U.S. basketball player‘s memoirs recall playing for Qaddafi

In Dec. 2010, Alex Owumi found himself at the heart of the bloody Libyan uprising

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U.S. basketball player Alex Owumi revealed his journey at the heart of the bloody Libyan uprising, in his autobiography entitled “Qaddafi’s Point Guard” published this week in the UK.

In Dec. 2010, Owumi, who now plays with U.S. team Worcester Wolves, found himself playing for al-Nasr Benghazi, a team effectively owned by former Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi, and getting privileges for being acknowledged by the family.

“I never had to pay for food at the markets or in restaurants again. Everything from socks to a new TV and laptop - I got it all free or on a sort of open-ended loan,” Owumi wrote.

But when the uprising began in 2011, the situation quickly worsened and the basketball player witnessed the horror of his neighbors being raped - and having to survive with no food, water or electricity.

“I had no power and no water. The food I had left over was gone in a day or two. I rationed the little water I had for four or five days, then it was gone,” Owumi wrote.

“So I started drinking out of the toilet, using teabags to try to make it more palatable. When I needed to go to the toilet, which wasn't much, I would urinate in the bathtub and defecate into plastic bags, which I tied up and left by the door,” he added.

No immediate return

Twelve days after shutting himself in his apartment, Owumi managed to flee the country with the help of the team‘s president but decided to travel to Egypt and continue the basketball season with a team in Alexandria, instead of immediately returning to the U.S.

“I didn't want my family to see me the way I was. So I… took the bus to Alexandria,” Owumi wrote, adding that he needed time to put himself together as his “soul was gone.”

“That decision to play the rest of the season in Egypt was a lot for my mum and my girlfriend to take,” he added.

After returning to his country at the end of the season, the athlete was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

“I would shut myself at home for 15 hours with the blinds closed. I didn't shower. My girlfriend, Alexis, would come home and find me like that and it took a toll on our relationship. I got a lot of treatment, a lot of therapy,” he wrote.

Speaking about his experience, Owumi said he has faith in God and he has no regrets about going to Libya.

“I don't regret going to Libya,” he wrote, “God has a plan for everybody - you could go left, you could go right, you're going to end up on his path at the end of the day.”

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