At this rebel outpost in the middle of the desert near the front lines of the fight with Muammar Qaddafi’s loyalists, a gaggle of rebel fighters gathers in a circle, laughing, cheering, and filming with their mobile phones.
In the center stands a 21-year-old American college student from Los Angeles.
Chris Jeon wears a cobalt basketball jersey emblazoned with the words “Los Angeles” and the number 44, camouflage pants, and black and white Converse sneakers. Around his neck hangs a spent ammunition casing on a string, and a black and white scarf is wrapped around his head, courtesy of the rebel fighters.
Why is he here?“This is one of the few real revolutions,” he said. “I just thought I’d come check it out.”It’s an unusual summer break for a college student, especially for a math major at University of California, Los Angeles, who says he spent his last spring break in Quebec. But Mr. Jeon is near the front lines of a conflict that has already taken thousands of lives, and is likely to cost many more if rebels launch a planned assault on Mr. Qaddafi’s hometown of Sirte.
Jeon doesn’t seem worried.“I just go and see what happens,” he said. “At spring break I told my friends a ‘sick’ vacation would be to come here and fight with the rebels.”