On May 14, Dr. Othman Shemisa returned to Libya for the first time in 27 years. Dr. Shemisa was born in Libya. He traveled to the U.S. for college, where he received an undergraduate and a graduate degree from the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine. He traveled back to Libya a couple of times and taught at the medical schools. But because of the Gaddafi regime, it was impossible to live as freely as he did in America, so he returned. He has been practicing medicine in Cleveland for 27 years.
Connecting Those in Need
While the doctor will certainly visit with friends and family, he has another purpose for his visit in mind.
“I want to see for myself firsthand what kind of areas of need there are that we could help with,” he says. “The U.S. is known for its generosity, not only with money but with sharing its way of life, accomplishments and successes.”
He says he would like to see if there are needs that might connect emerging organizations, such as those that help with women’s rights and civil rights, and if an exchange could be set up between the U.S. and Libya.
“There is a lot that this great country of America can give to help other developing nations in terms of the implementation of freedom and free enterprise and the advanced ways of doing everything from education to technology to the civic,” Dr. Shemisa says.
In many countries, people depend on the government for everything.
“In the U.S., the government depends on the people, which is why I believe this country remained free for the past two centuries,” he says. “That kind of civic ideology is important for emerging nations to be able to adopt.”
A New View of Libya
According to Dr. Shemisa, Libya is a beautiful country. Its people are peaceful and well-grounded in tradition. They have come to know all nationalities through commerce, as well as wars and peace; they have a great deal of compassion for others.
“I want people to have a positive view of the struggle that they went through to gain back their freedom,” Dr. Shemisa says. “I owe Libya a lot because that is where I started; but I also owe [the U.S.] a lot. The person I am is through the opportunities and help of other people. It is time that I can help people in need. I want to help others in the same way I was helped.”
Dr. Shemisa has a message for the American people: “On behalf of the Libyan people, we want to thank all of the people of the U.S. for every bit of help they gave Libya to succeed and realize the goal of a free society. Without the help of this country and other friends it would not have happened. We are very grateful to the U.S. for standing by us.”
If you would like to help the Libyan efforts, contact Dr. Shemisa at (440) 414-9700 and he will help connect your expertise to those in need.
Photo: Shipment of wheelchairs that Dr. Shemisa with the financial help of MedWish sent last summer to Libya