Video has emerged in which Libyan citizens remove the body of Ambassador Christopher Stevens from the Embassy after it was attacked by Muslim protestors last week. Though one might be tempted to call the video disturbing, the film is better suited by calling it “tragic” when aspects of it are revealed in context.
The video shows Libyans removing the body of Christopher Stevens from the American mission in Benghazi, cheering at some points and appearing nervous at others. At first glace, the Libyans in the video could be members of the protest which claimed the life of the Ambassador, but a closer look and translation of the video shows that the Libyans captured in it seem to bear no ill-will toward the Ambassador whatsoever.
They were trying to save him.
Via the New York Times:
“I swear, he’s dead,” one Libyan says, peering in.
“Bring him out, man! Bring him out,” another says.
“The man is alive. Move out of the way,” others shout. “Just bring him out, man.”
“Move, move, he is still alive!”
“Alive, Alive! God is great,” the crowd erupts, while someone calls to bring Mr. Stevens to a car.
The Libyans in the video took Stevens to a nearby hospital, but doctors were unable to revive him. Though initial reports had Stevens dying as he drove away from the embassy, later reports have indicated that he died of smoke inhalation while still inside the embassy. This video seems to corroborate with that story.
Furthermore, the Libyans in the video appear to be nervous. Like they are afraid of being discovered. With an increased call to Moderate Muslims to step forward and denounce the actions of violent extremism within Islam, this video provides a watershed moment and an answer to that call. Moderates are generally thought to remain silent because they fear reprisal from extremist groups; Larger than we admit, but still the minority. This group of young Libyans deserves credit for the risk they took in attempting to save the Ambassador’s life, just as much as the protestors who took it deserve our unilateral criticism.
Here’s the video of the Libyan group retrieving the body of Ambassador Stevens: