February 19th, A Saturday

Continued protests across Libya. By now, the media is very much aware that something momentous is happening in Libya. Calls are coming in from across the country, on channels like AlJazeera, AlHiwar, AlHurra, CNN, etc. People calling from Shahat and Derna claim that those areas are completely free, and that the mercenaries were trying to escape to the woods.

The joy that this news brings us is quickly shattered by the mounting death toll in Benghazi. As the day progresses things continue to look bleaker. A quick tour around the city does nothing to encourage us. Soldiers are stationed at every military barrack, weapons at the ready. But the place witnessing the most action is the Fatheel Bu Amer Barracks. There, the area is surrounded by protesters, some with their heads and faces covered by the keffiya, grouped together in serious discussions. From time to time we hear gunfire. As we leave the area, we see young men atop a bulldozer headed in the direction of the barrack. We learn later that they managed to knock down a wall, but one of the men inside was killed.

At home, the calls we hear on AlJazeera paint a frightening picture. Helicopters overhead are shooting at protestors with high caliber weapons and bodies are mounting at the Al-Jala hospital. Possibly the scariest moment was when Fathi Terbil managed to contact AlJazeera through the internet. He declares that a massacre is taking place in Benghazi. As he speaks, another man writes notes and places them in front of the camera, elaborating Terbil’s words with messages like “200 dead, 800 injured”. We stay up well into the night waiting for any more news, but there’s nothing new.

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