Libyans Flee Across Border With Tunisia In Libya, residents in cities held by the opposition are gripped with fear. Their cities may be in the hands of the rebels, but government troops are poised to attack. NPR's David Greene reports on three Libyans who managed to cross the border and tell their stories.
NPR logo

Libyans Flee Across Border With Tunisia

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134414449/134414461" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Libyans Flee Across Border With Tunisia

Libyans Flee Across Border With Tunisia

Libyans Flee Across Border With Tunisia

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/134414449/134414461" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

In Libya, residents in cities held by the opposition are gripped with fear. Their cities may be in the hands of the rebels, but government troops are poised to attack. NPR's David Greene reports on three Libyans who managed to cross the border and tell their stories.

RENEE MONTAGNE, Host:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

ARI SHAPIRO, Host:

Now these places are not hotbeds of fighting, they are hotbeds of waiting. NPR's David Greene is in Tunisia. He spoke with people fleeing Libya about the scenes they left behind.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR PASSING BY)

DAVID GREENE: But, then a lot of the entire region seems to be living without so much violence yet, and just a lot of fear. And people have been trickling across this border telling their stories.

ABDUL BASSET ISSA: I would like to speak in my right name, full name, because I'm going to say the truth and I'm going to die to say the truth.

GREENE: His name is Abdul Bassett Issa. He's a businessman, and was in Tripoli on February 17th. That's the day when the anger among Libyans spilled over. Issa was chanting with others that he wanted Gadhafi out of power.

BASSET ISSA: And suddenly I changed and started saying Gadhafi Adu Allah. Gadhafi is the enemy of Allah. Everybody's quiet. Quiet, very quiet. And I repeat again. I have the power. I never had that power. And people start joining us. About 500 in street.

GREENE: Issa insists while some of the outward euphoria has faded for now, much of western Libya is still ready to fight for change.

BASSET ISSA: Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

(SOUNDBITE OF GUNFIRE)

GREENE: Unidentified Man #1: (Foreign language spoken)

GREENE: Unidentified Man #2 (Through translator): So he said that this is the city, in the middle, and they have people against Gadhafi.

GREENE: Unidentified Man #3 (Translator): The Libyan man came back in his van and he requested not to be shown in any image or camera, because he's afraid for his life. He said that the army is heavily armed and if they hear anything or if they find out anything that was revealed through him, they'll pursue him.

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR STARTING)

(SOUNDBITE OF CAR PASSING)

GREENE: And as we drove, he told us about the fear in Nalout right now. He said people are staying off the streets. Many are huddled in their homes with family watching Al-Jazeera and al-Arabiyah, the Arab television networks. Just keeping track of every development across their country. And wondering if that day would come when Gadhafi's forces make their way to Nalout.

K: (Through translator) Of course I'm going to fight. We have Kalashnikovs that we got from the police. Those who work for the police, it's their weapons. They are with us in this fight.

GREENE: I'm David Greene, NPR News, now pulling out of Mednine, Tunisia.

(SOUNDBITE OF DOOR SHUTTING)

Copyright © 2011 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.