Forces from Libya’s new regime fight Gaddafi troops in Sirte as one of their comrades plays the guitar on 10 October, 2011. (Photo credit: Aris Messinis/AFP/Getty Images).
Earlier this week an amazing picture from the Libyan conflict came to light. It showed a man in combat fatigues playing guitar and apparently singing, while his colleagues not yards away were engaged in a ferocious gun battle for the control of Sirte, the last stronghold in Libya held by forces loyal to Colonel Gaddafi.
It was impossible to hear his music because the distance between me and him was some 50 metres and the ‘Boom! Boom!’ was too loud.
The picture was taken by Aris Messinis, a photographer for the AFP agency from Athens, and the caption information said the men were fighters of the National Transitional Council (NTC). Former “rebels” who were now the de facto government forces.
In many ways the photograph captured perfectly the ad hoc revolutionary spirit that has been displayed throughout much of the conflict by the former “rebels”. Men, with no formal military training, but with an enthusiasm to see Gaddafi defeated threw what little they had at the dictator’s standing forces – with the military might ofNato flying overhead.
But what set of circumstances would lead a musician to wield his guitar, rather than a weapon in the midst of a firefight?
Channel 4 News contacted the photographer, Aris Messinis, to find out the story behind the lens.
“That day the NTC fighters were trying to advance to the centre of the city and it was a heavy street fight with lot of incoming and outgoing firing. (AK-47, machine guns, anti-aircraft machine guns, RPGs, sniper firing),” Messinis told Channel 4 News.
Messinis was amazed to see the man playing guitar amidst the battle but the fighting was so hard it was impossible to cross the street to talk to him.
“I realised by looking at him through my camera that he was trying to encourage the other fighters.
FULL ARTICLE HERE: The Story Behind the Libyan Guitar Hero Photo « Shabab Libya