddafi’s supporters’ gaining grounds over the rebels does not seem to alienate Sukaina . “There is no going back,” said Sukaina .. Sukaina is scared of the uncertainty that may lie ahead. She has heard that Tripoli is under siege; in the sequence Colonel Qaddafi has hired militiamen from neighbouring African countries to aid him in suppressing the uprising. “Nobody can leave their home or walk in the street, without being questioned by the mercenaries”. “Yet I sense when I speak with my father that they are still hopeful”.

While switching TV news channels over the latest, in her motherland, “I lead a comfortable life here. I do not have to worry about anything .But My fear is for our loved ones back home. At times , I feel that my head will explode,” said Sukiana. “He is a moron” argued Mr. Alghul. In an attempt to curb his officials from turning against him, Mr. Alghul has heard that Colonel Gaddafi has “held the officials’ families captives”.

Sukaina affirms that the jails in Tripoli are full, with innocent citizens. “Doubt alone” is a reason, enough to imprison or prosecute an entire family. Currently, anxiety and hope shrouds Sukian’s days. “Only God knows what he will do when he feels that he is losing his grip over the city”. From face book she learned that he’s striking the rebels with unconventional weapons.

As often is the case, when desperations take its toll, fact and fable become inseparable. “I have heard that under, Bab Al Azizia –Qaddafi’s Tripoli compound- is a whole city, equipped with everything he needs,” said Sukaina . She has also heard that a suicide pilot had crashed into the palace, severely injuring one of his sons.

Just hours after the United Nations Security Council approved a resolution authorizing military action against Colonel Qadaffi ,the Libyan government announced a cease-fire.

“The UN resolution yesterday brought a tremendous relief and joy to me personally and to all Libyans who are held hostages under Qaddafi and to all champions of human rights worldwide” said Fathi Aboaen. Yet, Aboaen and his wife Lisa, akin to most Libyans do not trust Colonel Qaddafi, so they do not expect him to honor his word. “He is a compulsive liar,” said Lisa. “The world went to sleep last night thinking they scared him.” Meanwhile “He spent his night arranging his ranks and plotting three more massacres” said Aboaen. “He will do anything to stay in power” said Alghul . “He will burn the country on the people’s heads, before he steps down”.

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