Supporting or condemning

British-Libyans appear unified in their support for the uprising, but some see it as the worst case scenario.

Since February 17th British-Libyans have faced a question. Do they give their loyalty to a 42 year old dictator or to a fragile democracy movement? Some British-Libyans feel that fighting is not the best option, however many live in the UK precisely because of their antagonism towards Gaddafi’s regime.

Gamu El-Gamaty, 54, left Libya to study in the UK over 35 years ago and whilst overseas he got involved in anti-Gaddafi activities. This active opposition meant that he could never return to his homeland whilst Gaddafi stayed in control.

Gamu El-Gamaty - UK Coordinator of the NTC

Gamu El-Gamaty - UK Coordinator of the NTC

Today Gamu is the UK coordinator for the National Transitional Council (NTC) in Benghazi, the organisation governing the rebel territories. His role is to aid communication between the British government and the NTC. He described the Libyan community in the UK and how the uprising has affected them.

However there are two sides to any conflict. Gamu explained the level of support Gaddafi has amongst British-Libyans.

Ramadan Bengreid, 34, came to the UK just days before the uprising began. What was meant to be a two week trip has become an indefinite stay. Ramada’s opinion, as he is aware, contradicts that of many British-Libyans. Whilst not supporting Gaddafi, he thinks there should be a political end to the uprising and fails to see how the continued and increasing use of military force by NATO and the rebels will bring freedom or peace.

Ramadan thinks the fighting can only damage the country and make it worse than before. He ran an educational centre in Tripoli before the uprising and as soon as the uprising began his business, amongst many others, ground to a halt. Instead of bringing peace and freedom, Ramadan thinks the conflict will only divide the country and its people.

The UK has played a significant role in the Libyan conflict, pressing for the UN resolutions and implementing the no-fly zone over Libya. The importance of the UK to the rebel’s chance of success has not been lost on British-Libyans.

Most think that NATO’s enforcement of a no-fly zone is beneficial. Ramadan thinks that there could have been a political solution earlier in the demonstrations and disagrees with the necessity of NATO’s bombing campaign.

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  1. […] just finished an article which gives the site some much needed balance. The article involves interviews with two people, one of whom, Guma El-Gamaty, is the UK […]



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