In the largely improvised scramble to set up an alternative to leader Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, the Libyan rebels are leaning heavily on Ali Tarhouni, a University of Washington economics professor who abruptly left his family and students to join an uncertain revolution.
In March, Tarhouni, 60, was named the rebels’ finance minister and overseer of its crucial oil and gas portfolio.
As a dedicated civil servant, he even jumped on a fishing boat recently to personally deliver salary money to the besieged city of Misrata in the Gadhafi-controlled west.
“Courage is not an endowment to particular people,” he says. “It’s surprising how everybody can be courageous. They’re very normal people and, suddenly, most of these normal people could be heroes, courageous — and do things you don’t expect.”
(READ the inspiring feature story at NPR)