Framework

Capturing the world through photography, video and multimedia

A rebel fighter armed with a rocket-propelled granade and assault rifle and a guitar entertains comrades with a patriotic song he composed.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A rebel fighter has a pre-Kadafi national flag in the barrel of his gun.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Rebel fighters run for cover as a rocket explodes about a 100 yards down the road.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A wounded rebel fighter screams in pain as comrades evacuate him from the battlefield.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A rebel fighter stands atop a damaged tank.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Rebel fighters stock up on provisions of boiled eggs, bread and canned tuna on the front line.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Rebel fighters pause to pray at the front line.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A rebel fighter counts ammunition rounds.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A girl dressed in Friday finery walks past the Wall of Martyrs at the city courthouse after Friday prayers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Youths hold a rally after Friday prayers.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

Youths drag an image of Moammar Kadafi through the streets.

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

A billboard features a portrait of national hero Omar Mukhtar against a pre-Kadafi national flag. Mukhtar led a war of independence against colonial ruler Italy in the 1930s and is revered as the "Lion of the Desert."

PHOTOGRAPH BY: Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times

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Libya fighting: “A kumbaya moment” on the front line with rebels

By Luis Sinco, Los Angeles Times

I was standing at the front line on the outskirts of Ajdabiya on Friday listening to Times reporter David Zucchino interview a rebel fighter we had met three days before. The fighter was telling us that the rebels were “getting organized” for a concerted attack on the town held by forces loyal to Moammar Kadafi.

It was deja vu all over again, because it was the same thing he had said Tuesday. In short, very little had changed in the last 72 hours. The disorganized rebels had literally inched forward, and the scenario struck me as a lot like trench warfare without the benefit of trenches.

We had just retreated from about two miles up the road, where we saw a rebel fighter armed with a rocket-propelled grenade, an assault rifle and an acoustic guitar. He was singing a song he had written for the revolution. It was called, “My Home Is Strong and Free.”

Don’t worry mother, we know how to fight.  Don’t worry mother, we know how to fight.

A group of rebel fighters gathered around him, swaying to the melody and clapping their hands. The minstrel strummed the final chords and said: “Kadafi sends us rockets and we send him music.”

Zucchino, an Australian journalist named Jason Koutsoukis and I laughed. It was just too good a quote.

But there was no time to savor the moment. The levity was abruptly broken by high-pitched whistling and a loud boom as an incoming rocket exploded and sent up a cloud of smoke and dust about a hundred yards from where we stood.

Everyone scrambled for cover, including me — but I caught myself and realized I had to take photos. I motored a few frames, turned and ran, then jumped into our car.

As we sped off, Zucchino, Koutsoukis, our driver, Yusef, and I immediately broke out in laughter. We couldn’t help it. What had just transpired was just too funny. One minute we’re having a kumbaya moment, and the next we’re getting rocketed and trying to outrun an armed guy with a guitar making a hasty getaway.

And I was just about to request John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.”

Goodnight, Ajdabiya! You’ve been a terrific audience! Damn you, Kadafi!

I swear, if Fellini had made a black comedy about war, this would be a scene stolen from it. As I’ve said in previous posts, this war is a layered cake of strangeness and surrealism.

Hey, all you frustrated screenwriters in Los Angeles, eat your hearts out! I’ve got a great movie in mind — and I have to say you just can’t make this stuff up.

More photos by Sinco and colleague Rick Loomis can be seen here.

2 Comments

  1. March 28, 2011, 2:42 pm

  2. March 29, 2011, 7:38 am

    kadaffi odesnt fit the BUSH-CLINTON-BUSH-OBAMA banksets/globalist world plan, so…….. Kadaffi must go! Amer-UN-NATO war machine will crush the libyan people for OIL!!! Blood for OIL Obama just antoher puppet!

    By: Straightshooter

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