I had never heard of Chris Stevens, the US Ambassador who was killed yesterday in Libya.
His bravery in serving through such violence and turmoil and the heartfelt statements about him by Hillary Clinton compelled me to learn more about the diplomat we lost. So, I went looking on YouTube and found this video that he (and the US Embassy in Tripoli) made to introduce himself to the Libyan people when he became their ambassador. He narrates it, too.
It shares his personal history, our history as a nation, and the promise he saw in the Libyan people. This glimpse into the profoundly good man he was compounds my sorrow. But watching his work and life story also filled me with deep pride to be an American; he was a true force for good working on behalf of all of us.
My deepest sympathies to all who knew, worked with, and cherished Chris Stevens personally and from afar. May he rest in peace.
UPDATE: Big thanks to AuroraDawn for providing transcript in the comments. I've posted it below the fold, and who wrote much more about Stevens in her diary, which you can find here.I did search for another diary on this video, but must have overlooked or missed this one. Thanks again, AuroraDawn.
As-Salaam-Alaikum. My name is Chris Stevens, and I am the new US Ambassador to Libya. I had the honor to serve as the US Envoy to the Libyan opposition during the Revolution, and I was thrilled to watch the Libyan people standup and demand their rights.
Now I am excited to return to Libya to continue the great work we've started, building a solid partnership between the United States and Libya, to help you, the Libyan people, achieve your goals.
Right now, I'm in Washington, preparing for my assignment. As I walk around the monuments and memorials commemorating the courageous men and women who made America what it is, I'm reminded that we, too, went through challenging periods. When America was divided by a bitter civil war 150 years ago, Pres. Abraham Lincoln had the vision and the courage to pull the nation together, and help us move forward toward a shared goal of peace and prosperity.
Growing up in California, I didn't know much about the Arab world. Then, after graduating from the University of California at Berkeley, I traveled to North Africa as a Peace Corps volunteer. I worked as an English teacher in a town in the high Atlas Mountain in Morocco for two years, and quickly grew to love this part of the world. Since joining the Foreign Service, I have spent almost my entire career in the Middle East and North Africa.
One of the things that impressed me when I was last in Libya was listening to stories from people who are old enough to have traveled and studied in the United States, back when we had closer relations. Those days are back. We had 1700 Libyans apply for Fullbright Grants to study in the United States this year - more than any country in the world.
Now, we know that Libya is still recovering from an intense period of conflict. And there are many courageous Libyans who bear the scars of that battle. We are happy that we’ve been able to treat some of your war wounded at US hospitals. We look forward to building partnerships between American and Libyan hospitals to help return Libya's healthcare system to the extraordinary standards of excellence it once enjoyed.
Over my shoulder here you can see the US Capitol Building. In that building 535 elected representatives from every corner of America come together to debate the issues of the day. They are men and women from every religious, ethic and family backgrounds. I look forward to watching Libya develop equally strong institutions of government.
Education and healthcare are just two of the many areas where I see opportunities for close partnership between the United States and Libya. I look forward to exploring those possibilities with you as we work together to build a free, democratic, prosperous Libya.
See you soon.