Libyan-American Rapper Goes To Home Country For First Time

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Artist Khaled M. (Courtesy of Khaled M.)
Artist Khaled M. (Courtesy of Khaled M.)

For many Libyan exiles, the overthrow and death of Moammar Gadhafi means a chance to return to a country now free of a feared dictator.

For Libyan-American rapper Khaled M., it was an opportunity to visit for the first time.

"It was interesting to realize I'm coming to somewhere for the first time in my life and it felt more familiar to me than anything that I ever felt before," he told Here & Now's Robin Young.

We first  spoke to Khaled last year when he was playing a supporting role in the revolution by writing a rebel anthem of sorts--a song called "Can't Take Our Freedom."

But Khaled had never been to Libya because his family was on the run from Gadhafi's henchmen.

Khaled told us that his father, Fathi, had been imprisoned for taking part in a student protest against Gadhafi years before, and he fled for the U.S., where he ended up starting a family in a Libyan exile community in Kentucky-- that's where Khaled grew up.

Bonding With His Late Father

For Khaled, his recent trip to Libya was a chance to meet many family members for the first time, and to reconnect with his late father.

"I really felt like my father was with me," he said.

Khaled said he hiked up into the mountains near his father's village, and he found a spot where his father had hid out after being jailed and had written poetry.

He also met people who were in prison with his father in the 1970s.

Khaled said if he could talk to his father today, he'd want him to see that his efforts paid off against Gadhafi.

"More than anything I just want him to see all the sacrifice that they made that it wasn't in vain," he said.


  • Khaled M, Libyan-American rapper, you can follow him on Twitter @thisisKhaledM

This segment aired on March 16, 2012.


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