People from Libya celebrate Ghadafi's fall

August 30, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Libya's interim leaders are giving pro-Ghadafi forces until Saturday to surrender or face force. It is a sign that has many Libyan ex-patriots in the Bay Area celebrating.

Khadija El Gatani is back home with her fellow Libyan ex-patriots after celebrating the fall of Benghazi. She took pictures with some rebel soldiers and is seen holding a machine gun and smiling. She joked she just took the gun from the soldiers and said, "I'm ready to go."

On Tuesday night there was a special celebration at a Fremont restaurant. It was the end of Ramadan and the end of Ghadafi's 42-year regime.

Ahmed Gettani from Fremont went back to witness the revolution in July. He said, "It was a big, huge difference what NATO did because they knocked out all those tanks Ghadafi was shooting civilians with."

Many of these Silicon Valley engineers, professors and business people say their friends and family suffered under Ghadafi who imprisoned, tortured and executed anyone who opposed him.

"Some spent 18 years in jail. Some were hanged publically," said Karim Senussi from El Cerrito.

Now there's a huge demand for supplies to get the country moving and many of these ex-patriots are trying to help.

"All the Libyan [people] go outside Libya to get even basic medical needs," said Omar Halloum from Oakley.

A Libyan doctor at Kaiser Permanente is arranging a 12,000 pound shipment of medical supplies to Libya this Friday.

"There was probably three months of supplies in the country. Then we add on top of that the war and huge number of injuries and they're really at a chronic level," said Chuck Haupt, the MedShare executive director.

Despite the wealth of their oil-rich country, many here say the economy and infrastructure has been in shambles for years, but now they're finally seeing an opportunity to change that.


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