Desecrating the Benghazi War Cemetery does not define the new Libya
THAT video of Libyan’s desecrating a Christian cemetery, and also knocking over Jewish headstones, was filmed at the Benghazi War Cemetery, where lie the remain of Allied servicemen, who fought between 1942 to 1943. The media round-up:
A year ago they begged for Britain’s help when Colonel Gaddafi’s tanks encircled their city, threatening annihilation. Now former Libyan rebels in Benghazi – liberated with the aid of the RAF last March – have systematically desecrated the graves of more than 150 British servicemen killed in North Africa 70 years ago.
The paper sees 150 British graves desecrated. The BBC sees 109.
More than 1,000 soldiers and airmen who lost their lives in the desert wars of Montgomery and Rommel are buried at the site in Eastern Libya. Many were members of the famed 7th Armoured Division, known as the Desert Rats, who played a crucial role in the see-saw battle for control of Libya and Egypt between 1941 and 1943.
The Mail adds nostalgia and glory to the European battle for Empire, the push for the theft of other nation’s goods and services.
The cemetery is the last resting place for several soldiers from one of Britain’s oldest regiments, the King’s Royal Rifle Corps, founded in 1775. Four of the regiment’s battalions took part in the North Africa campaign and one of its members, Rifleman John Beeley, was awarded the Victoria Cross after being killed while storming a German machine-gun post at the battle of Sidi Rezegh in November 1941.
The descendants of the victims of empire are revolting. Are they ungrateful for Europe bringing war to their country?
The Observer says one man would not kick down the grave because “this soldier must have been good to his parents”. The cameraman answers him: “Come on, they are all dogs, who cares?”
Libya’s interim government said in a statement:
“The Transitional National Assembly… strongly condemns these acts which are incompatible with the teachings of Sharia. It pledges to work to address this phenomenon and the prosecution of the perpetrators in accordance with Libyan law which criminalises such acts.”
Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s office said it was trying to find out if any Australian graves had been destroyed.
“The Government is appalled and disgusted by these reports, and condemns without reservation this act of desecration,” the PM’s office said in a statement. “Should the reports prove accurate, we call on the Libyan interim government to investigate and hold to account those responsible.”
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission says:
It’s now reported from Benghazi that two Commonwealth War Graves cemeteries have been damaged in attacks over the weekend – both the Benghazi War Cemetery and now the Benghazi British Military Cemetery. We are awaiting a detailed report but in both cemeteries, headstones were broken and disfigured. Both cemeteries will be restored to a standard befitting the sacrifice of those commemorated at Benghazi, but this could take some time because we will need to source replacement stones. We will also need to be sure that it’s safe for the detailed work to be carried out, but in the meantime we will ensure that temporary markers are erected over the graves. We have no reports of any maintenance staff being injured in the attack.
There are 1214 Commonwealth servicemen of the Second World war buried or commemorated in the Benghazi War Cemetery. 163 of the burials are unidentified. Special memorials commemorate two casualties buried in Barce War Cemetery, whose graves could not be located. There are also 25 non-Commonwealth burials at Benghazi, one being an unidentified Greek soldier. The Benghazi British Military Cemetery has 284 burials, eleven of them unidentified. The graves are of servicemen and women who died in the region in the years following the Second War.
Only one man in the video covers his face. These popel want to be seen. Their video is posted on the web. They are making some kind of statement. But desecrating the dead will not get them any sympathy. It is nationalist-religious provocation aiming to incite violence and loathing.