PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — People all over the world are reacting to the news that ousted Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi has been killed, including a local man who was born in Libya and later fled to the United States.
For the Libyan family that runs Salem’s Market in the Strip District, the feeling of liberation began with the rebel movement back in February.
Now, with news that rebel forces have finally overcome, the real celebration can begin.
The outside of the market is decorated in messages of freedom and peace. Qaddafi was the reason that owner, Mussaud Salem, left Libya back in the 1970s. He fled to the United States with his wife.
“I left Libya because there was no democracy; there’s no peace, there’s no justice,” said Salem.
Salem was even jailed for a year and a half while living in Libya. He blames Qaddafi for oppressing the Libyan people and denying them rights.
Now, overjoyed with the news of his death, Salem says when rebel forces started the uprising earlier this year, he knew the reign of terror would be over soon.
“I felt liberated since the revolution began,” he said. “We knew that Libya would be free.”
Salem’s son, Abdullah, was born in the United States. He has never been able to meet his father’s family. Fearful of returning to Libya, Abdullah listened to his father talk about one day being able to visit his native country.
“He’s been waiting for this day our entire lives,” Salem said. “Ever since we were little, he would tell us we’ll go home one day when Qaddafi’s gone.”
Once the dust settles, Salem says he’s excited to go back to Libya and see all the family he left behind more than 30 years ago.