Libyan people protest for America
On Friday, yet another protest broke out in the Middle East as Libyans took to the streets, denouncing an unwanted presence in their nation. Thousands turned out, flooding the streets of Benghazi and holding homemade signs, denouncing the most hated people in their country.
Glad to know that it’s not the U.S. for once.
As the rest of the Middle East continues to flare up in anti-American violence and protests, our Libyan allies turned out in droves to declare that the raid on the U.S. Embassy in Libya, which al-Qaida has claimed responsibility for, did not represent the true feelings of Libyans.
The singular show of American support in that region continued until late Friday evening, however, as several hundreds of the original protestors broke off and besieged the headquarters of the radical Islamic group Ansar al-Sharia.
It does America good to see that people still appreciate this country for all the help it provides. While the flames of protests earlier in the week continue to rage on throughout the Arab Spring, the people of Libya have shown they will not tolerate the type of militant radicalism that killed innocents both at the U.S. Embassy and years ago on 9/11.
It was militant radicals who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11, and the world mourned, but mostly because it was a tragedy for all humanity. But when militant radicals killed four Americans, the Libyans also mourned as one of the dead was a longtime friend of the Libyan people, Ambassador Chris Stevens.
While we lost several great men, husbands and fathers as well as protectors of that cherished American liberty, the Libyans lost something fundamentally greater. Stevens was the face of American compassion and represented the inflammatory desire to spread democracy to the oppressed peoples of Libya. While others in the region called for America’s demise at the hand of Allah, Libyans turned on the true cause for the violence in their region.
Members of Ansar al-Sharia fled in terror as the protestors moved in, torched vehicles and took over the Ansar al-Sharia stronghold in Benghazi, liberating 20 captives inside. As the struggle wound down, it didn’t take long before the Libyan military appeared. Rather than making arrests though, the military praised the protestors and took control of the headquarters for them, with General Naji al-Shuaibi expressing the country’s intent to take out even more strongholds — slowly reclaiming their nation from the tentative grip on violent fearmongers such as Ansar al-Sharia.
In a time when national elections has divided Americans, making some of us question whether this fantastic game of democracy has truly been worth it while others wonder if it has truly ever worked at all, the people of Libya have shown the spirit of democracy.
It’s not just a willingness to speak and make thoughts and beliefs heard, nor is it a check on a ballot or a right to a free Internet. In Libya, the spirit of democracy lives in ensuring evil men can never take control and people can remain free of violence controlling their lives. It is with high hopes the Libyan people succeed in their mission in eradicating the radical presence in their country.
James Wang is a history sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].