Skip to main content

Muhannad O. Bensadik, finger raised, stood joyful with his best friend Ahmed and others in liberated Benghazi, Libya, in Martyrs Square March 1. On March 12 he became a martyr himself when he was killed by government forces outside Brega, 140 miles from Benghazi.

I never met Muhanned O. Bensadik. And now I never will. He was my step-daughter's cousin. He was killed by pro-Gaddafi forces in their attack on rebel-held Brega, a port city on the southeastern coast of the Gulf of Sidra. On March 4, in my diary here and above, he appears smiling, looking into the camera as young men and boys swarm over a liberated tank in Benghazi.

He was raised in Libya. But he was an American citizen, born in Eden, N.C., on Oct. 9, 1989. Summers he often spent in his mother's speck of a hometown, Martinsville, Va. In fourth grade, he attended school all year there. His two sisters, 12 and 8, still live there with his mother. His brother and father live in Benghazi.

From age 7, he was in the Libyan Boy Scouts and when he got older he became a troop leader. He was a fan of the blues, of Bob Marley and Tupac Shakur. His favorite novel was of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities. His favorite movies included Saving Private Ryan and Eclipse (of the Twilight series). He loved The Simpsons, South Park and Happy Tree Friends.

He studied taekwondo, was an avid swimmer and enjoyed spear-fishing. His hobby was photography. He graduated from high school in 2007 and wanted to study mechanical engineering in the United States. But he never got here.

He was a generous boy. He often helped feed the poor in Benghazi during Ramadan. And when he first joined the rebels surging out of Benghazi, headed ultimately, they hoped, to Tripoli to free their country from murderous tyranny, he helped pass out food to people after Ajdabiya was liberated. Somewhere between there and the port of Ras Lanouf, he acquired a rifle and some basic training.

Here he is being briefly interviewed by Al Jazeera in Ras Lanouf, starting about 0:45:

After describing the situation in Ras Lanouf on March 6, Al Jazeera reporter Hassan abu al-Hassan questions an enthusiatic Muhannad (speaking English):
Hassan: There is brutal fighting going on in Ras Lanouf.

Muhannad: Gaddafi's battalions are shooting from the military ships from the sea, and from tanks on the mountains and by missiles from behind.

Here is an interview with him on CNN on March 6.

Six days after this interview, Muhannad and four friends, including Ahmed, were caught in an attack just northeast of Brega. They split up and ran, three and two. Muhannad and another friend disappeared. Ahmed and the other two escaped. Muhannad was shot dead. We don't know whether his friend was. His father, who was injured near Brega and is now in the hospital in Benghazi, has not been able to recover Muhannad's body.

Here is an audio link to a comment today in English from Muhannad's father to a supporter of my step-daughter's anti-Gaddafi dissident group. He explains what happened as he was told. There is a transcript and an Arabic translation here.

Meanwhile, Gaddafi's forces march on. Today, they are bribing people in Brega with 500 dinars to fight the passionate but poorly armed, poorly trained rebels, most of them civilians until February 15 when an arrest of the dissident Fatih Tarbel sparked the revolt. The dictator, Brother Leader he calls himself, pays Libyans to kill Libyans so he can continue his rule.

If Gaddafi succeeds, if he regains full control, everything we know about him indicates a quiet bloodbath will take place. He will have plenty of time and plenty of money. At risk is every Libyan who has protested, has joined dissident Facebook groups, has put up a YouTube video, or has spoken to Al Jazeera. As well as the families of those who have done these things.

As the international community slowly discusses whether to take up the Arab League's requesting a no-fly zone, many Muhannads are dying. If nobody answers their plea, many more will.

Muhannad poses with his catch last August in the Mediterranean near Benghazi.

Originally posted to Meteor Blades on Sun Mar 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM PDT.

