Posted by on March 01, 2011 in Blog

“I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!" These are the immortal words of Patrick Henry from a speech he made on the floor of the Virginia Convention in March of 1775. In a bid to inspire the Virginia delegation to support the creation of a continental army, Henry spoke passionately of the need to defend against tyranny and oppression. Now, more than two hundred and thirty years later, these very words echo across a nation that has been held hostage for the last four decades by a mad man who has sought to control the will of the people while by viciously suppressing dissent.

As the events unfold in Libya, we realize that their story is really an American story which shares its beginnings with the call for the fundamental freedoms of speech, assembly, and expression.  The aspirations of the Libyan people to seek out their freedoms, is fueled by the democratic movements in Tunisia and Egypt. Their heroic stories motivated millions, enabling them to finally pursue their dreams of freedom. It is in pursuit of these aspirations that a new generation of young Libyans have risen up and championed the cause of democracy, giving rise to the winds of opportunity and change for a generation filled with promise.

The uniting force behind the Libyan struggle for freedom is their desire to voice their opposition to a corrupt and oppressive regime. Far too long, they have been forced to remain silent. That silence has been broken and has swelled into an ocean of opportunity and change as the Libyan people have crossed over the barrier of fear that has held captive their desires for progress and democracy. This dynamic union in Libya represents all people from young to old, rich to poor; it represents farmers, lawyers, teachers, doctors, bakers, and business owners. Gaddafi has failed to realize the fundamental truth that all people are born of free will and thought. We are all too familiar that nothing can stand in the way of the peoples will and their call for freedom. 

Against impossible odds and overwhelming force, the Libyan people are standing tall knowing that for the first time in 42 years; their destiny is one of their own choosing. As the Libyan people continue to demand their democratic rights, they realize that their capacity for change is limitless. I am confident that the memory of those who have bravely sacrificed themselves in pursuit of freedom and justice will be honored, by keeping their promise of liberty and equality for all alive.

Omar Khalifa is an activist and community organizer from California, who has worked with numerous political campaigns and community organizations. Having been elected to the California Democratic Party’s State Central Committee, the Executive Board of the Party's Arab American Caucus and serving as an alternate to the Los County Central Committee, the nation’s largest county Democratic Party, Omar continues to represent Arab American’s, guaranteeing our communities inclusion in the democratic process.
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