Libya's Lady Rebels

Photographer Sarah Elliott captures the major players in the violent eight-month struggle that led to the overthrow of brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They risked everything to stand for their beliefs and their country.

libyan women
Photographer Sarah Elliott captures the major players in the violent eight-month struggle that led to the overthrow of brutal dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They risked everything to stand for their beliefs — and their country.
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libyan women
Sarah Elliott/Getty Images
Lady Rebels

"Women played a large but unsung role in the uprising," says Sarah Elliott. "My inspiration for these images was their lack of coverage."

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salma taghdi
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Salma Taghdi

Salma Taghdi, 22, helped launch a paper (Men Trabuls, or From Tripoli)to get revolution news to locals. She also updated the international media. "We were trying to let the world know what was going on," she says.

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dr. mariam talyeb
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Dr. Mariam Talyeb

Dr. Mariam Talyeb, 32, fought for the rebels even while she was seven months pregnant. "I don't care if I die," she says. "I want to be free."

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weded elbede
Sarah Elliott/Getty Images
Weded Elbede

Weded Elbede, 52, in the bridal shop she's owned for six years. Despite pressure from Gaddafi's thugs to stay open — "they wanted things to look normal,"she says — Elbede shuttered it, reopening only after Tripoli was liberated.

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eman salah and ekram benhamed
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Eman Salah and Ekram Benhamed

Eman Salah (center) and Ekram Benhamed (right), both 24, volunteered at Matiga Military Hospital. After rebels entered Tripoli in late August, Salah says, "Every day there were multiple gunshot wounds."

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nisreen mansour al forgani
Sarah Elliott/Getty Images
Nisreen Mansour Al Forgani

Nisreen Mansour Al Forgani, 19, volunteered for the female section of Gaddafi's Popular Guards militia. As anti-Gaddafi forces closed in on Tripoli, she says she was forced at gunpoint to shoot rebels at close range. She was captured after trying to escape through a window. Today she's in prison.

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hweida mahmoud shibadi and nabila abdelrahman abu ras
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Hweida Mahmoud Shibadi and Nabila Abdelrahman Abu Ras

Hweida Mahmoud Shibadi (left) and Nabila Abdelrahman Abu Ras, both 40, are lawyers turned rebel activists. Shibadi conveyed info about Gaddafi's movements that led to NATO airstrikes; Abu Ras printed leaflets that women tossed from speeding cars.

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nadia el bergli
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Nadia El Bergli

Nadia El Bergli, 28, managed Grains of Hope, a group that made food for rebels on the front lines. She holds a collage depicting her brother's four-month detainment by Gaddafi's troops.

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