March 17, 2011

Via the Christian Science Monitor:

Shortly before midnight, the streets of Libya's de facto rebel capital, Benghazi, were quiet, nearly deserted.

A few minutes after midnight, tracer bullets and celebratory machine-gun fire were racing into the air from every direction and residents piled into their cars for a massive street party.

In between, the United Nations Security Council voted by 10-0 to not only impose a no-fly zone over eastern Libya but to allow for “all necessary measures” short of an occupation to protect the country’s civilians from Col. Muammar Qaddafi, the dictator who’s ruled Libya for nearly 42 years.
....
Music blared, young men danced, and volley after volley of heavy machine gun and anti-aircraft fire was released skyward, tracer bullets mixing in with the fireworks erupting over downtown. Overlooking the intersection is a billboard put up in late February that reads: “No to foreign intervention. The Libyan people will do this on their own.”

This morning, Benghazi was a city filled with residents preparing themselves for death, worried about Muammar Qaddafi’s forces 90 miles away and spooked by airstrikes today and yesterday that did severe damage to the city’s airport.

Tonight, there was only conviction that they will succeed, a collective exhalation of relief that the US, France and others had essentially said to Qaddafi “you will go no further.”

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