Libyans in US celebrate fall of Tripoli

2011-08-22 11:00

Washington - About a hundred Libyans gathered outside the White House to celebrate the rebel takeover of Tripoli, waving the country's flag and chanting "Libya is free!", "Thank you, Sarkozy!" and "Thank you, Obama!"

Rania Swadek, a 33-year-old Libyan-American who teaches English literature at Washington, waved a sign showing the red-black-and-green rebel flag with the words: "Thank you, Nato! Thank you, Obama!"

"Tonight for the first time in our lives we are very proud to be Libyan," Swadek said.

"We want to say thank you to President Nicholas Sarkozy and the French people who were the first, even before the Americans, to support the Libyans in their struggle," added this mother of two, who arrived in the United States in 1984 with her brothers and sisters after receiving political asylum.

Swadek joined other Libyan exiles who had come to downtown Washington late on Sunday after learning that the rebels had entered Tripoli.

Together, they chanted in French and English: "Thank you, Sarkozy! "Thank you, Obama!"

Crimes against humanity

The Gaddafi regime has not officially fallen, but Swadek was certain that its end had in effect arrived.

"We are very confident we are going to win because God is with us and people are with us," she said.

"They already have the sons," Swadek added, referring to reports that one of his sons, Saif al-Islam, had been arrested and another, Mohamed Gaddafi, is reportedly cowering in his house, afraid to leave.

"Now we want him alive for a trial for all the crimes against humanity he has done not just now but for four decades," Swadek said, referring to the Libyan leader.

The celebrations began after Libyan rebels entered the heart of Tripoli, surging into the capital in a final drive to oust Gaddafi.

US President Barack Obama said in a statement the Gaddafi regime was at a "tipping point" and that the "tyrant" must go, adding a call for the rebels to respect human rights and move to democracy.

Growing euphoria

Senior rebel figure Mahmud Jibril said there were still pockets of resistance in and around Tripoli and warned his forces to be cautious.

Next to Swadek, a woman waved a white placard thanking Nato for its "fight for democracy".

Children were clad in "Free Libya" T-shirts with the colours of the rebel flag. One of them was also waving a large multicoloured sign, saying in capital letters "FINALLY".

As euphoria grew, Libyans began to sing in English: "Gaddafi left Tripoli, Libya is free."

Another song in Arabic said: "Hello, hello, if you want to join Gaddafi, it's going to be very bad for him."

About 40 men knelt facing Mecca to pray, some using the rebel flag as a prayer mat.

Overwhelming emotions

Among them was Khaled Rouini, a 42-year-old Tunisian taxi driver, who could not hide his excitement.

"I came to the White House to celebrate the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt," he said proudly sporting a "Free Libya" T-shirt. "And now it is in Libya."

Ahmed Ilhnish, draped in the rebel flag, said he had been overwhelmed by emotions.

"There is no word to tell what we feel," he said. "Now it is just a matter of time.

"I have been waiting this day since the day I was born," he continued. "I was in Benghazi in March when the French planes first came. I'm going to get back in Tripoli tomorrow or in a few days as soon as they get him."

  • Ockert - 2011-08-22 11:36

    The dictator is gone long live the dictator.

      j4truth - 2011-08-22 12:37

      Gone where?? Probably will fill Aristeed's 5 star SA tax paid mansion in Pretoria! Its a pity SA Govt. has stood by the rascal!

  • wetter - 2011-08-22 11:37

    The libyans celebrate and the anc (and most of africa) complains about NATO and the rebels. What does this tell you?

  • Hilary Ojukwu - 2011-08-22 11:53

    I am not surprised and expect the imperialists to make a big show of Gaddafi's exit. They will now organise some people to celebrate and thank them as a way to make it look like the Libyan people support the destruction that was wrought by NATO.

      crackerr - 2011-08-22 12:04

      Anyone who saw the live TV visuals will tell that the imperialist theory is a myth. How do you organize thousands of people to celebrate against their own leaders and co-citizens and the rest of the world can't pick it up for TV transmission? The imperialists must be super intelligent. No wonder they rule the world.

