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American College Student Chris Jeon Spends Vacation Fighting with Libyan Rebels

Daniel Berehulak, Getty Images

To most college students, a vacation means getting away from the stress of everyday life, with maybe a few palm trees and cocktails thrown in for good measure. But not to Chris Jeon.

Last month, the 21-year-old University of California, Los Angeles math major packed up his bags, bought a one-way ticket, and went to Libya to fight with the rebels trying to wrest control from dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

“At spring break I told my friends a ‘sick’ vacation would be to come here and fight with the rebels,” he said. “This is one of the few real revolutions. I just thought I’d come check it out.”

Jeon, whose parents don’t know where he is, doesn’t speak any Arabic, but has been taken in by fighters and their families. They’ve even given him an honorary Libyan name — Ahmed El Maghrabi Saidi Barga.

The conflict in which he’s willingly inserted himself has already claimed the lives of thousands, but he isn’t worried, saying, “I believe in destiny.”


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