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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, August 2, 2006

KCC professor Dik makes it into Beirut

By (Ukjent person)
Advertiser Staff Writer

Ibrahim Dik

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Israel's 48-hour cease-fire was a blessing for the Kapi'olani Community College economics professor who had been stranded in a small town in Lebanon, afraid to travel the roads to Beirut for evacuation.

Ibrahim Dik finally made it to the country's capital yesterday after receiving word from the U.S. Embassy that it was time to get to the evacuation point. The 62-year-old professor has been in Lebanon visiting family in his hometown of Roum, 60 miles from Beirut, since May 26. He had tried to evacuate earlier, but the Israeli military has been bombing roads and infrastructure, making travel anywhere in the country dangerous.

He said yesterday he will be taking a ship to Cyprus or Turkey and then getting on a plane to Baltimore.

"I feel like I'm on my way to leave," Dik said. "But I'm still anxious because I don't know when, how, where ... nothing."

It took Dik approximately three hours to get from Roum to Aouker, a town near the evacuation point in Beirut. He used a map and stopped at a few places to ask for directions. On his way to Aouker, Dik passed a bridge he compares it to the Golden Gate and said part of it was destroyed. The bridge is very important, he said, because it connects two mountains and is a supply route for the people of Lebanon.

Dik was hoping for a quick evacuation by helicopter, but the embassy told him it will be by sea. He said he knows how lucky he is to have a choice to evacuate the war-torn country.

"I'm getting on a boat, and I'm leaving a few million people ... not knowing what is going to happen to them," Dik said.

Saying goodbye to his family in Roum was sad, Dik said. They tried to avoid talking about the dire situation in hopes of easing anxieties.

"We ignored we were in danger and that I was leaving," Dik said. "We didn't talk about it."

Roum, where many refugees fled to, had food, water and electricity. A hydro dam produced the electricity for Roum, and Dik hopes that it does not become one of Israel's targets. He also said many took refuge in the small farming community because it is not a Hezbollah stronghold and many felt safer there. Along with his laptop, Dik has a carry-on bag packed with two shirts, two pants, a jacket, some underwear and his last box of Hawaiian Host macadamia nut chocolates he brought to give to his relatives.

"I usually bring a whole bunch with me," Dik said.

Dik was originally scheduled to return to Hawai'i on Aug. 11, in time to report to KCC for the new school year on Aug. 15.

Reach (Ukjent person) at (unknown address).