The University of Iowa

Eko says UI students are watching events in Libya

October 24th, 2011

By Marissa Pendergrass,

The search for Muammar Gadhafi is over. Revolutionary forces killed the former dictator as they took control of his hometown. There is graphic video of the capture that we are choosing not to show. But Libyans are taking to the streets, celebrating his death.

Here in the QCA, students are learning about why the conflict a world away affects them here at home. Professors said students at the University of Iowa have been tuned in to Libya’s fight for democracy and are watching history unfold as the era of tyranny comes to an end.

Leo Eko works as a journalism professor and Co–Director of the African Studies Program at U of I. He said students want to know what’s going on at home and abroad.

“Most American young people are for justice, for equality, for freedom, which is the exact opposite of what we had in Libya. So I have, students are paying attention whether we like it or not, it affects them one way or the other,” said University of Iowa Associate Professor Leo Eko.

He said ending Gadhafi’s 42 years of tyranny, will open a new opportunity for some of the same goals many American students have. Eko said technology also is making it much easier for this generation of college kids to have a broader perspective of the issues affecting their world.

“The Internet has really changed this whole conflict in the Middle East. It in fact changed the world more than anybody would’ve ever imagined,” Eko said.

Eko said his students also want to know how the conflict will affect their own lives, from oil prices to where their tax dollars go.

“What happened today is a result of the action of the Obama administration. The US has spent millions of dollars since the beginning of this year in Libya,” Eko said.

President Obama said now it’s up to Libyans to build a strong democratic system.