Also republished by Foreign Relations.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

David Nir, Bob Johnson, Kimberley, chase, Mark Sumner, Pat K California, Louise, norm, Tookish, Jeff in CA, JekyllnHyde, Alumbrados, Hunter, Joe Bob, Sylv, vicki, Marek, LeislerNYC, CJB, Trix, ROGNM, Laura Clawson, Ray Radlein, Odysseus, jotter, hester, decisivemoment, murphy, ogre, eleming, Ben P, decembersue, teacherken, slinkerwink, Timaeus, GOTV, glitterscale, mickT, abarefootboy, Joan McCarter, nicolemm, mimi, mattman, janinsanfran, RunawayRose, DebtorsPrison, greenbird, dengre, littlesky, Fishgrease, Andrew C White, cotterperson, mntleo2, Goobergunch, shayera, Kelly Miller, eeff, Mnemosyne, rubyr, dsb, willyr, moira977, Sandy on Signal, devtob, Page van der Linden, elfling, Woody, frisco, caliberal, SallyCat, Jerome a Paris, hubcap, Harper, Florida Democrat, silence, Heart of the Rockies, sardonyx, bigforkgirl, newshound, cinnamon68, Gustogirl, NoisyGong, opinionated, TheMomCat, concernedamerican, Justina, bronte17, Zinman, missLotus, 88kathy, cskendrick, Athenian, Shadan7, mint julep, nyceve, highacidity, boadicea, chuckvw, shanikka, phillies, Dante Atkins, Aquarius40, farmerhunt, roses, Frederick Clarkson, JuliaAnn, slatsg, Ignacio Magaloni, peraspera, standingup, Mber, bwren, ctsteve, Iberian, navajo, artebella, sidnora, sele, aitchdee, Brit, wader, Texknight, SneakySnu, Oke, minorityusa, nancelot, MrSandman, sockpuppet, TexDem, NYC Sophia, DeadB0y, CitizenOfEarth, pat bunny, casperr, MA Liberal, brainwave, Lawrence, gmb, grannyhelen, kdrivel, Damnit Janet, JimWilson, Kidspeak, churchylafemme, Ophelia, HeyMikey, Nemagaiq, Chirons apprentice, Scarce, Steven Payne, Bluehawk, defluxion10, Tillie630, Greg in TN, arielle, kalmoth, RebeccaG, lcrp, alizard, Wayward Wind, Pohjola, MeToo, barbwires, dkmich, One bite at a time, nswalls, zett, zerelda, Curt Matlock, Kitsap River, meagert, lonespark, NapaJulie, Marianne Benz, DarkSyde, bablhous, Emmy, ganymeade, Sybil Liberty, bibble, Julie Gulden, joanneleon, Massman, maybeeso in michigan, historys mysteries, sandblaster, marina, escapee, PAbluestater, capelza, NoMoreLies, Jeffersonian Democrat, greycat, yuriwho, JanetT in MD, SherwoodB, HudsonValleyMark, chimene, irate, PBen, wizardkitten, Militarytracy, willibro, bagman, ccasas, Simplify, ZappoDave, citizenx, basquebob, Brooke In Seattle, chidmf, YucatanMan, trinityfly, Laurence Lewis, Blissing, Annalize5, cfk, SaraBeth, Sun Tzu, jimstaro, Sara R, LABobsterofAnaheim, John DE, GreyHawk, ladybug53, Burned, cassidy3, sofia, quaoar, lotlizard, Phil S 33, blue jersey mom, ivorybill, kaliope, PinHole, neroden, wiscmass, turnover, Floja Roja, coolbreeze, Dunvegan, Cory Bantic, peacestpete, Indiana Bob, psyched, JanF, Snud, Land of Enchantment, kathny, RainyDay, big spoiled baby, jay23, fhcec, signalcamp, begone, skywriter, martini, LeftOverAmerica, pico, SoniaS, BachFan, mcronan, bee tzu, Debbie in ME, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Pinko Elephant, vigilant meerkat, Clytemnestra, ferallike, ActivistGuy, rl en france, raptavio, borkitekt, Prognosticator, koNko, kestrel9000, ruleoflaw, Shliapnikov, KenBee, dangangry, akasha, fou, luckydog, yojimbo, Lefty Coaster, blueoasis, NBBooks, triv33, birdbrain64, A Siegel, philipmerrill, 4Freedom, gpoutney, bubbanomics, gooderservice, Libby Shaw, SadieSue, happy camper, bleeding heart, gabriella, boatsie, Unitary Moonbat, Dinclusin, dirtfarmer, MBNYC, SingerInTheChoir, Cenobyte, Articulating Arm, dirkster42, Persiflage, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, va dare, Dreaming of Better Days, blueoregon, zedaker, nannyboz, shaharazade, Statusquomustgo, kurious, Picot