Notes from Libya
2012 Emergency Fund photographer Ben Lowy shared a few images from his project iLibya.
Shehhat, Libya | July 8, 2012. In the ancient ruins of the Greek colony of Cyrene, a young girl named Libya is held by her father. Libya was born in Bengazi on the day NATO began its bombing campaign to protect civilians from pro-Gaddafi forces on March 19, 2011.
Bengazi, Libya | July 6, 2012. Protesters supporting a federalist rather than parliamentary Libyan government converge at a busy roundabout in Bengazi to denounce the July 7th Libyan elections.
Benghazi, Libya | July 9, 2012. Eritrean and Somali migrants congregate in an IDP camp that the Libyan authorities have sequestered them into. Many complain about their living conditions and security from armed Libyan militias. They are virtual prisoners within the camp. “Ramadan won’t be hard,” said one Somali man, “we are already starving.”
Tripoli, Libya | July 11, 2012. A mentally disabled Libyan man sits and talks to himself outside the walls of the ancient old city.
Tripoli, Libya | July 12, 2012. Outside the Tripoli central post office.
Zuwarah, Libya | July 13, 2012. Young Libyan men relax in a car outside an abandoned refinery abutting the sea. Many young men escape to swimming holes and secluded spots to relax away from the post revolutionary chaos of Tripoli.
Zintan, Libya | July 14, 2012. Omar, 26, sits in the car he drove to the front lines during last year’s Libyan uprising. He refuses to fix his windshield “the sniper’s round went past my head… This car took care of me, so I can’t change it.” But more than anything the windshield is a constant reminder to Omar of the life he took and the friends he lost. “The first time I killed … It was him or me. For three days after I cried and mumbled and thought I went crazy.”
Bir Dufan, Libya | July 15, 2012. Miftah Ghzert, an officer with the Libyan Supreme Security Council, though primarily owing allegiance to the city of Misrata, mans a checkpoint on the road leading to the last enclave of Gaddafi loyalists in Bani Walid. Libyan roads are now riddled with militia and police checkpoints, ostensibly for national security, though many are controlled by competing militias and groups of former revolutionaries.
Sirte, Libya | July 16, 2012. Libyan residents of the city of Sirte walk through the ravaged remains of mortared and bullet riddled buildings. The city is home to a large population of Gaddafi’s tribe and still supports the dead dictator. They feel that no reconciliation is possible while they are policed by the Misrata militia and Islamist brigades.
Misrata, Libya | July 17, 2012. Zakaria Muhammad, 28 was gravely wounded in April 2011. A howitzer round fired by the infamous Khamis Brigade took his leg, arm, part of his hand, and left him with a brain injury. The same attack killed his mother, his sister, and his niece. “I will always feel the pain… My whole family is dead, but when I entered the war it was for all of Libya… So that [my family’s] death is not in vain, I hope for reconciliation. [I] want it, [I] need it.”