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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid