I've been feeling weary. It can come as no surprise. All of the world's pain and fear can become a little much. So today, although it's not Hellenic, I am sharing a story that I really needed to hear. It's the story of Ali Hribish, a former electricity company employee in his 50s, who has become the unlikely saviour of the ancient Roman city of Leptis Magna. Together with a group of other volunteers, he protects it from looting and vandalism as chaos rocks the country of Libya following the 2011 downfall of dictator Moamer Kadhafi.

Despite having no background in archaeology, Hribish gathered a band of fighters who dedicated themselves to preserving the ancient Roman city, a UNESCO World Heritage site. While others set up armed groups to protect banks and public buildings, they immediately thought of Leptis Magna. Ashraf Mohammed, 33, was one of the first fighters to join Hribish's group. He says:

"A bank can be rebuilt, but our monuments and our history are things we can't replace."

The group of 20 young men, Kalashnikov assault rifles in hand, go on a routine patrol around the 50 hectare (120 acre) site. They inspect the hippodrome, the basilica and the open-air theatre that used to host some 15,000 spectators on its terraces, with a sublime view of the Mediterranean. In 2015, his men discovered and defused a bomb weighing several kilograms (pounds) in a cafe close to the site. Hribish doubts it was put there by jihadists, in a country where multiple armed groups are struggling for power.

The jihadists of the Islamic State group, which destroyed priceless artefacts in Syria and Iraq, are still active in Libya despite having been ousted from Sirte, their North African bastion. The group, however, is much more worried about looting and acts of vandalism. Hribish told AFP he was appalled when IS blew up UNESCO-listed Roman-era temples and looted ancient relics in Syria's Palmyra.

"Leptis Magna has been protected from acts of looting and we are continuing to monitor it. We will not allow IS or anyone else to touch it."

Islamist ideologues are not the only threat to the site. Hribish pointed out that it was developers who destroyed part of the city of Cyrene, an ancient Greek and Roman city in eastern Libya, in order to build houses there. He is proud to have prevented acts like that in Leptis.He proudly added that he has blocked plans to build an unlicensed row of shops immediately next to precious remains.

Libya remains divided between rival governments and militias waging a bitter struggle for power. Other inhabitants of the nearby town of Khoms have also mobilised to protect administrative buildings and banks from vandalism and looting. Hribish says he supports the restoration of Libya's monarchy which was overthrown in the coup that brought Kadhafi to power in 1969.

 "At the start, we thought our mission would be a short-term thing. We expected a state would be built that could guarantee that the country's archaeological sites would be protected. We will continue with our mission until a real state is built."

Roman Emperor Septimius Severus, who was born in Leptis Magna and ruled Rome from 193 to 211 AD, favoured his home town and turned it into one of the most beautiful cities in the empire. He endowed it with splendid monuments including a vast basilica over 30 metres (100 feet) high, and renovated the thermal baths built during the reign of Hadrian (76-138 AD). The open-air pool is still intact to this day.

Make no mistake: these are modern day heroes. Everyone standing their ground in the face of this mindless, all-consuming hatred is a hero. We need people like this. We need them desperately. We need them to fight, to stand up, to protect. Until our own countries' governments finally get off of their asses and act, we have to rely on them to keep safe our culture, our people, our very lives. So thank you. Thank you for standing and fighting to preserve the best of the past. We owe you.