Dr. Abubaker Saad, a professor at Western Connecticut State University, once served as an interpreter for Moammar Khaddafy. As people with ties to Libya celebrate the death of the dictator, he said there's not a Libyan alive who was not touched by Khaddafy’s cruelty.
He remembers Khaddafy as someone who controlled everything, intimidated everyone and survived many attempts to overthrow his regime.
Saad, himself, was actually sentenced to be hanged after a failed uprising in the 1970s
“I was one of the very lucky ones who actually managed to flee the country,” he said.
Saad said Khaddafy’s death is a cause for celebration and, hopefully, the first step toward a democracy where the riches of the land will be shared with those who live there.
Several people who fled Libya and came to the United States now call Connecticut home.
Mohamed Gadoush said he wanted to forget about what life was like there, but now that Khaddafy is dead, his family would like to go back and visit.
Under Khaddafy’s rule, there was no freedom of any kind, Gadoush said.
“You always have to watch what you say. You always enter the country very cautious and when you exit you really are happy to get out of the country,” he said.
Gadoush's son, Ali, returned from Libya on Wednesday.
“I'm really mad that I came the day before they caught him, but I’m still happy they finally caught him and people can just be worry-free,” he said.
Tony Sokni, who owns an electronics repair shop in Waterbury, hasn't been back to Libya for 17 years.
The last time he visited, he was scared for his life when Khaddafy’s men detained him for questioning.
“They investigate me and (talked) to me for about five, six hours they (took) my passport,” he said.
But after the dictator was captured, he and his sister, Hanadi Sokni, wished they could be there as Libyans celebrated.
“It means … Libyan people can be like human beings,” Hanadi said.