The beginning of the conflict with the Gaddafi regime for the family of Momen Zayed was not in 2011 but in 1976. This was the year that students in the Al-Fateh University of Tripoli, now known as The University of Tripoli, refused military training against the orders of the regime. My niece, Fathia Masoud Momen, a student in the Faculty of Engineering, rejected this military service along with 20 other female students and 200 male students. A military court was set up to try these students by the Al Azizia military officers and was attended by Muammar Gaddafi personally. Gaddafi personally accused these students of being traitors to the nation and threatened that they must be executed. He set the date of 6 April to announce the names of those students to be expelled and executed. [...]
In his story, 71 years old Al Haj Salem Ali Zayed Momen tells how that fateful decision of Gaddafi’s influenced his own actions, and those of other family members, in the 2011 Revolution.
Al Haj Salem Ali Zayed Momen was 71 years old when he was wounded in the battle for Sirte in October. He wrote his story while in Hawari hospital. After the completion of his subsequent treatment abroad, he returned to Derna, his home city.
On the 5th of December, after fasting on the 4th and 5th in preparation for the Day of Ashura, Al Haj Salem Ali Zayed Momen went out from his house at 5.30 a.m. to go to the mosque to pray. On his way to the mosque he was killed by a Kalashnikov fired from a lurking car by a person thought to be a pro-Gaddafi thug full of a desire for revenge either for the defeat of the Gaddafi regime or for earlier times when Al Haj Salem Ali Zayed Momen had been prominent amongst those in Derna who stood firmly against the force of the regime.
Those of us from all over the world who put this book together were shocked to hear that Al Haj Salem, who had survived so much, was killed in peace time. We had come to know him as a man loved, admired and respected by his family, by those who fought with him for Libya’s freedom, and by those who met him by chance. Our prayers and condolences go to his family and to the people of Derna. We see even within his telling of his own story, the picture of a man who lived righteously and was loyal to ideals concerned with faith, family, community, freedom and justice.