Call it the Jasmine Revolution, the Arab Spring or the Facebook Revolution, there’s a powerful sirocco blowing across North Africa and the Middle East.


When the uprising started in Libya in February 2011, very few Western journalists had spent any quality time in it, so we were all going into Libya blind.


This was not a Facebook Revolution, and there was no central gathering point: no Tahrir Square or Pearl Roundabout. On the other hand, unlike Egypt and Bahrain, there was total freedom of movement. Usually, when you go to a war zone, there are a lot of difficulties in reaching the fighting. In Libya, you have total access to the war, from the rebels’ side: how far you want to go depends entirely on you.

It was immediately clear that the rebels lacked experience and discipline, which meant it would be very hard for them to topple Gaddafi. None of the fighters had anticipated that this was going to become a war, finding themselves at the receiving end of the tyrant’s tanks and artillery.

It was hard not to admire the rebels raw fearlessness and enthusiasm: they never stopped believing that with outside help, they would overthrow Gaddafi.


RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 08: The rebels warm themselves at night.
RAS LANUF, LIBYA - MARCH 07: Libyan rebels pray near petroleum facilities