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BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (CBS) – Libyan-Americans living in the Chicago area were glued to developments in their homeland on Sunday, as Libyan rebels overtook a major military base that defends Tripoli.
On CBS’s “Face The Nation” on Sunday, U.S. Sen. John McCain said it was only a matter of time before Gadhafi was removed from power.
As the civil war played out in Libya – thousands of miles away – at a home in southwest suburban Bridgeview, an American family, the Aduibs, were following the events intently.
“We live almost like a double life. As Americans we’re free and we’re able to do what we want. But, then we have a dictator ruling over all my cousins, all my aunts, all my uncles,” Abdulrahman Aduib said.
The Aduibs watched scenes of gunfire and rebels fighting to take back their country on television and, on Facebook, follow updates from relatives in town after town, where forces are defeating dictator Gadhafi’s loyalists.
“They’re telling us that they will continue to fight. I have never seen such unity amongst my Libyan people,” Abdulrahman Aduib said.
“I’m very proud, I really feel pride. When I watch the Libyan people, pride takes over more than nervousness,” Abdulrahman’s sister Halema Aduib said.
Halema Aduib was visiting from Dubai with her four children, but her husband Mohammed has traveled to Libya to work toward liberation.
“There’s a lot of Libyan widows and that’s not what I want. But to fight for something you believe in is great,” Halema Aduib said.
On Sunday, their Bridgeview neighbor Ibrahim Elfrijani called from just outside Tripoli, where he’s traveled to bring medical supplies to anti-Gadhafi forces.
“There is celebration actually for today, we waited for this day for a long, long time,” Elfrijani said. “The Quaddafi people … they just throw their guns, they throw their guns and run.”
The Aduibs were celebrating change in their homeland and coping with the price of those efforts.
“You do get your bad news, but the bad news is overshadowed by good news of the Libyans taking over more land, the rebels taking over more land,” Abdulraoof Aduib said.
“The darkest hour comes before the dawn – that’s where we are at right now. You know, we have to sacrifice to get what we want,” Abdulrahman Aduib.
The Aduibs pointed time and time again to Libyans they see in pictures proudly displaying their traditional tri-colored flag, banned for nearly 40 years by Gadhafi. They said it’s a sign the day they’ve waited for is almost here.