HENRICO,VA (WWBT) - After a bloody fight to the end, Libya's longtime dictator, Moammar Khaddafy is dead. President Barack Obama called it the end of a long and painful chapter for Libya.
The death was proceeded by months of rebellion by the Libyan people - pushing for the longtime leader to step down. Videos surfaced of Khaddafy bloodied, and captured by rebel forces. He was pushed through the street by these freedom fighters....home video later shows his corpse.
Ahmed Tabib was born in Libya, educated in Libya, and moved to the Richmond area. For a lifetime he's dreamed of a free Libya. Thursday, he's having a hard time believing it's so.
"To be able to say today, 2011, yes, it is a free Libya, Khaddafy is gone after 42 years, the crimes that he did, the atrocities that thousands of people were killed, thousands of people disappeared," said Tabib. "The just absolutely horrible, horrible history for 42 years."
Tabib grew up under Khaddafy's regime.
"Two of my professors that were actually pulled out of their classrooms at the University and hung for saying that they wanted a free Libya, they wanted democracy in their country," explained Tabib.
Tabib knows the cost of freedom well. His friends were killed and his 27-year-old nephew was taken captive.
"He was tortured," said Tabib. "Including electric shock, including beatings, starvations, for days and days and days and days and the entire time he was held there, my family did not know where he was."
Since February, Tabib has worn a pin and displayed a flag for a liberated Libya.
"It will take a couple years," said Tabib. "It is not going to be easy. There is a lot of damage in the structure and industry and everything that needs to be taken back."
He believes LIbya will find democracy, because he says the country is small, secular, rich in oil, and united in what it wants.
"I'm hoping that it will be the country that the Arab world will look at as what can happen when democracy hits the country," said Tabib. "Dreams do come true. "
Ahmed Tabib and his wife leave for Libya on Monday. He says he can't wait to step foot in his country--finally free-- and to be part of the celebration. Since he fled the country decades ago, he's only been able to visit twice.