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Gadhafi’s violence horrifies Libyan-born Ohio State professor

Protesters from around the world are hopeful that Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s days as a leader are numbered.

According to media reports, Gadhafi has met Libyan citizens’ anti-government protests with violence. Gadhafi is suspected to be initiating violent conflict with peaceful demonstrators in his country and using military resources to carry out the attacks.

In response to the outcries of Libyan citizens, Gadhafi is also reported to have vowed to “die a martyr” rather than willingly relinquish power.

Ohio State is no stranger to the far-reaching impact of the violence in Libya.

Elmahdi Elkhammas, a professor of clinical surgery at OSU, was born in Libya.

“There is a massacre,” Elkhammas said. “It’s really beyond a president trying to keep his presidency. At this point, it’s somebody who is angry and quite hostile to humanity.”

Elkhammas also described the horrifying consequences of the Libyan leader’s violence.

“(Gadhafi) is using live ammunition,” Elkhammas said. “I have seen a picture of someone who is dead in the street with a huge hole in his skull. I’m a surgeon and I’m not afraid of blood, (but) half of the pictures I cannot even stand to look.”

On Saturday, the United Nations Security Council passed a unanimous, 15-0, vote to impose sanctions on Libya with the hope of stopping violence towards anti-government demonstrators.

According to UN.org, Resolution 1970 obligates “all United Nations Member States to ‘freeze without delay all funds, other financial assets and economic resources which are on their territories, which are owned or controlled, directly or indirectly, by the individuals or entities’ listed in resolution.”

“The actions taken by the regime in Libya are clear cut violations of all norms governing international behavior and serious transgressions of international human rights and humanitarian law,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Sunday.

Local Libyan protest organizer Homdi Soliman helped stage two anti-government protests at the corner of 15th Avenue and High Street last week. Soliman continued to hold out hope for an opportunity to publicly celebrate Gadhafi’s vacation of the Libyan presidency.

“God has not allowed that yet,” Soliman told The Lantern on Friday.

On Monday, Soliman said no further anti-government demonstrations have been planned for his group of Libyan citizens located in central Ohio and other supporters. However, Soliman is not ruling out the possibility of future demonstrations.

“We’re hoping to have a victory (demonstration) soon,” Soliman said. “Nothing is planned yet, though.”

Jana Al-Akhras, a first-year in international studies and a Palestinian, talked to The Lantern on Friday about the repercussions of what is happening in Libya.

“This is a global issue that people need to know,” Al-Akhras said. “There’s thousands of people who are dying. No one seems to know.”

The Security Council considered the “widespread and systematic attacks currently taking place in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya against the civilian population,” adding that the violence “may amount to crimes against humanity.”

Elkhammas said he is encouraged by recent developments both inside and outside of Libyan borders.

“(Gadhafi) is in the gasping stage of his regime,” Elkhammas said. “His regime is illegitimate, not just by the Libyan people but by the international community. There’s no way any human would accept what he has done to his people.” 

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