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

US Investors Eye IPO for China's Alibaba

E-commerce giant handled 80 percent of China's online business last year, logging more Internet transactions than US-based Amazon.com and eBay combined More

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

As cease-fire begins, Palestinians celebrate in streets; Israelis remain wary More

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

In treatment of a 12-year-old boy Chinese doctors used a 3-D printer and special software to create an exact replica of vertebra 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.
Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implanti
X
August 27, 2014 4:53 PM
A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. VOA News reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Northern California Quake: No Way to Know When Next One Will Hit

A magnitude 6.0 earthquake rocked northern California’s Napa Valley on Sunday. Roads twisted and water mains burst. It was the wine country’s most severe quake in 15 years, and while hospitals treated many people, no one was killed. Arash Arabasadi has more from Washington on what the future may hold for those residents living on a fault line.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that were eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports from the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, where one band is bringing Yiddish tango to an American audience.

AppleAndroid