News / Middle East

Civilian Volunteers Brace War-Crippled Libya

Body of a NTC fighter is wheeled into a hospital after an ambush by pro-Gaddafi forces in Ras Lanuf on September 12, 2011.
Body of a NTC fighter is wheeled into a hospital after an ambush by pro-Gaddafi forces in Ras Lanuf on September 12, 2011.
Scott Bobb

Adel Ahmed, a strongly built, bearded man in a brown cap and t-shirt, commands a coterie of guards at a security checkpoint along the road between Misrata and Sirte.

Armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, he and his subordinates check documents of passing motorists, much as established authorities might do in any war-torn region.

But Ahmed, like others at the roadblock, had a job until six months ago when he joined the rebels and freed the port city of Misrata after months of fighting in which about 2,000 people were killed. Previously a worker at the ports, he's one of the many former students and professionals who dropped their books or left their careers to support what they call the revolution against Moammar Gadhafi.

In the prolonged uprising that's ousted Libya's leader - driven largely by those enlisted of their own volition to battle government efforts to crush the revolt - volunteers such as Ahmed have also provided support in other ways.

"I volunteered, like all the others, first for freedom," he says, adding that when saw Gadhafi forces respond violently to peaceful protests, he felt he had no choice but to fight for a better country.

A health facility reorganized

In Tripoli's central burn hospital, medical student Ali al-Mughrabi tends to an injured boy. Not a doctor until next year, he says he is helping out as a nurse due to the shortage of professional caregivers. He's one of hundreds of volunteers from the neighborhood who have come to clean floors, cook food and wash dishes.

Previously an out-patient clinic for burn victims, the facility had been evacuated due to heavy shelling in the early weeks of fighting. Many of its former employees have only recently returned to find that it has been transformed into a major surgical and intensive care facility that tends to thousands of wounded.

On the streets

Out on the streets of Tripoli, young men clean the sidewalks and remove garbage for the first time since the government fell. Volunteer Saleh Dukalia explains why.

“Not all the people can go to [be with] the rebels," Dukalia says. "So they ... clean, paint, deliver water and deliver milk. We try to help.”

Some of the volunteers have begun to organize and register as civic associations, and Libya's new leadership welcomes the development.

Follow our Middle East reports on Twitter
and discuss them on our Facebook page.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More