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Who was Mohamed Nabbous?
From Revolution in Writing , @ tearsoffreedom.tumblr.com
This beautiful tribute to Mo was posted on 8/19/11, five months to the day after he saved Benghazi and got killed by a sniper.
“A Candle Loses Nothing By Lighting Another Candle”
The face of free Libyan voices
Epic Libyan Man
Master of Charades
It is five months today since his passing, yet his legacy continues.
I have always known Mohammed to be a loving husband; a man with a big heart, a brilliant sense of humour, and a serious competitive streak when playing charades. I’ll never forget when he shouted ‘How the hell have you not seen Armageddon!’ Brilliant memories we will forever carry.
February 17th brought out a whole new side of him one I have not seen before. I remember his first appearance on Aljazeera. I was on the phone with his wife, Perditta, while the city of Benghazi was in complete and utter chaos. Deaths were mounting by the minute, hospitals were being overloaded, and people began realising this protest has become a massacre of innocents. I couldn’t believe what Perditta was saying. ‘Rukaya, what you see on the news is nothing’, her voice still ringing in my ears.
I was in complete disbelief.
Moments later, Mohammed is on Aljazeera. And our phones were going off like crazy.
‘Did you see him?’
‘Was that him?’
‘Did he say his full name?!’
He broke the barrier surrounding Libyans. This was the first time any Libyan had the courage to speak. We were all worried for him, his family; a part of us saluted him and the courage he displayed, and this strength allowed others to follow. We shed tears and reality set in. This was real, it was happening, and it was beautiful. Every passing hour, new people would ring into Aljazeera, speaking from the bottom of their hearts, venting from 42 years of oppression.
Can you believe it? 42 years of hidden anger, 42 years of injustice and no voice to speak of it. Libyan life was a farce, and Gaddafi’s mocking speeches of liberty only reinforced it all. Libyan life was a theatre production.
But finally, people were speaking out in public without fear. This was when Gaddafi began to lose.
As this was occurring, the residents Tripoli roam the streets like it were any other day. Daily life is portrayed as normal, traffic’s down in Girgaresh, kids at school, markets buzzing with life. The atmosphere in our homes, workplaces was anything but normal. Facebook was blocked, as well as YouTube. Everyone relied on Mohammed’s live stream, watching and waiting for news and updates to come in.
The internet was cut off. Phone lines to Benghazi were cut too. We were trapped in Tripoli, eagerly anticipating his next appearance on Aljazeera, Euronews, France 24, or any other station.
Benghazi was getting worse, and the world was witnessing it. The word was spreading like wildfire, and Mohammed was in the centre of it all. Everyday, more broadcasting new came from Benghazi, videos, phone calls. The courthouse cameras, the Libya Al-Hurra team filming footage every chance they got. Everyone was hungry for more, Mohammed lit the flame, and it was spreading wildly through Benghazi.
Surreal. The world was debating us. Tripoli was watching the world decide its fate, Benghazi’s fate. Emergency UN Security Council meetings day by day, defections, statements, ‘Gaddafi must go’, ‘Gaddafi must leave’, ‘Gaddafi needs to step down’. UNCHR announcing crimes, human rights, violation, massacre, bloodbath, death toll, it was escalating. These words in different sentences, different people speaking the atrocities. The deaths on screen, 1, 2, 10, 500, 1000. When one person dies, it’s a tragedy. When 10 people die, it’s horrifying. When 1000 people died, it became a statistic. We hoped and prayed.
We spoke to family that day. It had been a while since we spoke to Perditta. Things were unclear, and Benghazi was about to face disaster. But there was a glimmer of hope; the resolution would save them, save them all. So we waited.
But Benghazi had already faced a disaster. For a moment, that hope was halted. A moment we’ll never forget.
The phone rings.
Mohammed was shot.
We sat there, in complete disbelief. Silent. The channels started rolling, breaking news. Mohammed Nabbous had passed away. There was no way to contact Benghazi. We sat, in complete and utter disbelief.
“A Candle Loses Nothing by Lighting another Candle”
Mohammed Nabbous. His spirit continues to be among us in this fight, the face of Libya AlHurra. His legacy born in every new step the youth of Libya takes. His words echo on, in every freedom fighters call, in every Libyan’s soul, in all the world of Journalism. An icon, an inspiration to all, in many ways…
Allah Yarhamak Mohammed Nabbous.
Maya will grow up to be proud of her father’s legend. We will always admire your strength, bravery, and restless sacrifice. The world will forever remember the flicker that ignited the Libyans strive for Liberty.