Libyans take to Twitter to condemn deadly embassy attack
Published Wednesday, September 12, 2012 1:00PM EDT
A deadly attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya, which left the ambassador and three staffers dead, has ignited a fiery reaction on Twitter from Libyans and members of the Arab community condemning the violence.
The Americans died after angry demonstrators, apparently enraged by an anti-Islamic film produced in California, stormed the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi on Tuesday.
United States Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, 52, and Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith were both killed in Benghazi, along with two others whose names have not been released.
The Twitterverse quickly came alive with comments from high-ranking officials to local activists.
“I condemn these barbaric acts in the strongest possible terms. This is an attack on America, Libya and free people everywhere,” said Libya’s Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Mustafa Abushagur.
He followed that initial response with another tweet immediately afterwards: “Amb. Stevens was a friend of Libya and we are shocked at the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi.”
This is a sad day for us Libyans, we've lost an irreplaceable friend who wanted to help the country move forward
Libyan activist groups also joined in the chorus, condemning the attacks and expressing dismay at what appeared to be a massive step backwards for the country that escaped the dictatorship of Moammar Gadhafi last year.
"Condolences to the family of the American who was killed in today's attacks in #Benghazi. RIP #libya” tweeted the group @LibyanYouthMovement, which defined itself as a group of young Libyans living both inside and outside of the country."
Asma Margariaf, an expat Libyan living in Washington with the handle @LybianBentBladi, also posted condolences and sadness at the loss of Stevens.
“This is a sad day for us Libyans, we've lost an irreplaceable friend who wanted to help the country move forward,” she wrote.
After a young man from the U.S. tweeted about the “anger percolating” around the attacks, the Libyan Youth Movement responded quickly with a message of empathy.
“I share that anger with you and the sadness and the heartache,” @LibyanYouthMovement wrote.
There were also a number of tweets from ordinary Libyans, or other Arab sympathizers, who shared their shock and anger online after hearing about the attacks.
“The attack in #Benghazi today was an attack on Libya which we Libyans condemn and fully reject,” said @ArmchairArab, whose Twitter profile suggests he or she is concerned about Libya’s emergence from “42 years of brutal dictatorship.”
“Please don't generalize #Benghazi or #Cairo incidents to Libyans, Egyptians or Muslims. These are criminal acts of few that we condemn.”
Finally, a poster named Ismael with the Twitter handle @ChangeInLibya called on his fellow Libyans to take a stand against the violence, and stage protests in Tripoli and Benghazi “against extremists and U.S. Embassy attack. Be there.”
It has yet to be seen whether those demonstrations will materialize.