Surfing through the Allvoices front page a shocking image suddenly appeared before me, hidden amongst the stock pics of the Libyan flag being waved in various different poses, and screamed at me with such raw violence and pain and sorrow that I felt as though I had been stabbed in the heart and kicked in the gut at the same time.
I can barely bring myself to describe it, save to say that it is the picture of a young boy dying in his mother's arms, and that the caption underneath says he was going to buy bread for his mum when Gadaffi's soldiers gunned him down.
It is an image I will never forget, and I wondered who had posted such a graphic picture, so obviously recent and new, so unlike the usual stock shots.
The name of the author was lavista. I had never heard of her. I looked at the profile.
She was reporting out of Tripoli, Libya.
Having just written an article this morning about that town, I knew that there was absolutely no way that this was a normal occurence. Just today reporters were complaining that it is impossible to talk to anyone in Tripoli, Libya - that citizens are being paid off to sing Gadaffi's praises.
I looked at the picture, and the words written underneath:
"Pictures from Tripoli, Libya showing what Muammar Gaddafi is doing to his own people--killing them in masses. The revolt is growing but unfortunately his brutality gets worse. You can see a sad image of a little Libyan boy who is sent to the market by his mother to buy a loaf of bread. He is killed by Gaddafi's Army.
Famous Gaddafi quote "My people will die for me." Maybe now it needs to change to "I will kill my people if they will not die for me."
A voice from Tripoli had just appeared, loud and clear, on Allvoices. In the heart of the struggle, in the thicket of Gadaffi's last gasp clutch on the ancient city, a young female voice was speaking, no shouting out to the world, and posting her own pictures of loved ones and friends who had been killed so that the world might see what these 'serial killers' were doing.
Her profile didn't say much, not surprisingly. Twenty years old, a female, graduate student, she just wanted the world to know the truth, she said:
Iam 3rd year collage....
iam living in tripoli
and i will do my best to tell u wht is going on here .....
with photo and...
and she had joined the site on Feb 26th 2011 - two days ago.
There was no pic.
Her post yesterday also had a new photograph I had never seen, of students forming the words 'Free Libya' while sitting in a courtyard, shot from a balcony above.
It told of horrors such as we have already heard in the media, helicopters shooting people from low on the ground, people being paid off to support Gadaffi, and to squeal on their neighbours.It had 25 hits. So did the one with the graphic images - there were more terrible images.
I had to say something - to let her know we - I - somebody out there had heard and seen.
So I said hello, and then had to be-fan this brave new writer from Tripoli who was somehow breaking all the bans and getting through the black-outs and reporting to the free press in the West.
I have to admit I was a little bit excited when I got the following response:
Reply Flag Posted By lavista | about 8 hours ago thnnx alooot for ur support ......we really need all ur prays and we need to show the world the truth ....the real crimes happening here .....cause the government bring the the world channels to show them that nothing happened here ..... they are arresting everyone who is calling the tv channels and saying the truth .....plus they are arresting any guys try to demonstrate here in tripoli so the city stay calm and peacefull ( opposite to what were the last days ) ......
know one can get out of there houses unless they were Qaddafi supporters .....
plus the most awful thing is happening here that the government is taken most off dead bodies which they killed and burn them so no one can say how many ppl are dead ( like wht saif qaddafi sayed ) ...... and they empty the stored blood in the hospitals so the doctors having hard time in healing ppl ......
i might be caught after what i say .....but i really dont care ....the only thing i care is that every one knows the real truth about the crimes here ....."
And so began our conversation. Lavista told me her real name and of course I will not be revealing that here - she is already taking too great a risk for anyone's comfort level - I just signed up on Allvoices to write about sunflowers and local news really, but here I am talking to a freedom fighting Libyan girl who wants our help getting the truth out and I'm up for the challenge.
The dreadful images of people with huge bullet holes taken out of them by heavy artillery has made me angry.
Little boys dying in mother's arms makes me angry.
Lavista apologises for her English, and asks for an edit, but I am unable to touch a word or a syllable of her voice, as it is the voice of a nation and of a generation - full of all the little hyphenations and word gyrations of the texting youth, a voice of the people of the Modern Age, where we all want to live in the Lands of our own making - a land where we are all the strong, the free and the brave.
From my small rural town of Innisfil in Canada, this writer was honored and humbled to have had a discussion with our newest correspondent from Tripoli, Libya, and this is the state of the city of Tripoli on this night of March 1st, 2011.
