Misrata by night
It was fast approaching dusk as Hussein called to me, telling me I had to join him. I had trusted this man with my life on several occasions, and I felt that I couldn’t refuse him. There was a battle raging in the Zawiya district of Misrata, and he had to rush his ambulance there.
We arrived to find heavy shelling, as pick-up trucks raced past us, either ferrying more guns to the front-line, or boxes of ammunition. The light was beautiful, but the scene was not.
But then night began to draw in, and as we crossed the city again, away from this apocalypse, I was reminded of a fellow journalist’s comment a few nights previously.
The best advice I’ve ever been given is never go into a gun battle after dark. You can’t report if you’re dead.
I had never been “out” in Misrata at night, and the city had a deathly calm to it, interrupted only by occasional bursts of gunfire and shelling.
At a checkpoint, a group of rebels stood around a fire. Guns over their shoulder, they were chatting as we stopped to see how they were doing. This was a soulless road to be posted on.
We later drove around the side-streets that bordered Tripoli Street. They seemed very different come night fall. Our ambulance drove without headlights along the pitch-black streets—the lampposts had long since ceased—and Hussein occasionally flicked on his headlights for the briefest moment to spot the debris the lined the road. A flash of a torch, prompted by our rumbling engine, marked a checkpoint ahead.
This was the city by night. Flashes of light.