News / Middle East

Tripoli Resident Recalls Gadhafi's Early Days

Multimedia

Elizabeth Arrott

Many in Tripoli are still stunned by the events of the past ten days, which saw their long-time leader Moammar Gadhafi swept from power.  On the edge of Tripoli's main square, where Gadhafi had planned to hold his 42 anniversary in power Thursday, one resident of the Libyan capital shared his views with VOA's Elizabeth Arrott and Japhet Weeks.


Nawar: "If you lived under an oppressive rule for 40 years, no matter what people tell you, because you have seen, you have heard, you have witnessed, you have relatives who were brutally treated, so you have to be extra, extra, careful."  

Arrott: "Your name?"

Nawar: "Oooh!!! The man might come back and get me! [laughs]  I managed to, you know, lose him for these 42 years.  My name is Salem Nawar."

Nawar: "As you people say, or people say: 'the prisoner falls in love with the jailor.'  And cannot live without him.  When you are under domination for so much, it becomes normal.  Anything else will look strange. These youngsters, they've heard.   They've seen their friends, you know, being badly treated.  And they came out.  Nobody asked them to come out.  Nobody asked them, they're going to pay them to do this.  Okay, a lot of them maybe, they think it's fun.  But no, they paid dearly.  You know, when you're fighting, you don't exchange flowers."

Back in the beginning

Nawar: "And I must admit, at the first years of the revolution, I was 22 years old, when he performed his coup d'etat then.  And we came out and shouted and screamed and yelled and did everything in his support.   Well, for three, four, five years, everything was okay.  I've seen him crossing this very street, in a Fiat 124 car - I still remember, the color was sort of yellowish to gold - and he was driving by himself.  I've seen it, by myself.  But all of a sudden the man has changed.   They put so much in his head [that] he thinks he's a god."

Arrott: "Do you worry that maybe all these hopes they're having right now, it could turn out the same way?"

Nawar: "I certainly hope not.  I sure hope not.  But I can say something, maybe just me, in my own opinion, things couldn't be worse than they were.  Not even in the craziest, strangest imagination.  I don't think it will be this bad."

Nawar: "He ran this country for more than 40 years.  For the young people, that's all they knew.  Incredible to this minute, I do not believe it.  I am still imagining he will pop out of somewhere any minute.  Not only me, [but] my generation [feels this way]. I'm 64 years old.  So, 'God is Great', as we say in Arabic."

You May Like

Turbulent Transition Imperils Tunisia’s Arab Spring Gains

Critics say new anti-terrorism laws worsen Tunisia's situation while others put faith in country’s vibrant civil organizations, women’s movement More

Burundi’s Political Crisis May Become Humanitarian One

United Nations aid agencies issue warning as deadly violence sends tens of thousands fleeing More

Yemenis Adjust to Life Under Houthi Rule

Locals want warring parties to strike deal to stop bloodletting before deciding how country is governed 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.
Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fairi
X
Brian Padden
May 29, 2015 1:27 PM
With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Seoul Sponsors Korean Unification Fair

With inter-Korean relations deteriorating over the North’s nuclear program, past military provocations and human rights abuses, many Koreans still hold out hope for eventual peaceful re-unification. VOA’s Brian Padden visited a “unification fair” held this week in Seoul, where border communities promoted the benefits of increased cooperation.
Video

Video Purple Door Coffeeshop: Changing Lives One Cup at a Time

For a quarter of his life, Kevin Persons lived on the street. Today, he is working behind the counter of an espresso bar, serving coffee and working to transition off the streets and into a home. Paul Vargas reports for VOA.
Video

Video Modular Robot Getting Closer to Reality

A robot being developed at Carnegie Mellon University has evolved into a multi-legged modular mechanical snake, able to move over rugged surfaces and explore the surroundings. Scientists say such machines could someday help in search and rescue operations. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Shanghai Hosts Big Consumer Electronics Show

Electronic gadgets are a huge success in China, judging by the first Asian Consumer Electronics Show, held this week in Shanghai. Over the course of two days, more than 20,000 visitors watched, tested and played with useful and some less-useful electronic devices exhibited by about 200 manufacturers. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Forced to Return Home, Afghan Refugees Face Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
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 Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
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 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 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.

VOA Blogs