Like many Americans, my family and I began the year gripped to our seats as we watched events unfold in North Africa and the Middle East. When Colonel Qadhafi threatened to hunt down Libyan opposition activists street-by-street, house-by-house, there was no doubt in my mind that he would follow through on that promise. His regime's efforts to beat down the opposition showed some of the worst aspects of humanity. And then, Qadhafi fled and the people could begin building the free and democratic system of government that they deserve. It is an understatement to say that I am proud of those Libyans who earned their freedoms.
This Thanksgiving, I feel extremely thankful for the opportunity to witness the birth of a new Libya in 2011. I thought you might like to know what Libyans are thankful for this holiday. Here's what a few of my Libyan colleagues had to share:
Magdi, Public Affairs Office -- "I've felt as though I've been on a roller coaster ride since the 17th of February, the day Libya decided to win back its freedom. The ups and downs of the eight-month struggle were finally rewarded with the overthrow of Qadhafi's regime that ruled Libya with an iron fist for four decades. This year, I am thankful for the Libyan people who sacrificed their lives for the sake of a Free Libya, their sacrifice is acknowledged and appreciated by people all over the world and makes me proud to say that I am Libyan. I am also grateful for our global friends that supported Libya with 'any means necessary' to achieve the ultimate goal, which was getting rid of a tyrannical regime who was willing to set Libya ablaze just to stay in power. Things are finally looking great for Libya and that makes me say that this year's Thanksgiving will be the most memorable one ever."Manal, Executive Office -- "I am thankful for the Revolution and the struggle to throw off the tyrants. I am also thankful for the support given to us by the embassy during the seven month crisis. The embassy gave me a sense of belonging, when my whole world had fallen apart; especially so, the phone calls by our Deputy Chief of Mission, Joan, just to check on me. I was moved and comforted by her calls in equal measures."Mohamed, Foreign Commercial Service -- "I'm thankful to God for so many things that have happened to me during my 60 years. I have a great wife, and two lovely children who fill my life with joy. I'm thankful for my family's health and that is a gift of All-Mighty. Above all else this year, I'm so thankful for my country's freedom, and for the people of Libya. She is free, and we are flying with joy. As Mr. King said and I am 'Free at Last.' That's why I'm thankful this year."