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Memorial service honours US ambassador to Libya

By Essam Mohamed for Magharebia in Tripoli – 21/09/12

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Libyan and US diplomats, ministers and parliamentarians on Thursday (September 20th) paid tribute to US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

"In the history of relations between peoples, there are certain distinguished figures that play a prominent role in enhancing relations between one people and another through noble human values and going beyond all formalities dictated by diplomatic relations. Ambassador Stevens is one of those figures," General National Congress (GNC) President Mohamed Magarief said at the Tripoli memorial service.

"Ambassador Stevens has won the trust of Libyan people with his sincerity and modesty and has left a good impression on us," Magarief noted. "He even sat on the ground and shared Libyans their popular meals."

Magarief said that security forces would bring perpetrators to justice and stepped up the necessary measures to protect diplomatic missions.

"We're looking forward to working with the US in realising this goal," he noted.

The ceremony started with the Libyan and American national anthems. The attendees observed a moment of silence. Then a speaker read a verse from the Qur'an saying that "whoever kills a soul for other than manslaughter or corruption in the earth is as though he has killed all men".

A large portrait of Stevens hung in the GNC hall with the words "Thank you, Chris" inscribed under it. Former Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim El Keib, newly elected Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur, Foreign Minister Ashour Ben Khayal and US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns attended the service.

Ambassador Stevens and three other diplomatic staff members died Tuesday (September 11th) in an attack by an armed mob at the US consulate in Benghazi.

"We have lost four wonderful colleagues. We have lost a brilliant ambassador, full of courage and skill and passionate determination to help Libyans, to help all of you, realise the promise of your revolution, to make a reality of a free Libya, of 'Libya al-Hurra'," Burns said.

"What Chris Stevens embodied most of all was a sense of shared hope. He was an optimist, about Libya and about the potential for friendship between Libyans and Americans. He saw the promise of a free Libya, of a better future for Libyans and their children and their children's children," the US diplomat continued.

"The best way to honour his memory, and the memory of Sean and Tyrone and Glen, and the memory of all the Libyans who have sacrificed so much for the revolution, is to renew our shared determination to build a free Libya, 'Libya al-Hurra'," Burns said.

In his turn, former Prime Minister El Keib described the American ambassador as "a dear friend of the Libyan people" who "loved the Libyan people and closely followed the events of the revolution".

"The act that killed Christopher doesn't represent the people of Benghazi or the people of Libya; rather, it was carried out by a group of outlaws and they must receive their just punishment," the former prime minister added.

"The one who produced the film that denigrates the Prophet and our religion doesn't represent the American people," he added. He condemned the film and said that Islam "calls for showing hospitality to guests and ensuring their safety".

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    ali farhat 2013-10-8

    I knew Mr Chris Stevens at the high school in Azilal, Ouaouizerth Province, Morocco. He was my English teacher for two years. He was a brave and very nice man. I have photos with him as mementos. I condemn terrorism. I give his family my condolences.