College Student Joins Libyan Rebels

A Korean American college student has spent the last two weeks participating in the Libyan revolution, living among rebels intent on toppling the regime of dictator Muammar Qaddafi, according to the Christian Science Monitor.

Chris Jeon, 21, a math major at UCLA, said he bought a one-way ticket to Cairo and traveled by land to Libya without his parent’s knowledge.

“This is one of the few real revolutions,” he said. “I just thought I’d come check it out.”

“I just go and see what happens,” he said. “At spring break I told my friends a ‘sick’ vacation would be to come here and fight with the rebels.”

Jeon does not speak Arabic and communicates with the rebels via sign language and broken Italian.


“I haven’t spent a dollar in weeks,” he says, because the people of Libya have extended such hospitality.

He has no way of contact with the outside world, and on Tuesday was unsure of the date. Yet he seemed to be having the time of his life.

The rebels have took such a shine to the young man they have given him the name “Ahmed El Maghrabi Saidi Barga.”

At the rebel checkpoint about 80 miles from Sirte, he held a Russian-made shotgun the rebels had given him, appearing to be unfamiliar with it. Then a rebel handed him an AK-47, and he awkwardly fired several rounds into the air. The fighters cheered and laughed before quickly taking the gun back.

Jeon said he was “helping” the rebels, though he didn’t appear to be using firearms.

He was among the first rebel fighters who drove into Nawlifyia to take it from Qaddafi troops, he said. And he’s not worried about staying safe amid the possible battle for Sirte – the rebels have set a Saturday deadline for Qaddafi loyalists there to surrender, before they attack.

Jeon told the Christian Science Monitor he plans to head back to California before UCLA’s fall semester begins.