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Local woman recalls life under Gadhafi rule

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

SHERMAN, TX-Hundreds of Libyan rebels blasted through the gates of Moammar Gadhafi's fortress after a five hour fight.
The fall of Gadhafi's fortified compound in Tripoli was seen as the effective collapse of his 42-year reign over Libya, but Gadhafi himself has not been found. Libya's former deputy ambassador to the United Nations said he expects the entire country will be under rebel control and "totally liberated" within the next 72 hours and it came as welcome news to one Texoma woman who was living in Libya when Gadhafi first took power. Victoria Maranan has her story.
Kimberly Matlock moved to Tripoli with her family during the late 60's when her dad took a job at an oil company. She said life was pleasant at first, but once Gadhafi took power, things took a turn for the worse.

"We were scared, we were scared to death. You could hear guns going off. It's supposed to be a bloodless coup but there were eyewitnesses, friends, Americans that saw shooting happen in the streets," she said.

A revolution broke out in Libya the year Kimberly Matlock, who was just an 8th grader at the time, moved to Tripoli with her family. When Moammar Gadhafi took over in 1969 and established martial law, Matlock said Americans were harassed constantly and she remembers a close encounter with Gadhafi's army when she and her mother went to visit a neighbor next door.

"We heard talking behind us. It was two Libyan soldiers and they had their guns drawn and motioned for us to get inside of our fence. We would get stopped in the streets, you had to carry your passport with you," she said.

On a tour of the Libyan coast with her family, her father was arrested because he took a picture of the coastline.

"And took him down into an old part of Tripoli, couldn't speak to him in English so he didn't know what he'd done and they said he was taking pictures of their Navy," she said.

When Gadhafi closed the Wheelus Air Force Base where Matlock was attending school, she went to Switzerland to continue her studies. Her parents tried to get out of the country in 1970, but the Libyan government didn't make it easy.

"We're told that they were in the country illegally at that point and they confiscated my mom and dad's passports,"she said.

After a year fighting to get out of the Libya, Matlock was reunited with her parents summer of 1971 in Malta and she said she feels lucky that they were able to escape with their lives.
Now, she's hoping Gadhafi is ousted for good and said it's time for new leadership in Libya.

"Power went to his head it seemed to, changing everything, it's a typical dictatorship. He's a prime example of a dictatorship."

Despite her experience living in Libya over 40 years ago, Matlock said she'll return to visit the country for the first time, once peace is established.


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