News / Africa

    Libyan Opposition Wants to Quit Fighting, Start Building

    Rebel fighters and a television cameraman take shelter as an intense gun battle erupted outside the Corinthia hotel, where many foreign journalists are staying, in Tripoli, Libya, August 25, 2011
    Rebel fighters and a television cameraman take shelter as an intense gun battle erupted outside the Corinthia hotel, where many foreign journalists are staying, in Tripoli, Libya, August 25, 2011

    The bodies of Libyans killed in the rebel push for Tripoli still lie in the streets outside Moammar Gadhafi's former headquarters compound.  But even as the opposition struggles against pockets of government resistance, many Libyans are looking beyond the dramatic events of the past week to what they hope will be a radically new and normal country. 


    Momentum

    Most of the physical infrastructure is still here.  NATO airstrikes took out many government positions, but the basics for civilian life, water, electricity, food, if now in short supply, are beginning to come back.

    Libyan rebel Fitori Abdl Khadar
    Libyan rebel Fitori Abdl Khadar

    Fitori Abdl Khadr, a resident of the largely rebel-held capital, wants to keep that momentum going. "We need to stop fighting and we need to start building," said Khadr.  

    Standing near the shores of the Mediterranean, the 23-year-old, gun slung over his shoulder, concedes it is not all over yet.  Rebels stomp proudly on torn-down posters of Colonel Gadhafi, even as many of the haphazard checkpoints around the capital stand unmanned.   Abdl Khadr thinks there may be a week or so to go.  In the meantime, he thinks, opposition forces can split up the work.

    "We can make teams to fight and teams to build.  We need Libya go back fast as we can," said Khadr.

    Loyalties

    A former computer technician, he hopes to be part of both.  Abdl Khadr left his job with the now-defunct state television to join the opposition cause three months ago.  But he says his loyalties lay with the opposition from the start of the uprising back in February.  

    "When I worked with the government," said Khadr. "I see everything.  I know to the revolution, but the government doesn't know."  

    Abdl Khadr explains his delay in openly siding with the opposition.  His father had called for reforms in an online forum and was known to the government. The son says both he and his father were detained after the protests began.  He says he got the cautionary message Colonel Gadhafi had sent.     

    "I fear about my family and my father," he said. "Maybe he kill him.  You know, he [Gadhafi] is a crazy man.  He kills everyone, no problem."  

    New Libya

    That fear of death helped Colonel Gadhafi run Libya for 42 years, an intensely authoritarian rule built on the idiosyncrasies of one man.  Government institutions of the kind most people would recognize did not exist.  The same was true of civil society.  But Abdl Khadr's hoped-for new Libya has one advantage.   

    "You know, all fighting in this revolution is not unknowing [uneducated] men.  It's skilled men.  We have doctors who have guns and [they] fight with us.  We have engineers. Everyone in the revolution, I think, he has skills," he said.  

    For Abdl Khadr, the sooner these professionals can lay down their arms and start building a new society, the better.   The young man himself was back at state television this week, making sure the antenna for post-Gadhafi broadcasting was in working order.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora