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Local dissident plays advisor to the Libyan rebels

Photo: Michael Barajas, License: N/A

Michael Barajas

Libyan dissident Mansour El-Kikhia holding a photo of himself from before he fled his hometown of Benghazi 30 years ago.


What was it like being back after 30 years?

For the last 30 years, I was like a bird that yearns to go back to that place I was born. I’ve seen the change in Libyans since I left, through three decades of oppression. I expected the country would be better, but it was much worse than when I had left it. But now I see a Libya that is changing.


What happens to Libya now?

I’m afraid Qaddafi will still be taunting for many years to come. I’m talking about Qaddafi as far as ideology, what he’s done to people in Libya. He was a magnet to certain types of people in Libya. What do you do with them? Do you eradicate them? Of course not. You can’t. They’re going to be there. They’re going to have children. Are they going to be influenced by Qaddafi? Of course they are. Are they going to continue to buy into Qaddafi even after he’s gone? Of course. But you’ve got to set up a democratic, transparent, and secular state in Libya. How can you deny them the right to vote? This is one of the things I stress when I talk to leaders in the opposition and I hope they listen. •

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