Who are the people that are involved in the Libyan Opposition movement in London?
Just people who are determined to help change people’s lives. People who are willing to attend demonstrations and are willing to take action, that’s all.
Are there any leaders in the Opposition movement? If so, who are they?
When you are in an opposition I don’t believe there is a hierarchy of importance or leadership, everyone pulls together and achieves the best they can as one big whole community. There are organisers of events but even at the many events there is not just one speaker, everyone is encouraged to contribute!
In your opinion, are there different groups within the Opposition?
I personally think there are different types of activists; people who see what is happening and think it is morally wrong. There are people who have been subject to Gadhafi’s regime and have had to flee their own country – some British Libyans haven’t been able to go back to Libya for over 30 years because of how the country was being run and disappearances of people who disagreed with the Gadhafi’s ‘methods’. The Libyan people who have remained in the country are the real heros and the people who have seen first hand the damage Gadhafi has caused and suffered hardships as a consequence. There are also people with political motivations; who have watched dictators being removed throughout history and clearly think that Gadhafi should have been removed years ago! But we are all very much united as one against oppression! In opposition there are no divides.
How do opposition supporters communicate (Facebook, email, phone, flyers)?
Personally, I and many other teenagers (who are probably the most active in society) communicate via Facebook. This means that there is no direct relationship between you and the person you are sharing information with but it means that you and the rest of the world are able to post views, news and pictures online only revealing what you want them to know. There have been many groups set up over the past few days to help keep everyone updated on the situation in Libya. I find that internet communication is the most valuable in this day and age because although the press have found it very difficult to enter Libya and provide evidence of what is happening we find that many of the Libyan people have found use for the internet and are blogging their experience there and then. I have also heard that the Libyans are saving evidence onto memory sticks and handing them over at Libya’s borders to people who are able to post their stories to the world. Gadhafi of course has put up a fight and is unlikely to bow down easily after a reign of 42 years.
How can the opposition in London support the opposition in Libya? Is there communication/cooperation taking place?
We are trying our very best to maintain good communication with the people of Libya via telephones (when the lines aren’t disconnected) and internet. This is of course subject to when the people of Libya are able to receive a connection. The people of Libya are the real heroes, in England we can only do so much but hope to raise awareness of the massacre that is being covered up in Libya. We would also like people to donate money to help provide basic medical aid for the people of Libya and to show then they are not alone and we are also fighting for their freedom! We are hoping to get the red cross involved to help with aid, but still in these troubled times we are finding it difficult to co-operate and organise a collection process with the people of Libya. But we can only try our best!
Can you do things in London that are not possible in Libya?
We can get our government to listen to us – which is what the people in Libya are lacking. But the Libyan people are the real successful opposition, we really do feel helpless but all we can do is continue our protests, pray for the best and help them build a better future. I wish we could do more but we need the governments backing.
In your opinion, why are the protests across the Middle East taking place now?
I think it’s because people are seeing that change can be achieved after Tunisia and Egypt’s amazing efforts, the rest of the world is waking up and welcoming change.
Why did you decide to get involved?
I, among many other British Libyan teenagers, never really understood the political situation in Libya. Having been born here, i had never gone to Libya until I was thirteen years old. Growing up I was always taught to just accept the way things are in Libya, like all our Libyan friends we were taught not to talk about, or question the political organisation because of the fear of never being able to go back there, or just disappearing if they attempted to go back – people were living in constant fear, there was and still is no freedom of speech. So up until the protests in Libya began I never really knew the severity of the situation there, even when thousands were taking to the streets I didn’t really understand what the fuss was about, but the moment innocent blood was spilt I knew I had to find out for myself and I thought ‘we cannot just let these people die in vain and continue living our lives like everything is OK when it clearly isn’t’ I thought I was time for change and I hope that other people are willing to accept that and stop being frightened and act upon what they know is right.