Libyan Rebellion Hits Mid-Missouri
COLUMBIA - Muammar al-Gaddafi announced today he will not back down and will "die a martyr" before he sees Libya turned over to Libyan rebels. But those rebels are only getting stronger, both in number and influence. Some Libyan rebels are even fighting from more than 5,000 miles away - in Columbia.
Munsif El Buri left Libya more than thirty years ago to escape al-Gaddafi's oppressive regime. While his family stayed behind, El Buri became a voice for the Libyan people abroad, monitoring public forums and contributing to a "Voice of Hope" radio station in London.
"I'm so thankful for technology," El Buri said.
With the escalating insurgence in Libya, El Buri continues to talk to friends and family every day. El Buri collects information from contacts across Libya, compiles the latest news and sends it to his friends across the country. Because the government barred most media from entering Libya, El Buri says this is some times the only news his family gets.
El Buri has been very public about his problems with al-Gaddafi's regime, speaking out against al-Gaddafi multiple times since leaving the country. Because of El Buri's comments, his brother was imprisoned for 14 years. El Buri said his brother died from an illness he contracted in prison soon after being released.
Libya's future is up in the air. While some military have defected, some still support al-Gaddafi. Libya's liberation depends on whether or not al-Gaddafi's military stays supportive, MU political science professor Kate Floros said.
The U.S.'s tense past with Libya could keep the U.S. government from intervening, Floros said. But, because of al-Gaddafi's "unfriendly" reputation, other outside actors could pitch in, Floros said. Floros expects more surrounding countries to follow Tunisia, Egypt and Libya's lead. Floros said the Middle East is ready for democracy.
El Buri hopes Libya's independence comes soon. After three decades away from home, El Buri wants to finally return to Libya this summer. He cannot return to Libya until al-Gaddafi is officially removed because he fears imprisonment or execution.
"Enough is enough," El Buri said. "I don't think the Libyan people will take it anymore."