News / Middle East

Tripoli Resident Recalls Gadhafi's Early Days

Multimedia

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid