Libyan in New York

30 Mar

An interview by Marco Alfieri.
Edited by Dominique J. Tibbs

Hasem, you are a Libyan, living in New York City and you are here in the US during these last days. First of all, tell us something about you and your family: what do you do in Libya and why have you decided to come to NY?

I was born in 1983 in Benghazi. I worked as a doctor in Libya in the Benghazi Medical Center. I decided to come here because it has always been my dream.

Have you heard from your family? What do they say about the revolution?

Most of my family members are in Benghazi. I finally spoke to my sister yesterday and she was excited about the revolution. She described that that for the first time in her life (she is 34 year old), she saw Libyans working together as one big family, trying to safeguard their belongings and take care of their city. We haven’t seen this in a long time in the country.

How do you feel to be so far from home? And what are you trying to do to help your country?

I feel selfish missing my family and missing the most important moment for Libyans. The only thing that I can do is gather the Libyans who live here. Today we did a demonstration in front the Libyan House to show our support to the revolution. I know it is nothing compared to what our families are suffering.

When you were in Libya, did you think that your country wasn’t free?

Yes, every day we felt that we were in a prison. [We were] not free to talk or to express ourselves. We felt that the Libyan energy resources were consumed by Gaddafi and his family. While most of my friends were trying to make the ends meet, his sons were partying around the world. His famous son (Saadi) spent money in Italian soccer clubs.

The purpose of the rallies is to get the freedom which we’ve been denied for 41 years-the freedom of a better life. We were led by a family that was not legitimate to rule the country. They used Libyan resources for their pleasure.

Libya is rich in oil and many other countries, such as Italy, depend on its resources. What is the role that countries with economic interests in Libya could play?

At this moment, I feel that these countries with an interest in Libya’s oil resources are watching the situation from far. They care more about the oil than Libyan bloodshed.

How much is the Internet important in these days of revolt? In Tunisia and Egypt, the Internet was the social change’s media. Is this the same in Libya?

Yes, [the internet] has played a huge role in the Libyan revolution. The February 17 revolt in Benghazi was organized by thousands of Facebook pages. No press was allowed to get into the city. From abroad, I have access to a page called “The Light House (Al Manara)” that gives my friends and me reliable information about my city and Libyan cities. The reliability of this site has been proven many times in the world wide press.

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