A LIBYAN man exiled to Halifax has talked of his relief after Colonel Gaddafi’s death.
Akli Sheika Bessadah arrived in Halifax in March 2009 after being forced to leave the country.
He had been secretly recording a film highlighting the conditions his people, the Tuareg, live in.
This week the news came that he had waited so long for – Gaddafi was dead. “What a day,” he said.
“I was watching Libyan news channels but it was just rumours and they started talking about it here and then all across the media.”
“I didn’t want him to be killed but it was a really good feeling,” said Akli.
“The most important thing is that the Tuareg had been accused of protecting him at the start of the revolution.
“One of the leaders of the National Transitional Council had said our people were protecting him. He read a statement and said he was sorry about saying that,” said Akli, who lives in Bell Hall, Halifax.
“Everyone was saying he was in the desert but suddenly he appeared in Sirte,” he said.
“People are happy but everybody wanted him alive to stand trial and ask him why he this, and that, they wanted to ask him where are my brothers, my sons,” he said.
“Others say this is good because it will put an end to the struggle.”
“It’s the end of the regime and Gaddafi.”
“It’s a relief because it’s the end but my friend was killed by him and while I feel a good feeling I wanted to ask him what had happened to him.”
But the battle for him is not over, the death of the dictator does not mean he will be able to go home.
Akli’s people, thought by many to be the native residents of Libya, have faced decades of perscution, something he does not think will end just because Gaddafi has died.
Akli was forced out of the country after recording a film with his friend about their people. Without a permit, and against the government’s wishes they knew it was a matter of time before they were captured.
His friend Basi was captured and presumed killed. Akli had to escape his homeland. He had a 20 day voyage out of the country after a friend smuggled him to a port.
Since then he has lived in Halifax, working to raise the profile of Libyan’s in Britain and of asylum seekers in Britain.