Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

Mourners lower the body of a man into a grave Tuesday. The man succumbed to wounds sustained on Feb. 17, at the start of an uprising against Moammar Kadafi. He was shot in the neck and died in the hospital Monday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A mourner cups his hands to pray for the man who was buried.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Beside the grave, mourners chant, "There is one God and Allah is his name."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A revolutionary stands with his AK-47 outside a recruiting office Tuesday, hoping to head to Tripoli in coming days to battle the forces of Libyan dictator Moammar Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Fresh recruits pose for pictures before departing Tuesday. Rebel fighters have been trickling out of the city in recent days and making their way toward Tripoli.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Volunteers sign up for the fight against Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A child gets into the revolutionary spirit at the recruiting office.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A boy Tuesday passes a camp once occupied by militiamen loyal to Moammar Kadafi. The sprawling garrison in downtown Benghazi was ransacked and burned by people taking part in the uprising against the Libyan dictator.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Residents peer into a dungeon in a camp once occupied by militiamen loyal to Kadafi.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A man uses a piece of burning paper to pierce the darkness in a bunker at the camp.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Libyans check out the bunker.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Saif Islam Kadafi, the son of Moammar Kadafi, talks to journalists under a portrait of his father.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A supporter of Moammar Kadafi thrusts a fist into the air.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A tank guards the road into town, 20 kilometers from Tripoli.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A group if Indians waits at the airport hoping to get a flight out of the country.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

A Kadafi supporter tells journalists he was injured by gunshots during clashes with anti-government forces in the early days of riots in Libya. The photo was taken on a government-guided tour for journalists.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Rick Loomis / Los Angeles Times

Armed rebels take up positions in front of a munitions storage hanger at a government military base that they have taken over. Meanwhile, in Port Brega, Libya, anti-government forces were bracing for a fight against Kadafi loyalists on Tuesday.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Goran Tomasevic / Reuters

A former Libyan soldier shows civilians how to use an anti-aircraft cannon. According to media, Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi deployed tanks and crews Tuesday at major intersections along the western border of areas taken over by rebels. In the meantime, people in the eastern part of the country were trying to put together a force made up of former army troops and volunteers with basic military training.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Khaled Elfiqi / EPA

A Libyan soldier who joined rebels in Benghazi displays ammunition and weaponry at a military base.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Khaled Elfiqi / EPA

A Kadafi supporter waves a flag as a convoy of 18 trucks loaded with humanitarian aid bound for Benghazi leave the suburb of Gaser Ben Ghisher. The photo was taken on a government-guided tour for journalists.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: CHRIS HELGREN / Reuters

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Libyan conflict from both sides

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Journalists covering the fight between Moammar Kadafi’s government and the rebels seeking to overthrow it have a limited view of the conflict. Those who want to report from government-controlled territory must join official tours and are prevented from straying off on their own. Otherwise, journalists have to cross the border illegally and stay in rebel-controlled areas because the government has said it will arrest any journalist there who is not registered with the government.

This lack of freedom of movement is frustrating, said Times photographer Luis Sinco, who is in Libya unescorted. There are many stories to photograph in Benghazi, where he has been for several days, but he says he will be “treading over the same ground” in a few days.

On Tuesday, Sinco and staff writer Raja Abdulrahim drove around Benghazi, stopping at a farm that belonged to Moammar Kadafi. They came upon a funeral for a man who was shot during another funeral procession; they explored a sprawling secret police complex that had been captured by rebels and the courthouse that was serving as a recruiting center for the rebels.

At the police complex jail, he said he was shown a bunker that resembled a medieval dungeon with uneven stones and huge rooms with little windows at the top.

Sinco said it was unnerving to be in a place where people had been tortured and probably died.

Even though he is free to wander rebel-held areas, he knows the story is “way down the road” in Tripoli, where the fighting is. Sinco said there is a feeling of impatience among the journalists, the residents and the fighters to “get this thing over and done with.”

