Libyan students speak out: UK sisters protest, educate about homeland

By Amelia Orwick

For many students, the crisis in Libya feels like a repeat of the recent episode in Egypt. However, for sisters Marwa El-Amri, junior, and Muna Amry, senior, it is a call to duty to protect their homeland.

The UK students traveled to Washington D.C. last Thursday to help in alerting the public of the situation in Libya, the African country in which they were born.

“What started it, of course, was what happened in Tunisia and Egypt. We’re trying to overthrow a dictator who has been in office for over forty years,” El-Amri said.

The dictator Muammar el-Qaddafi’s main focus is expanding Libya’s influence in northern Africa and increasing wealth through the oil industry.

The sisters decided to take the trip to Washington D.C. when they heard of the danger that is lurking in the streets of Tripoli, Libya’s capital city.

“It’s kind of turned into a massacre,” El-Amri said. “Qaddafi has ordered airplanes and tanks to shoot people on cue.”

For almost a week, El-Amri and Amry have been making calls to Libya, translating the information they are given and posting the news for the world to see.

“Qaddafi has a really tight control on the media,” Amry said. “It is up to the people not just to protest but to get the news out … we want to bypass the media blackhole.”

The programs that enabled the girls to take the trip are Fed 17 and Enough. Their primary goal is to raise awareness of genocide through campaigning and fundraising.

As for school, both agreed that professors have been understanding and even excused them from a few of their assignments.

In addition to translating and posting news, El-Amri and Amry attended protests in another attempt to make their voices heard.

“When it first started five or six days ago, nobody knew anything about what was happening. They just knew something was going on,” Amry said. “I feel like this puts pressure on Qaddafi not to ignore it.”