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This Is War: Watch the Libyan Revolution Explode through the Lens of a Helmet Cam — Part 3

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Libya Part 3 short

Humphrey Cheung worked in tech journalism and IT for years. Then, this spring, he had enough. But instead of switching jobs, he strapped on a digital camera, armor, and flew to Libya. This is what a real rebellion looks like.

What you'll see here is a unique crawl through the battle against Qaddafi from the helmet-mounted GoPro Hero attached to Humphrey—a digital camera imagined for ski slopes and skate parks, not warzones. You'll see rebels fighting not in fatigues and IR goggles, but in jeans and t-shirts. They're not outfitted with anything resembling a modern arsenal, but with whatever they can scrape together. Jeep and tank hybrids, welded together. Scavenged anti-aircraft guns stuffed onto the backs of pickups. Rusty tech refuse that works—most of the time. And you'll see it as the rebels see it every day. Improvised, dirty, and effective—and only possible to see like this because of an age in which you can capture hours of HD footage from a little box on your head.


Today we bring you part three of the Battle of Galaa—the rest will follow every day this week. Below, Humphrey's first-person account of the action to go with his first-person footage.

New to the battle? Check out Part 1 and Part 2.

Our First Sniper/Marksman

Our building hopping strategy was working well until the rebels were pinned down by a sniper or marksman. Bunch up against the outside wall of a house, the rebels peeked around a corner and almost had their heads taken off by bullets. Impacting a building behind us, the bullets ripped out chunks of concrete from the exterior. Bryan Adams went inside the house to peek at the sniper from an inside window, but was almost hit as well. "Very dangerous," he exclaimed as he retreated from the house.


The rebels would spend the next twenty minutes firing AK47s back at the sniper and finally called in the pickup tank to finish the job.

Run From Hell

We reached the next building further up the hill and now the smalls arms and artillery fire was intense. All three rebel groups were fully engaged against Ghaddafi's army and you couldn't go more than a few seconds without hearing something explode or fire. Crouched behind a corner, we had to run to a berm and a line of trees. Bryan Adams shouted to a machine gunner to give us cover fire and we were told to go two by two as in two run, pause, then two more run. I messed it up by not pausing. But I didn't have time to feel bad because neck-high cable almost decapitated me early in the run.

We finally made it to the berm and took cover under the shade of a tree. Bryan Adams struck up a conversation, but was interrupted by bullets hitting the branches above our heads. He told me he was a political science major and was trying to learn English by listening to Bryan Adams. Thank god for the GoPro capturing that entire conversation!

I planned on staying a good distance back, but suddenly we were in the front pack (highest on the hill).