Advanced Reporting By: Brittney Mathis

A Brittney Mathis Exclusive

Libyan professor optimistic about ousting Qaddafi

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By: Brittney Mathis

Texas Southern University Speech Communication professor Jaballa Hasan, who suffered at the hands of Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi, spoke to students regarding his support for the rebellion in his country to create a secular democracy.

Hasan talked to students about Libyan history, events as a victim under Qaddafi’s regime, and his demonstrations and hope for changes in his country.

“No one can associate with what [is happening] in Libya, believe me I used to live there,” Hasan said. “No one knows the oppressed world but the oppressed.”

Five years ago, there was a short-lived rebellion where security forces killed 17 protesters during a peaceful demonstration in Tripoli, the most recent sign that resentment against Qaddafi was building, until recent events.

“February 17, 2006, better known as “The Uprising,” is a date that resonates in Libya, because people were weary, unemployment was very high, and they

Professor Jaballa Hasan

wanted to be free,” Hasan said.

Hasan said, “I had friends and family who participated in “The Uprising,” some of them fought along the front lines, people could no longer live like this.”

Hasan recounted some of the most brutal attacks among Libyans who spoke out in protest about Qaddafi’s nepotism.

In 1976, he saw 25 students hanged in public at the universities of Benghazi and Tripoli for organizing.

“I witnessed with my own eyes, the execution of students suspected of opposing his regime,” Hasan said. “In some cases, the killings followed years of imprisonment without trial.”

Twenty years later, prisoners were massacred at the Abu Salem prison in Tripoli.

“Within three hours, there were at least 1200 prisoners if not more who had been killed for defying Qaddafi,” said Hasan.

Hasan said he first suffered under Gaddafi in 1996, after he refused to teach from the Green Book, a short guide setting out Qaddafi’s political philosophy.

“I was teaching at the University of Benghazi, and refused to teach from this book, because there would be no common ground with my audience because the rejection of freedom of speech is beyond belief,” Hasan said.

As a result, Libyan police recorded Hasan’s class lectures and on April 7, he was arrested and put in solitary confinement for five days.

“No one can understand the psychological torture I endured every day, I was just lucky to get out,” Hasan said.

That same year, Hasan and his family smuggled out of Libya into Egypt by car with the help of relatives.

“I opened a small store, and my children and I sold cigarettes to survive, I am very lucky to be alive,” Hasan said.

A few weeks ago, he and other local Libyans protested at the Galleria to show their commitment to end Qaddafi’s 41-year reign of power, for new leadership, and democratic elections.

“Over 200 people protested in the galleria three times about two weeks ago,” Hasan said. “In September, Qaddafi will be in office for 42 years, there is too much resentment and corruption, and we want him out.”

Hasan said he is confident about changes in Libya because other Arab countries are supportive and could bring enough pressure to end Qaddafi’s period of influence.

“Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, along with Morocco and Tunisia all support throwing Gaddafi out of office, but don’t want to announce their names,” Hasan said.

“I believe as long as Gaddafi is outt, Libya will progress,” said Hasan.

As of recently,  Misurata is the last remaining city in Libya under rebel control.

On April 30, airstrikes killed a son and three grandchildren of Colonel Qaddafi, according to the government.

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Written by Advanced Reporting: Brought to you By: Brittney Mathis

2011/03/28 at 9:13 AM

Posted in Uncategorized

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