verde, Granny Doc, Friend of the court, Hedwig, blueintheface, ms badger, kml, Nulwee, cpresley, Thinking Fella, fiver, sephius1, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, pgm 01, FoundingFatherDAR, john07801, marykk, Winston Sm1th, donnamarie, Cronesense, SpecialKinFlag, camlbacker, FWIW, possum, ninkasi23, devis1, DocbytheBay, gloriana, Positronicus, vets74, psychodrew, Outrider, FishOutofWater, Mary Mike, Richard Lyon, tbirchard, david mizner, flumptytail, operculum, terabytes, greenchiledem, certainot, DWG, suejazz, Shadowmage36, heathlander, Uwaine, Strabo, Seneca Doane, Kentucky Kid, HCKAD, Aunt Martha, Uberbah, bobswern, jnhobbs, millwood, Moderation, jhop7, gchaucer2, OIL GUY, Got a Grip, JML9999, TexasTwister, cacamp, Spedwybabs, craiger, vet, Terra Mystica, TomP, Empower Ink, fb, VA Breeze, rogerdaddy, mconvente, JaxDem, Catzmaw, Port City Moon, greenalley, TheFatLadySings, Chacounne, wayoutinthestix, rontun, geez53, Tchrldy, Involuntary Exile, bythesea, filby, blindyone, Pragmaticus, lineatus, VL Baker, bettync, jamess, Deep Harm, Lujane, Cassandra Waites, pickandshovel, bluesheep, TokenLiberal, mofembot, Seamus D, noddem, SmileySam, petulans, sewaneepat, luckylizard, Parthenia, allie123, binkycat, Quilldriver, palantir, HoosierDeb, Mike Taylor, watercarrier4diogenes, papicek, squarewheel, oldliberal, LaFeminista, Celtic Merlin, wv voice of reason, maggiejean, Louisiana 1976, Bule Betawi, pileta, number nine dream, litoralis, greengemini, not a cent, juca, output, An Affirming Flame, Dopeman, zephyr108, Baldur, CanyonWren, stolen water, Old Man from Scene 24, janmtairy, ScientistSteve, Valhalla, jennylind, shopkeeper, DefendOurConstitution, unspeakable, zaka1, UnaSpenser, Kaili Joy Gray, asym, JustJennifer, Denise Oliver Velez, kevinpdx, Kysen, dalfireplug, stevenwag, Flyswatterbanjo, Little Flower, DaNang65, nancat357, mahakali overdrive, Dragon5616, jpmassar, citisven, porchdog1961, catilinus, Larsstephens, cassandraX, Railfan, parse this, smileycreek, Christy1947, coppercelt, foufou, rb137, p gorden lippy, psfinla, politik, Observerinvancouver, amk for obama, jethrock, UTvoter, Proud Mom and Grandma, tubacat, birddog, mjbleo, netop, Eddie L, JoanMar, NY brit expat, samanthab, Lady Libertine, Kristina40, ThisIsMyTime, ramara, Egalitare, rfall, NYWheeler, sharonsz, Pay It Forward, Betty Pinson, ericlewis0, science nerd, not4morewars, mallyroyal, TheHalfrican, no way lack of brain, Onomastic, annieli, gobears2000, kerflooey, hopeful human, sboucher, StateofEuphoria, redandblue, nicethugbert, croyal, opoponax, vahana, FarWestGirl, asterkitty, KelleyRN2, mawazo, princesspat, Ebby, Jed Lewison, marleycat, soysauce, Shes a Riot, phillygirl64, Muskegon Critic, Ojibwa, muddy boots, hikerbiker, KVoimakas, merrily1000, tardis10, Vtdblue, jrexpat, enhydra lutris, antimony, corvaire, peregrine kate, EsperanzaCambia, pensivelady, mali muso, Liberal Mole, dibsa, Wood Dragon, kid funkadelic, randomfacts, StateOfGrace, CMYK, Mets102, Jantman, Friendlystranger, daveusf, jolux, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, just another vortex, Sonofasailor, zenox, StepLeftStepForward, jadt65, Regina in a Sears Kit House, CoyoteMarti, Lucy2009, BlueDragon, YaNevaNo, AnnetteK, Patric Juillet, GenXangster, sow hat, ursoklevar, Aji, Siri, IndieGuy, foucaultspendulum, Eric Nelson, Miep, barkingcat, Deep Texan, Ultranaut, Ginger1, Mandell, Celtic Pugilist, stellaluna, martinjedlicka, Lorinda Pike, peachcreek, Tyler R, belinda ridgewood, Pilkington, Ana Thema, brooklyniac, thePhoenix13, Kinak, BreadGod, Marjmar, ChristineM

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site