Feb 222011
Authors: Jordyn Dahl

Protestors gathered in the Lory Student Center Plaza around noon yesterday shouting, “Obama has to know. Gadhafi has to go,” to protest the actions of Libyan dictator Col. Moammar Gadhafi.

There were around 50 protestors, most of them from Libya who have family trapped in the country with no way to contact outsiders letting them know if they are alive or not.

Gatherers held up signs calling the dictator a murderer and yelled that President Barack Obama needs to take action.

Gadhafi has ruled the country with an iron fist for 42 years. Protests broke out Feb. 15 after a Libyan activist was arrested; violence erupted after the protest took on an anti-government tone.

Obama has yet to give his opinion on the situation, apart from saying he was “deeply concerned” about the amount of violence occurring in the Middle East in a Los Angeles Times article.

Gadhafi has turned his military loose on the people, killing hundreds since the protests began.

The organizer of CSU’s protest, Mahdi Omar, is from Libya, and his entire family remains in the country. Two of his cousins were killed in the protests last week. The rest, he said, are safe.

Omar said the protestors want to see Obama take action and tell Gadhafi to give up the country. He said no countries talked about the uprising until after oil stopped being exported from Libya.

Oil prices in the U.S. have jumped to their highest level since 2008 due to the violence that has broken out in Libya, according to the McClatchy-Tribune. But these prices are still lower than Europe’s, which rely more on Libya’s oil exports.

“I’m wondering if Libya blood is worth less than the oil,” Omar said. “By being silent, that would be like (Obama) being on the dictator’s side, and by doing so he’s losing the (Libyan people’s support).”

But CSU sophomore Abdul Belgasem said condemning the actions of the dictator is not enough.

“Obama has to tell Qaddafi and his kids to leave the country,” he said. “That would be huge.”

Belgasem is from Libya but has lived in the U.S. his entire life. He plans to return to his country as soon as he can, though. He thinks Gadhafi will be toppled because the people will never stop fighting until they are free.

One protestor, who asked to be anonymous to protect her safety and her family’s when she returns to Libya, does not want Obama or the United States involved.
She said she is afraid that if Obama got involved in the conflict, it would turn into a situation similar to the one in Iraq.

“I’m afraid they’ll take soldiers into the country, and it’ll be a bigger problem than what we have with Gadhafi,” the woman said.

She went to the protest to demonstrate against the killing of children that has occurred in the past week.

The protesters think it is just a matter of days before the people overthrow Gadhafi, but many like Omar are concerned about what price it will cost the Libyan people.

“They (the people) will not step down,” he said. “He will fall, but the question is how much will he take down with him.”

The woman protestor echoed this sentiment, saying she does not believe Gadhafi will remain in power because the people will not accept him again after the wave of violence he has inflicted on the people.

“If there’s no justice, there will never be peace,” Omar said.

Assistant News Editor Jordyn Dahl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 4:04 pm

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