Perhaps Gadaffi, like Caesar, should 'Beware the Ides Of March'.
In her own words...
lavista on Feb 28, 3:05 PM PST
"thnx thnx alooooooot we need all ur prayers ...... we cant cm back to wht we where anymore >>>>>>>all dead ppl and their blood cant go free with out change we want ........
we really living under pressure ......all we here is pullets .....we cant get out from our house until we are qaddafi supporter .
we hope we can do smthing soon .... its enought killing ppl........
thnnnx for caring and keep praying until we get those serial killers out of our country .....
thnnnnnx aloot and i will try to pur all photo and video i got here ........we want the whole world know the truth ....
thnnnx alooot for caring ..."
I was stunned to be talking to a real person inside the walls of the Gadaffi stronghold.
As she was telling me, they were shooting people for this stuff.
lavista on Feb 28,
its 4:30 am now .......
the city is calm ....there is sound of airplans and helicopters smtimes ......in general the last two days is calm after the war that happened last friday and the general veiw 4 is ppl get out in the morning to by their needs ( which is hardly to find bcz of the Civil disobedience ) we all agree student embloyers teachers every one to not go and have norml life
( cause that wht goverments want us to do o tv channels photo normal life and nothing happened)
only pharmcy is open for medicine needs .......
and whn the n8 cm arround 7 pm .....no one can get out of his home ....no one can demonstrate against goverent cause even if they try they would shooted .....the only ppl can get out are the goverment supporters with their weapons ,,,,,as qaddafi told them to dance and sing and have fun and give them lot of money and cars .....and kill any one who against him ,,,,,plus they are giving like 2000 dolar to anyone that tell them about man or boy went in demonstrate last days ......
i have photo of disobedience all over tripoli and i will try to put them here as soon as i could
MichelleDevlin on Feb 28, 6:13 PM PST
yes I get your point and understand - can you tell me what is happening in the city? It must be almost morning there?
lavista on Feb 28, 6:01 PM PST
Ohhhhhh thnnnnx aloooot or that .......
to be honest iam more enthusiastic to write wht is happening here more than about my childhood or personalty ause my country and its savty if the ppl are come first of all our needs ......... but as u like and feel free to ask me anything u want from whts happening n the city to stories of sm ppl who dead or how ppl are deling with it or about me .....just feel free ......
and about step in to be honest most of ppl here doesnt like the step in bcz every body is affraid that wht happend in Iraq happened again here ......plus the east of libya are aready free .....the only city still for gaddafi is the capiltal tripoli ( where i live ) ...........so eve one is prefer that nation could help us with medicin and float hospitals and weapon to the east army so whn the army of the east get powerfull with the weapons they could cm to the capitals and free ppl from qaddafi here ......( bab el ezezya is the camp of qaddafi where is he living in tripoli and its all fortified with all kind of weapon thats y the army in the free city are still afraid to impenetrableit cause it would be an unequal battle
hope u get my point
GOD pless u and save ur children ......hope so one day i invite u to out free country soon and meet u face to face
p.s iam using IP hider i download its last dayz .....so hope it help ......but thnx 4 caring
MichelleDevlin on Feb 28, 5:35 PM PST
do you want other nations to step in?
lavista on Feb 28, 5:10 PM PST
my real name is ......lavista is my username .......iam student collage but in this war there is no different between writer or singer or medicine student every one is trying to help in any ways he could ...
this is my email
and this is my account on facebook
...iam using both of them aloot ( facebook is closet now days here so we are using another site to enter to our accaount )
its ok until now ...many ppl are dead sm of them are friends relitives .......so nothing is important than to show to the world the truth and how they dead to save the country and give us better life with out qaddafi govermen ....thats the less thing i can do to Immortal their memory .......
iam trying to put best of shoot that i got ..... u know its taken me loong time to accept the reality of these photo .....but our faith of GOD help and protecting all of us and the honesty of o massage to the world giving me and all of us the power to photo and send and write and handle with all this war
if u want any details of wht happening here or get confused of any happns hear just send me ......
and if u got the emails or any ways to contact with human or children organizations ....or u can cotact them wa show them the reality of wht happening here i will be really greafull
thhhnx for support that means aloot for all of us here."
Today we were able to confirm that Lavista is indeed living and writing from inside Tripoli.