Ship Evacuates Wounded from Besieged Libyan City

Ship Evacuates Wounded from Besieged Libyan City
# 05 April 2011 01:15 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. Deafening foghorns announced the arrival of the Turkish ship. The white ferry, the Ankara, pulled into the Benghazi port Sunday night, a crowd of opposition officials, rebel fighters and journalists waiting at the dock, APA reports quoting “ABC News”.
Aboard the ship were some 230 wounded from the besieged western city of Misrata, as the vessel arrived here to pick up more wounded in eastern fighting before sailing on to Turkey.
As the ship docked, the chants started. "Our blood and souls, we sacrifice for Benghazi," those on the top deck from Misrata chanted. "Our blood and souls, we sacrifice for Misrata," the men standing below responded. A woman wiped her eyes as a group of young people prepared to board the ship with flowers. It was a remarkable and emotional meeting, the largest between those rising up against Gadhafi in the east and west. The westerners were bloodied, bandaged, on crutches, all telling stories of relentless attacks and countless deaths.
Misrata, the last rebel-held city in western Libya, has been surrounded and infiltrated by government forces for a month and a half. International airstrikes have failed to stop shelling from tanks, snipers on rooftops and the electricity and water from being shut off.
"God knows, maybe some of them will be dead on the way," said a doctor from Misrata on the dock. "Some of them [have been] waiting for 30 days to go outside for medical treatment."
Fayeh Muhammed lay on a mattress alone in one of the ship’s cabins. She spoke quietly, her voice on the edge of tears. She had been driving in Misrata with her 14-year-old daughter when they were shot by a sniper. Muhammed was struck in the arm and leg, her daughter was killed.
"Gadhafi destroyed our lives and city," she said. "May God destroy him."
Down the hall, a Turkish doctor was changing the bandages on 41-year-old Muhammad Bashir’s recently amputated leg. In halting English, he described bombing that was, "everywhere, everywhere."
Bashir, a prosecutor, sent his family away from Misrata but was hit outside their home. "I don’t care about myself," he said, starting to cry. "I care about my people, I care about my children."
A sentiment echoed by Mustafa al-Hamad - who also lost a leg - down in the ship’s dark hold where patients were lined up along the wall on cots.
"Gadhafi has no mercy," he said. "There is no problem, because of the revolution I’m willing to pay."
Al-Hamad was shouting, most of his hearing lost when a shell hit his car. "I have only wind coming through my ears," he said loudly.
Others, too weak to speak with much force, described the horrors of entire families, huddled together, being wiped out when their houses were struck.
Turkish medical staff scurried around tending to their new charges, tables full of supplies and equipment. The ship was due to leave in a few hours for the Turkish town of Cesme where the wounded will get better care than can be offered here.
Asked whether the siege has diminished their will to fight, every patient said no.
"I hope the revolution has victory," said one man, "Every tyrant has an end."
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