Football gives hope to afflicted Libyans

Football springs hope – as this picture taken by AIPS photographer Andrea Giannini in Spring 2012 shows.

In 2011, the area in which this shot was taken was a mass weapons storage point in the Libyan Civil War, within touching distance of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi’s compound.

Now, kids enjoy the novelty of performing keepy-ups atop of a tank as the Libyan government uses sport to bring peace to a shattered nation.

Fathi Terbil, the Minister for Sport and Youth in the new Libyan government, has been doing all he can to get children, who were previously unable to even contemplate being outdoors due to danger, playing football, while the Libyan Olympic Committee has been using Mohamed Rabte as a symbol of hope to all afflicted by the troubles. The 23-year-old was a three-time Libyan champion who won a silver medal at the African Championship when he lost an arm in the war, but has courageously vowed to represent his country at the Paralympics.

Nabil Elalem, the President of the Libyan Olympic Committee, said: “After the revolution, we need to talk of reconciliation and also forgiveness. The young people must feel united and sport can help a lot.”