The last few weeks in Libya have been tragic, depressing and hopeful by turn. For months the militia situation in the country had been brewing, with increasing calls for disarmament and unification under a national army on the one hand, and on the other, calls for patience by those making the argument that the armed groups are needed to keep order and security. This simmering tension exploded on the 11th of September with the devastating attack on the US embassy, which took the life of the ambassador Chris Stevens, as well as other Americans and Libyans. As a Libyan myself, I was left enraged and speechless by the attack, and finally thankful that there was someone to articulate those feelings publicly on behalf of Libyans, as prime minister Mustafa Abushagur did in his article on the attack.
Initially there was some speculation about how far the attack was motivated by the protests against that obscure film, which is no longer so obscure, and how much it was a pre-planned terrorist attack. In the wake of the attacks, however, many people ascribed the blame to certain militias or factions of them, and so on Friday, there were two sets of protests in Benghazi – one called Save the Prophet, and the other Save Benghazi, the latter drawing many more people in a march against the militias, including many women. [Read more...]