American trades university for life as Libya rebel

Tue Aug 9, 2011 7:32am EDT
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By Michael Georgy

NALUT, Libya (Reuters) - Adam, from Washington, D.C., was studying to become a family therapist. Then he felt a greater calling: fighting for freedom in Libya.

So he traded his university sociology and psychology books for a semi-automatic weapon bought with his own money in Libya and joined a group of rebels who believe they have the best chance of reaching Tripoli and toppling Muammar Gaddafi.

"I just had a year left before getting my degree but I dropped out," said Adam, 22, dressed in camouflage fatigues and a black bullet-proof vest at a training site in Libya's Western Mountains.

"But I had to do this. Gaddafi is killing so many people. I felt I needed to take a stand. Why not?"

Adam's parents left Libya for the United States 35 years ago. He grew up like any American kid, watching football games, hitting the mall and worrying about his prom date.

"I was popular in high school. I was the kind of guy people would come to for advice on girlfriend problems," said Adam, who has a big frame, is bearded and wears thick glasses.

"I think I would have been a good family therapist. But right now more than anything I want to liberate Tripoli."

Adam soon discovered he had joined a do-it-yourself rebel movement. He has to tap into his life savings of $5,000 to buy food, drinks, clothes, even weapons.   Continued...