The War Diaries

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Archive for the ‘Jebel Nafusa’ tag

Portraits of Libya

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Barcelona- I finally was able to upload this Libya mash-up video I had been working on in NYC from here in Catalunya. For technical reasons beyond my knowledge or control, I was having a devil of a time getting the thing onto Youtube before. I had wanted to get this online before the Friends of Anton benefit event at Christies in Manhattan on May 15. Not that I had anything to do with the event of course, but I was one human degree of separation from Anton Hammerl and I simply thought it would be something nice to do. I’m off to the next conflagration in the shattered Republic of Mali and wanted to get this up beforehand.

This project is obviously not a documentary or scripted television package. These are memories from Libya in total upheaval in 2011. This is my Libya mash-up, dedicated to those photographers that arrived in Libya to tell its story and never made it out. I want to reiterate how grateful I am to the people of both eastern and western Libya. Without their immense hospitality this project would never have been possible. War throws people together in such an odd way who would otherwise likely never have met.

!الثورة والحرية

Written by derekhenryflood

May 22nd, 2012 at 4:19 pm

Jebel Nafusa War in Asia Times

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Djerba- I have a photo essay in today’s edition of Asia Times Online on my week spent covering the war in western Libya, arguably the least covered of Libya’s three primary fronts. I was a fascinating time spent amongst a gracious, hearty group of men (there were virtually no women to be seen). In particular I want to thanks Khalid at the Nalut Media Center without whose help I could not have done much of this, and Salah who patiently ran the journo flophouse, whose constant battles to keep the electricity going with that problematic generator will be remembered at least by me. I am grateful for the access the Nalutis afforded me to their under reported side of the Libyan war. It is amazing how cut off one could feel there from the outside world when it was just an hour’s drive from relative normalcy in southeastern Tunisia. The talk of things dramatically tapering off during ramadan does not appear to be the case just a half a day in as Al Jazeera English tweets from a still active frontline.

Qaddafists are still heavily dug in around the town of Tiji and several other places north and east of Ghazaya and Takut. There is much fighting left to do in Libya as Qaddafi still controls much if not most of the Saharan state’s vast territory. One positive (though maybe premature development) I forgot to note the other day was the return of thousands of refugees from Tunisia following the success of the rebels NATO-backed offensive against the GRAD-firing Qaddafists that had previously turned Nalut into a ghost town. When I crossed the border, about 500 cars and trucks filled with women and children, a sight I had quickly become unaccustomed to seeing, were queueing up to cross back into Libya. A couple of men from this massive line helped me get a ride with some oil smugglers all the way to Tatouine for which I am very thankful. That border was the one place in the world where I actually wish there had been a scrum of taxi touts after what seemed like the longest day of my life.

Written by derekhenryflood

August 1st, 2011 at 3:09 am

Images from Nalut Offensive

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Libya's western rebels launch a full-scale offensive against Qaddafist troops in coordination with long-awaited NATO air strikes in Libya's Jebel Nafusa mountain range along the Tunisian border. The rebels 'liberated' several key towns in the plains below their mountain stronghold which had been the base for weeks of menacing artillery from Qaddafists on civilian areas under rebel control. Here a Soviet era T-60 tank goes on the offensive. I wished I'd had time to eat breakfast. Serious go time! ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Nalut/Djerba- Well yesterday’s long promised rebel/NATO offensive against the nearby Qaddafists finally got underway and it was hell upon earth. The morning started out in a deadly quiet, still fog that obscured the Q controlled towns down on the plains below Nalut. Within hours it was like a baking hot Stalingrad. I have never heard nor encountered so much artillery in nearly a decade of war coverage. My driver and I visited a martyr’s graveyard in the middle of it all as I needed to make a diverse array of images for an upcoming photo essay when WHAM!!!, Grads starting falling in Nalut’s deserted center. I’ll have to save some of the juicier stuff for articles but what I can say is that I have experienced something like this since Takhar and Kunduz (remember the ‘Daisy Cutters’?) in November 2001. At one point we literally fled the town as rockets rained down, though plenty of aged Amazigh men seemed unfazed as they crouched in the shade, playing the odds, with nowhere to really go and the rest of their families in Tunisian refuge.  We in the Nafusa had no clue about the death of Abdel Fattah Younes…and perhaps that was a good thing.

This tank is old enough to be a museum piece...if only it were in better condition. Love the smell of diesel in the morning. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Here sits a rebel graveyard for those killed in recent fighting. Even in death there was no peace for these souls as rockets rained down on Nalut. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

A group of Arab rebels from the town of Zintan prepares to join the fight. Takbir! they yelled. ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

"Yep, that's right. We took Takut!" Rebels relax in the shade after taking a Qaddafist controlled town (with a little help from their NATO friends if you can dig it). ©2011 Derek Henry Flood

Written by derekhenryflood

July 29th, 2011 at 6:24 am

Posted in Libya

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