Meanwhile, Times photographer Rick Loomis is in Tripoli on a government-led tour. He filed this report:

Surreal. That is the best word for the experience I’ve had thus far in Libya. After spending several days on the Tunisian border with Libya watching thousands of refugees stream across, reporter Borzou Daragahi and I made our way to Tripoli.

We came via a flight from Tunis after an eight-hour drive from the border. After our flight landed in the capital, a lone man in a pickup truck raced up, horn blaring. He vigorously waved a green flag out the window and chanted pro-Kadafi slogans.

He even jumped out of his truck and boarded our bus briefly to chant to us in close proximity. It was a welcome respite from his blaring horn.

As we came into the passport control area we journalists were quickly funneled away from the other passengers into a waiting room with black leather couches. The other passengers — there were only about 40 on the nearly empty plane — breezed through the control area and went on their merry way.

Our passports were taken and we spent the next two hours in a holding pattern before we were allowed to leave through the VIP exit. Outside, before we were shuffled into a van, we could see people and debris scattered around the airport grounds where thousands were waiting to depart. The scene was an impromptu tent city where foreign nationals waited for days to catch a flight out of the troubled nation.

We crossed through a few checkpoints as we made our way toward downtown in a fast moving vehicle, not knowing where we were being taken. Only when we pulled into a compound were we informed that we were about to interview Seif Islam Kadafi, a son of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi.

He came into the room and sat below a large portrait of his father. He was well-spoken and discussed in detail the developing situation in Libya. He assured us that it would all be under control in a few days. He encouraged me to go out, take a taxi to anywhere I wanted to go and see how the city was calm. He challenged me to photograph any signs of unrest.

Our interview lasted for about half an hour, then he excused himself after checking to see that he had answered all of our questions. He struck me with his confidence that the government and situation would stabilize.

We were taken to Green Square, where a pro-Kadafi rally was already in full-swing. We were the only Westerners on the square, which was alive with music, chanting and cars waving flags in a traffic jam around the square.

The streets elsewhere as we moved toward the hotel were quiet by comparison. Our hotel was nearly empty, looking awkward in its hollow opulence. On Tuesday morning we had the idea we would taxi around as Seif Islam had suggested.

About that time I got a telephone call in my room, informing me that a car was waiting to pick us up. So much for autonomy.

We spent the day being shuffled from place to place as guests of the government. First we went to another hotel where the majority of the journalists here are being housed.

Our convoy went to watch several trucks depart for the rebel-held city of Benghazi with what the government minders explained was humanitarian aid. The photographers and writers, however, seemed more interested in the tanks that surrounded the traffic circle and the spontaneous pro-Kadafi rally that erupted there.

After that we were told that we were going to a hospital in Tripoli. None of the writers wanted to go, sensing a full-on propaganda tour. Despite the cries for a return to the hotel, our caravan ended up at the hospital anyway. We toured a blood lab, a pharmacy stockpile room and the rooms of several patients who had been injured, we were told, while cheering in pro-Kadafi rallies.

With a writer/photographer team with the rebels in Benghazi, this is an opportunity to show the government’s perspective on the situation. My hope is that on balance we can show the truth of what is happening in the country.

And in Tripoli, the streets are calm. Aside from the airport, which is a chaotic scene of thousands trying to flee, there is little sense of the conflict happening elsewhere in the nation.

2 Comments

  1. March 6, 2011, 4:49 pm

    [...] Posted on 06 March 2011. Tags: Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Libya, NATO, No-Fly Zone, President Obama, Sen. John McCain TweetShare(Photo Courtesy of the Los Angeles Times) [...]

  2. December 8, 2011, 10:58 am

    This is not a man in the coffin, It's a woman as marked by the cover wrapping the corpse which is a female traditional dress usually worn by Libyan women. Believe me because I am a Libyan and this is how we cover our dead women.

    By: Abdo

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