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Libya Native, Now Plano Resident, Reflects On Country’s Resilience

By Marianne Martinez, CBS 11 News
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PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – Samir Mavrakis left Libya in 1974 at the age of 18. He came to the United States to attend college and had planned to return. But, he realized the oppression of Muammar el-Qaddafi regime.

“Qaddafi allows no opposition, no dissent for whatever it is he wants,” Samir said. “He has one of those famous sayings, you’re either with me or against me.”

Samir still has strong ties to Libya. Many of his extended family members live in Benghazi, where much of the violence has taken place. Sunday afternoon, Samir was able to speak with his cousins, who fled their homes.

“They were describing what was going on in Benghazi yesterday, how horrific it was,” Samir said. “They were talking about the shelling, the sounds, everything else, the fear they were in,” he said.

As Samir watched the news from Libya with his family in Plano Sunday, he is hopeful the Coalition forces will help put an end to violence.

“It’s one of those moments when one becomes very proud of being an American,” Samir said. “The only negative thing is that they’re a bit late, but other than that, absolutely, it’s fantastic; absolutely necessary.”

Samir said Qadaffi’s rule must come to an end.

“We have lived with him for 42 years,” he said. “We don’t believe he will give up at all. He’s going to have to be taken out.”

Samir said he is eager to return to his homeland once it is a democracy again.

“The country will be re-built,” he said. “There is a bright future for that country.”

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