Michael's Dispatches

Important Message From Libya

22 April 2011

I’ve been reading traffic from a private worldwide group regarding the sad loss of journalists Chris Hondros and Tim Hetherington in Libya.  The people discussing the loss include names you sometimes see on national television, in books, and so on and so forth.  The bylaws of the group preclude my publishing names or emails without permission.  When Nancy Youseff’s message came in from Libya, the importance of the substance of her message was clear. 

With Nancy’s permission, I have deleted a few names and here it is, fresh from Nancy in Libya:

Dear [D] and [J]: Thank you for posting these messages. I came back from Tim and Chris' memorial here in Benghazi to [A’s] message. It was disappointing to say the least especially after watching Libyans and non-Libyans gather to remember Chris and Tim's spirit and humanity. There were protests in Misrata yesterday over their deaths. Yes, those who lost family members and friends gathered to share in their outrage over what happened to Tim and Chris.  And at the memorial, the British envoy told a story that is worth repeating. (I am paraphrasing based on my memory.)  A resident of Misrata came to him to express his sympathies. The Brit said, "But you have lost thousands?" And the Misrata said "This is different. They came to help us and tell our story. We are indebted to them."

This morning Benghazi's bishop, who stayed here to help the wounded and sick despite the mass fleeing of Christians at the start of the uprising, held a prayer for Tim and Chris.

That is, this is not the story of how we are forgetting the thousands killed in Misrata; it is about how two people from distant lands have touched the people of Libya through their work and their dedication to telling the story of Misrata. They are a reminder that even in war, one can find beauty.

Nancy A. Youssef
Pentagon Correspondent
McClatchy (formerly Knight Ridder) Newspapers

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