Chicago families fear for relatives in Libya

February 24, 2011 4:31:55 AM PST
The uprising against Moammar Gadhafi's 40-year rule spread to more cities in Libya Wednesday. Some army officers joined in the anti-government protests.

The revolution has triggered concern worldwide, but it's especially worrisome for some Chicago families who have loved ones there.

Chicago native Jimmy Williams had been in the north African nation for five months playing basketball. Desperate to get out of the country, the father and standout player fled to neighboring Tunisia.

Williams spoke with his mother via Skype on Tuesday.

"He's like, 'Mom, it's crazy over here. They're killing people left and right and they told us we have to evacuate.' I said, 'where are you going? Is there an embassy there?' He's like, 'no, we're going to catch a cab to Tunisia,'" said Sharon Williams, mother.

For Williams' sister, Tunisia is not close enough.

"I don't want him over there no more. I hope he has a safe travel and just come home to us safely," said Kimkeisha Williams, sister.

The Williams family is eager to meet Jimmy at O'Hare. But at this point, they don't know when that may happen.

Meanwhile, the Aduibes of Bridgeview have more than 100 cousins in Libya. They have been communicating with family members through Facebook. One cousin wrote, "We are without guns against Dracula," a reference to Moammar Ghadafi.

"I just hope everyone is safe, all my cousins over there, including friends and family," said Abdulroof Aduib of Bridgeview.

"They lived under this oppression for 42 years. And it's built up, it's a built up repression. It's the tea kettle just at the top, saying enough. We're done with this. We want our own rights," said Ahmed Aduib of Bridgeview.

Chicagoans have organized a rally Saturday to support Libyans and to pressure the U.S. Similar rallies were organized during the Egyptian revolution a few weeks ago.

"It's so important that we start raising more awareness so that we get our government to pressure -- to do something," said Kristin Szremski, rally co-organizer.