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Posted November 3, 2011

Libya Free The Best is yet to come

By Yasmine Mousa

This week the Libyan community in Niagara had more than one reason to rejoice. Besides Halloween and a week ahead of the Eid al Adha one of the most revered occasions on the Muslim calendar: the celebration of a Free Libya.

After eight, nerve-racking, blood spilling long months, the Libyans inside and outside Libya released a sigh of relief. The four decades old rule of Colonel Muammer el Qaddafi is over.

The Libyan community in Niagara is one of the largest Libyan communities in Ontario. And apparently most active, during “the first week of riots in Libya we organized a protest in Toronto, followed by a delegation to Ottawa” said one of the organizers Fathi Aboaen, in a traditional Libyan attire . To express their sentiments, the Libyan Community in coordination with the Islamic Society of St Catharines hosted over the weekend at the St. Catharines Collegiate High School, a festivity to celebrate the joyous occasion. “All are welcome, men, women, youth and children” said the invite.

At the auditorium, the names of fallen who had kin in the hall, were venerated. “The martyrs paid the ultimate price,” said Aboaen. “but their blood did not go in vain. Libya is free,” he added. Then a documentary of Libya’s history from the turn of the century to this day was displayed.

The double gym at the collegiate was set up with games for the kids, who already had their Halloween costumes on, while their faces were painted. In an act of appreciation the hosts themselves were serving dinner to their guests. The cake imaged the Libyan flag that goes back to prior el Qaddafi tenure. Dr Shaheen the renowned Libyan-Canadian urologist who resided in Niagara in 1960, remembered his uncle who was unjustly imprisoned by the Qaddafi regime back in the seventies. “Today is a victory not for Libya or the Arab alone. It is a victory for all the oppressed nations around the world,” said Dr Shaheen, one of the key speakers. “But we have to preserve this victory,” he cautioned.

Over desert one of the guests of Syrian origins, said ”I hope Syria is next.” Sukiana a Libyan-Canadian and her family were extremely troubled during the past months over her father and siblings who live in Tripoli-Libya.

That evening she was greeting the invitees at the collegiate foyer with chocolates, candies and a broad smile “I thank God a hundred times a day” she said. The mother of six said beaming “I’m very, very happy, now”.

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