October 16, 2011
When war came to the Libyan coastal city of Sirte, Muammar Gaddafi’s birthplace, Fajla Sidi Bey made the sort of choice that poor people have to make in a conflict.
Fajla, a Malian driver who worked at the Ibn Sana hospital when the besieging government forces announced their intention to take Sirte in September, was owed 3,736 Libyan dinars, a small fortune. So while others fled he stayed in the city with his five children, aged between four months and nine years old, and his wife and a cousin.
His home was in District 2, at the heart of the last remaining pocket of pro-Gaddafi loyalist fighters, still being pounded yesterday by artillery and anti-aircraft guns. Until Friday that is, when Fajla and his family slipped out.
I found them sitting by a wall near the field hospital outside the city, uncertain what to do or where to go. “I left the hospital on 15 September, the day the fighting started,” he explained. “I haven’t been back since. I came to Libya 13 years ago to earn money. For 10 of those, I worked as a tailor. For the last three years, I worked in the hospital.” He showed his pass from Ibn Sana. It described him as a driver and a tailor.
This article was posted: Sunday, October 16, 2011 at 4:21 am