‘Starting today, we are free free, free’
CBC News Posted: Oct 21, 2011 9:34 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 21, 2011 9:04 AM ET
Libyans in Toronto and Ottawa celebrated the end of Moammar Gadhafi’s regime Thursday, cheering and waving flags in the streets.
In downtown Toronto, Libyans were singing and dancing in the street Thursday as they cheered the end of the Gadhafi regime, CBC’s Lorenda Redekkop said.
“I am so happy. This is the best day in my life,” said Ali Suleiman, who was waving a green, red and black flag.
“A lot of my family died just because they say no for something,” he said. “We don’t have any kind freedom in Libya.”
Some of the people who gathered in Toronto said things have been especially dangerous for their family members in Libya since revolutionary fighters started pushing for change as a wave of protests swept through parts of the Arab world.
In Ottawa, Asmaa Aghliw was among those who gathered on Parliament Hill.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” she said Thursday. “It’s been 42 years of torture, of [innocent] people being killed … of just not having a good, free life. Starting today, we are free, free, free.”
In Toronto, nine-year-old Jannyet Shallabi was spinning around with her flag.
“I called our family in Libya and told them that Gadhafi’s dead. Now we get to go back, and Libya’s free and they get to have new schools, new education and good hospitals.”
She’s never been to Libya, but her father has lived in exile for almost three decades.
Many Libyan-Canadians share those hopes. Dozens of Libyan-Canadians gathered in Montreal to cheer the news, while others talked about their hope for Libya’s future.
Windsor cardiologist Wadea Tarhuni called Gadhafi’s death and Libya’s impending freedom “a miracle.”
Seraj El-Majdoub, a university student from Tripoli currently studying in Kelowna, B.C., said he spent Thursday morning on the phone as he talked to family and friends about the historic events in Libya.
In Edmonton, Dr. Abdel Elfourtia said he was shocked when his brother called from Libya with the news. Elfourtia had travelled to Libya earlier this year to help treat the wounded as revolutionary forces clashed with Gadhafi loyalists.