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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age 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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs