UCLA Student Vacations With Libya Rebels

Math major thought a rebel holiday would be 'sick'
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2011 3:20 AM CDT
Updated Sep 2, 2011 5:38 AM CDT
Freedom fighters climb on a tank for a lookout at a defensive outpost near Misrata, Libya, yesterday.   (AP Photo/Gaia Anderson)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – It's a vacation package you can't find on Travelocity: Sun, sand—and firing heavy weapons in a revolution. But that's the summer trip that UCLA math major Chris Jeon, 21, is enjoying, reports the Christian Science Monitor. “At spring break I told my friends a 'sick' vacation would be to come here and fight with the rebels,” he said. So Jeon bought a one-way ticket from Los Angeles to Cairo, then traveled by land to Libya, where he has been traveling for two weeks with the rebels in his blue basketball jersey, black-and-white Converse sneakers, and camouflage pants.

“This is one of the few real revolutions,” Jeon said. “I just thought I’d come check it out.” Jeon speaks no Arabic and can only communicate in broken Italian and simple sign language, but he says people have been so amused to have a young American tourist in their midst he hasn't had to pay for anything. The rebels let him fire guns from time to time ("awkwardly," writes the reporter), and have even given him an honorary name: Ahmed El Maghrabi Saidi Barga. Jeon's parents don't know he's in Libya, but he says he'll be back in California for the start of classes in late September. "I believe in destiny," he said.

My Take on This Story
Show results without voting  |