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Former resident focus of film
21-year-old was killed in Libya
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Osama Bensadik speaks recently about his son, Muhannad. (Bulletin photo)
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

A documentary that was two years in the making celebrates the life — and recalls the sacrifice — of a former Henry County student.

It also represented a gift for at least one family member.

Muhannad Bensadik was 21 when he died in Bishir, Libya, in March 2011 while fighting against Muammar Gadhafi. The 42-year Libyan ruler was killed by rebels in October of that year.

Bensadik was born in North Carolina and formerly attended Magna Vista High School. His mother, Suzi Elarabi, lives in Martinsville, and his father, Osama Bensadik, currently splits his time between Martinsville and Libya.

A dual U.S./Libyan citizen, Muhannad Bensadik had spent the last few years before his death in Libya, where he was a medical student, his father said.

A documentary on his life, “We Are The Giant,” premiered earlier this month at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, according to Osama Bensadik, who attended the premiere in Utah as an invited guest to see the three-part documentary. It was two years in the making and details Muhannad Bensadik’s sacrifice in the first segment. Parts two and three focus on activists in Syria and Bahrain, respectively, Osama Bensadik said.

It “tells the stories of ordinary individuals who are transformed by the moral and personal challenges they encounter when standing up for what they believe is right. Powerful and tragic, yet inspirational, their struggles for freedom echo across history and offer hope against seemingly impossible odds,” according to online information from Sundance.

It could have been titled “Enough is Enough,” because those were among the final words the younger Bensadik said to his father, Osama Bensadik has said.

Muhannad Bensadik had left the U.S. for Benghazi to join peaceful demonstrations against Gadhafi. He later called and asked for his father’s permission to take up arms and fight with the rebels, Osama Bensadik has said.

The elder Bensadik traveled back to Libya, met his son, and there gave him his blessing to join the rebels and fight. Osama Bensadik contributed to the revolution as well, driving an ambulance and coordinating a field hospital, while his son fought on the front lines.

He soon heard rumors that his son had been killed, but because his body had not been found and there was no confirmation, Osama Bensadik spent days in turmoil worrying. He later learned the rumors were true.

The documentary uses clips of the revolt and other information to help recount Muhannad’s life, Osama Bensadik said.

Osama Bensadik said “the movie will be distributed all over the world,” through a variety of mediums. While he is pleased that his son’s story will be retold, Osama Bensadik said he has received his gift from the film.

“It helps the pain” of losing his son, he said. “It was so kind. I was so touched. It will help make sure my son will be remembered.”

For more information about the film, visit www.filmguide.sundance.org/film.

 

 
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