Today in Benghazi, an estimated 30,000 people turned out to speak against the militias, against the violence, against the murder of our ambassador (and my cousin), and against letting the radical forces tear their country apart. On the other hand, 500 people showed up to support the militias.
This is good news. More details, including a few notes of failings of media coverage, below. This story needs publicity, lest the media fall back on the easy stereotype of "Muslim rage."
CNN WORLD includes:
Anti-Islam film protests flare in Pakistan | Photos
Salman Rushdie on the 'outrage machine'
U.S. officials: Beefed-up Benghazi security no match for assault
White House: Libya attack terrorism | Libya PM: Attack preplanned
FOX NEWS WORLD includes:
Religion's role in Mideast violence
At least 16 killed in anti-US protests in Pakistan
Love' protests over film turn deadly (Pakistan)
Village's experiment with Chinese democracy sours
Ax-wielding man kills 3 kids, wounds 13 in China
400-year-old marble loot revealed by drought in Poland
Israeli troops in deadly firefight with militants
Al-Jazeera front page includes:
Insults to Islam stir mass Pakistan protests
And finally Protesters seek to disband Benghazi militias
Around 30,000 pro-peace Libyans marched through the eastern port on Friday in an unprecedented effort to demand the disbanding of powerful armed gangs, in the wake of the assault that killed the ambassador and three other Americans.This is not about the film. This isn't about the murder of the US Ambassador. This isn't about us. It's about saving Libya and saving the revolution that cost so many their lives and loved ones. It's about creating a civil society.
The giant crowd poured into Al-Kish Square square in front of the main camp of Ansar Sharia in the city, unfurling a long Libyan flag and chanting, "With our lives and souls, we redeem you, Benghazi".
Al Jazeera's Hoda Abdel-Hamid, reporting from Benghazi, said: "We went there to see their slogans and basically what they're saying is that they refused insults to the Prophet but they also refuse terrorism in their city."And as a family member of the ambassador, it is still touching to see:
"They have also called for the disbanding of the militias, chanting: 'What are you waiting for?'. They're asking the government how long it will take before they do that."
They gathered to pressure the national congress to pass legislation criminalising militias and codifying the law on bearing arms, organisers said.
They were also demanding the withdrawal of all armed groups from state buildings and institutions and full support for measures to revitalise the police and army.
Protesters mourned the killing of the US envoy, waving signs that read, "The ambassador was Libya's friend" and "Libya lost a friend".There's a good photostream here. And Twitter with the hashtags #savebenghazi and #savelibya are really the best places I've found to follow the action.
This story needs publicity. I could have gone on and on listing the news sites that ignored this event, an unprecedented public outpouring against militarism really. 30,000 to 500! When people ask, "where are the Islamic moderates," one answer is ... in Benghazi, working for peace.