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Lehigh student-turned-Libyan rebel leader returns to campus


(Video courtesy of WFMZ/69 News)

Lehigh engineering student Issa Hakim returned to Lehigh to speak with students about the Libyan Revolution and his participation in the revolution.

Hakim, came to Lehigh in 2008 to earn his Masters degree in 2008. However, Three years later, he felt it it necessary to return to his home country to fight alongside family and friends during the Arab Spring.

Hakim began carrying a machine gun and patrolling the dessert in a pickup truck as soon as he got to Libya, still maintaining close ties with Lehigh throughout the period he spent fighting with Libyan revolutionaries in Benghazi. Hakim even participated in a live video chat via Skype with sixty Lehigh students and reporters. Speaking alongside several other high-ranking revolutionary figures, the event went on to make national news.

"When I went back to Libya, we wanted the change," explained Hakim. "Egypt and Tunisia inspired us, bt we had to fight. [Libyan leader Muammar] Gaddafi didn’t leave us alone. So we were fighting against Libya but we did not want that to happen."

Hakim thanked the audience for sharing in one of the greatest moments for freedom in the history of his nation. The theme of unity and mutual respect between Americans and Libyans echoed throughout his speech. Hakim covered the Libyan Revolution, the September 11, 2012 death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and other aspectss of his time in the middle east.

Hakim intends to complete his doctorate at Lehigh and plans to return to Libya, using his interpersonal skills to help rebuild the country.

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