February 20, A Sunday

More fighting, a rising death toll. Funeral processions are being fired at. At the cemetery, an entire family was buried, killed after mercenaries fire on their car. People talk of going to Al-Abiar, a district just outside of Benghazi, where it is reported that there are weapons.

Videos from the Eastern area are being played on the news channel. We watch people smash the monument to the Green Book in Derna, and protesters gathering in Baytha chanting for the fall of the regime, proof that the Eastern area is almost free. Benghazi is the last stronghold. Everyone keeps repeating it like a soothing mantra; if Benghazi falls, he loses the East.

There is a noticeable decrease in the fighting outside of the Fatheel barrack. Snipers have been positioned all around the area, and anyone who nears the area is fired on. And yet there is no sign that anyone will give up; on the contrary, the more the death toll increases, more people go into the streets.

We call our aunt, who lives near the Al-Jala hospital. She says that there is a major crisis there, no space in the hospital for the living or dead, decreasing medical supplies, and a lack of doctors and nurses. Despite the situation there is an atmosphere of unity, strength and defiance in the face of all this violence. Everyone is contributing blankets (because of the cold), donating blood, average citizens are assisting at the hospital.

We have passed the point of no return. If we don’t win, he will destroy Benghazi.

We find out later what happened that day at the Katiba, an act of heroic bravery that will forever be remembered by the people of Benghazi.

Mahdi Muhammed Ziu, a 49-year-old citizen of Benghazi, drove straight into the Katiba entrance. The soldiers automatically opened fire on him, but what they didn’t know was that he loaded his car with gas canisters and gun powder. It exploded, creating a hole in the entrance and causing the mercenaries to flee. It was the chance the protesters needed to take control.

Meanwhile, Libyan State television announces that Seif Al-Islam will shortly be addressing the country. He doesn’t appear until 2 in the morning. I can’t tell you what we expected him to say. Previous presidents like Housni Mubarak and Ben Ali have promised to improve the country and have acknowledged the protesters demands as legitimate.

But, Seif Al-Islam is Muammer’s son, which means he spent an hour calling the protesters drunken gang members who are high on hallucinogen pills. He then inexplicably goes on to say that if the issue is not resolved Libya will be divided, that there will be no more oil or gas, and the country will be plunged into civil war.

There was a time when these threats might have held some credibility. But now, after hundreds dead and mercenaries in the streets, the people have had enough. At the courthouse, they set up a projector aimed at the wall so the people demonstrating there could watch what was happening. Their response to Seif was to throw shoes and other objects at the projection as he spoke.


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