Seattle man brings home story of family in Libya

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by GLENN FARLEY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @GlennFarley

KING5.com

Posted on October 7, 2011 at 9:57 PM

Updated Friday, Oct 7 at 10:01 PM

SEATTLE -- In  a cemetery outside of the Libyan city of Benghazi, there are flags flying over many graves. Libyan revolutionary flags, a tri-color of red, black and green. Some were purchased from stores for those who could afford them. Others are home made, turned to tatters. One of the flags has toppled over. In a video, Mike Taib's cousin steps in to stand it back up.

"When people were carrying the killed protesters to this grave site, they ended up getting fired on,"  said Taib. 

Those were the early days of the Libyan revolution against dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the days that lead up to Benghazi becoming the defacto capital of the Libyan revolution back in February.  Taib recounts the stories, many from his own Libyan family members, who lived the revolution.

Taib is a 30-year-old American-born man with a foot planted in both cultures. After his parents divorced while he was fairly young, Taib said his Libyan father moved back to Libya to teach geography and eventually remarried. There, Taib has not just a father but two brothers and a sister, plus a huge extended family.  Some of his cousins fought as rebel fighters -- one was wounded, another relative died.

He had never set foot in Libya, until August, determined to reconnect with his family on a more personal basis after his phone connection was cut off by Gadhafi's government as the revolution took over the eastern half of the country surrounding Benghazi.

"I couldn't even explain to you what it feels like when that technology you grow so accustomed to having is ripped out of your hands," he said.

Taib is a musician, a graduate of Seattle's Art Institute. The scene in the cemetery is just one in more than 20 hours of video he took over six weeks that he plans to turn into a documentary, featured at film festivals and other venues. He calls his documentary "Home in Time For War."

His documentary is not a journalist's tale from the front lines, but a family portrait caught up in the whirlwind of  revolutionary change. He's also obtaining video from other sources that recount the carnage so many experienced.  

Some family members live in Ajbabiya, a town that was the center of a seesaw battle between Gadhafi fighters and rebels. 

"We go to Ajbabiya and there's bullet holes in every single building.  I go to my uncle's house and asked him, 'Why...why was your house so shot up?'  And the translation from my cousin was, 'Gadhafi shoot everything.'"

If you want to learn more, visit www.homeintimeforwar.com .

 

 

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