Radio Free Benghazi

Radio Free Benghazi

Revolutionaries in Benghazi, Libya’s second largest city, have taken over a radio station and are broadcasting their message on the Internet. Benghazi has long been a center of dissent against the rule of Muammar al-Qaddafi, who has ruled Libya with a mercurial iron fist for more than four decades.

While it’s hard to know what’s going on in Libya given the difficulties in reporting there — the country has no independent press to speak of, basically zero civil society, and is not at all welcoming to foreign journalists — Libyan exiles have been working hard to get the word out.

The radio commentary itself is gripping, with breathless amateur announcers calling on the international media to cover what "the criminal Qaddafi" is doing and warning fellow Libyans about "foreign mercenaries."

"This is an Arab revolution not just a Libyan revolution. This is a Muslim revolution," I heard one announcer say.

Perhaps the best source in English is the Libya February 17 blog, which is posting videos and short dispatches sourced to Twitter. What seems clear so far is that the government’s response to widespread and growing protests has been brutal, with reports of at least 24 deaths so far and likely many more. This is not going to be the kind of peaceful revolution that I witnessed in Cairo.