It is 2 May, my twelfth full day in Misurata, and I’ll start with a man I met at a private clinic that had been turned into the city’s main trauma hospital. The uprising against Muammar Gaddafi was two months old. Loyalist forces surrounded Misurata and controlled parts of the city centre, but the thowar – or revolutionaries – were putting up fierce resistance despite being outgunned. The battle crackled and boomed day and night. Dr Tahar Alkesa, a surgeon, was sitting on the curb outside one of the white tents erected in front of the clinic to serve as a makeshift emergency ward. He is 31 years old and undoubtedly handsome, but the hours and stress had marked and changed him. He was sallow and unshaven, with dark rings under his puffy eyes. The evening light was soft and fading fast as we chatted. He rubbed his arms for warmth. I had seen Alkesa at work earlier in the day, when fresh casualties were arriving at the hospital every few minutes. An ambulance or pick-up truck would screech to a halt outside the tent, amid cries of “Allahu akbar”. If the victim was a thowar, he usually had a bullet wound, having been picked off by a sniper.
more from Xan Rice at The New Statesman here.