      Hilary Ojukwu - 2011-08-22 12:35

      Read the news again, it says "about a hundred people" gathered in front of the white house to thank THEIR SAVIOR OBAMA. The same Obama who has failed to do anything about the plight of African-Americans in his domain. Simply, he is a tool in the hands of the imperialists. He is just a black face for white power.

      crackerr - 2011-08-22 12:57

      I can actually read. And appreciate what I read. Explain the mechanisms of how the imperialists orchestrate the events. Do they pay the participants? Why would the Libyans in the US be so much different from the Libyans at home that those in the US have to be bribed or threatened by the imperialists to sing and praise for the imperialists while those in Libya do it voluntarily and elatedly? You can squeal against Obama as much as you like. The real intelligent people will support him for another term and it will again include about 90% of black Americans. The same black Americans you imply are the victims of the imperialist Obama. You lot are out of tune with history. The time of dictators to give back their hijacked countries and nations to the genuine rulers has arrived.

      Hilary Ojukwu - 2011-08-22 13:48

      When will the time for IMPERIALISTS to give back WHAT THEY TOOK FROM AFRICA arrive? Or you think it will last forever?

      Hilary Ojukwu - 2011-08-22 13:52

      Cracker, while celebrating the super intelligence of your imperialist heroes, you should be ashamed that even will their evil weapons of mass destruction, it took them over 40 years to get rid of Gaddafi. So, why are you celebrating?

      crackerr - 2011-08-22 14:59

      @ Hillary I celebrate for the same reasons as do all right-minded people who appreciate the freedom to actually vote our leaders in or out by SECRET ballot. May freedom spread quickly to rid us off hijackers of countries and peoples.

      slg - 2011-08-22 21:28

      Hilary, that is just a pile of garbage. It's mind-waste. Your ancestors, like all human civilizations, were also involved in conquering lands and other tribes, which makes you an imperialist too. It's the human story. That paradigm is so old and defunct, it's not even funny. Hilary, you remain on the fringes of what is really happening, the amazing events unfolding before our very eyes. The Middle East is freeing itself. Do you not understand. No. But that's your choice. It's sad to see, though. Such a waste of life.

      john - 2011-08-22 21:57

      Hilary, when the Roman Empire gives Europe back what it stole from us, and when you give back what you stole from the KoiSan, then we'll pay you back, mkay? Regarding Obama "failing to do anything about the plight of African-Americans in his domain", here's a thought for you: Britain didn't do anything about the plight of its colonial subjects in the US. Heck, it waged war against them. And yet those same colonial subjects went on to achieve spectacular wealth without Britain GIVING it to them. Could it be that Africa's ongoing poverty is because, while all other continents are industriously going about creating their own wealth, Africans sit with hands out like beggars waiting to be GIVEN wealth? If Japan was inhabited by Africans, they would today be the poorest country on the planet. They'd sit with hands out, whining that until America paid them compensation for dropping the bomb, they'd whinge and complain until someone fed them out of pity. Luckily for the Japanese, they have too much pride and self-respect to allow that to happen.

      slg - 2011-08-23 03:49

      Still trying to figure out how you oppose the imperialists but support the most brutal dictators and imperialists alive. Just doesn't make sense, Hilary.

  • RAYSEMBE - 2011-08-22 13:16

    Now is the time for the west to steal as much oil as they can.

      crackerr - 2011-08-22 15:02

      No. The will pay for the oil. But the proceeds this time around will not be concentrated in the hands of a few country and people hijackers. Refreshing! PS: The vast majority of Libyans seem delighted. Why aren't you? The anti-imperialism dreams up in feathers?

      slg - 2011-08-22 21:30

      The same nonsense. Raysembe, wake up buddy. Just Google a bit, do some research. Start with OPEC and how the oil industry works. Have you not noticed that the oil-rich countries themselves are among the wealthiest on the planet. It's beyond doff what you're saying.

      john - 2011-08-22 21:45

      Yeah, just like they stole Iraq's oil, huh? Oh, wait, they didn't. The oil still belongs to Iraq, and the world still buys it at market prices - and China got the most oil concessions from the Iraqi govt. Oh dear, looks like another anti-West conspiracy theory went up in smoke. I wonder what the West's motivation was for paying mercenaries to topple Mubarak in Egypt, despite him being the most popular national leader ever in history? Oh, hang on, I've got it now - they wanted to invade Egypt and steal the Nile. So they just crated it up in boxes and shipped it out to the US. Bummer for all those tourists traveling to Egypt to see the Nile. They'll have to go to Disneyland in Florida now.

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