News / USA

Libyans in US Fear for Family and Friends Back Home

Anti-Gadhafi demonstrators in front of the White House, February 22, 2011
Anti-Gadhafi demonstrators in front of the White House, February 22, 2011

As protest and government crackdowns in Libya continue, Libyans in the United States are fearing for the lives of their families and friends in their homeland.  

Najla is a graduate student in Boston, Massachusetts.  She does not give her last name for fear of her family being targeted by the government of Libya's longtime leader Moammar Gadhafi.

She says she calls her family as much as possible to make sure they are safe from the bloody anti-government demonstrations that are gripping the country.

"They are saying that the situation is so worse," said Najla. "They are really afraid.  I wont say afraid; they are really scared and panicked right now."

Najla recounts what her family as told her about the situation in Libya.

"I don't even have words to describe what they are facing there each day - gun shots, heavy weapons," she said. "But they are totally, totally unarmed innocent people.  I have to say it's a genocide; it's a massacre what's going on there.  I have no other words to explain."

Saddik, who studies engineering at the University of Maryland, does not give his full name for the same reason as Najla.  Still he says the situation in Libya is so bad that he is willing to speak out, despite the risk.

"I am sure now they are listening to me and they will interpret my voice and go to my family in Tripoli," said Saddik. "I am sure they will do that.  I am asking my God to protect them."

These concerns were reaffirmed on Tuesday when Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi addressed  his nation.  Pounding his fist on the podium, MR. Gadhafi threatened the death penalty for anyone who takes up arms against Libya or takes part in espionage.

Libyan human rights activist Aly Abuzaakouk, who is the executive director of the Libyan Human and Political Development Forum here in Washington, says he wishes he could join the protesters.  He says he is in close contact with his friends and colleagues in Libya to see how he can take part in the demonstrations.

"I feel sorry I am not with them," said Abuzaakouk. "But at the same time, I try to convey the message.  I try to call them, bring them support in whatever capacity."

Abuzaakouk says he is leading efforts to contact members of the U.S. Congress and President Barack Obama to get humanitarian help to protesters in Libya and to spread the word about what is going on inside the country through the media.

Many Libyans, including Aly Abuzaakouk, say the United States should play a role in ending Mr. Gadhafi's 41-year rule.  

"The U.S. is a superpower; it is still the only superpower," he said. "And we know when a superpower, which is in complete coordination with the European Union, wants to do something, they can do it.    It's a matter of are they interested only in oil or in the human rights, human suffering and the ending of human suffering of the Libyan people."

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Tuesday called the bloodshed in Libya "unacceptable."  She said the United States is watching the developments in Libya with "alarm" and "grave concern."  

Clinton said the Libyan government must take action to end the violence and respect the universal rights of all of its citizens.

NEW: Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Changing Under Pressure, IS ‘Potent’ as Ever

US intel officials describe Ramadi's fall as concerning, but say it isn't emblematic of larger effort to degrade IS capabilities More

Nigeria Fuel Shortage Shows Fragility of Africa’s Oil Giant

Although it is the largest oil producer in Africa, country has nearly ran out of fuel it needs to power its generators, cars and airplanes over the past week More

Arrested Football Officials Come Mainly From the Americas

US Justice Department alleges defendants participated in 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through corruption of international soccer More

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

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Cari
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
May 27, 2015 9:31 PM
Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.

VOA Blogs