- By Blake Hounshell
Blake Hounshell is managing editor at Foreign Policy, having formerly been Web editor. Hounshell oversees ForeignPolicy.com and has commissioned and edited numerous cover stories for the print magazine, including National Magazine Award finalist "Why Do They Hate Us?" by Mona Eltahawy. He also edits The Cable, FP's first foray into daily original reporting, and was editor of Colum Lynch's Turtle Bay, which in 2011 won a National Magazine award for best reporting in a digital format.
Blake joined Foreign Policy in 2006 after living in Cairo, where he studied Arabic, missed his Steelers finally win one for the thumb, and worked for the Ibn Khaldun Center for Development Studies. Blake was a 2011 finalist for the Livingston Awards prize for young journalists for his reporting on the Arab uprisings, and his Twitter feed was named one of Time magazine's "140 Best Twitter Feeds of 2011." Under his leadership, in 2008, Passport, FP's flagship blog, won Media Industry Newsletter's "Best of the Web" award in the blog category. Along with Elizabeth Dickinson, he edited Southern Tiger: Chile's Fight for a Democratic and Prosperous Future, the memoirs of former Chilean president Ricardo Lagos, published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2012.
A graduate of Yale University, Blake speaks mangled Arabic and French, is an avid runner, and lives in Washington with his wife, musician Sandy Choi, and their toddler, David. Follow him on Twitter @blakehounshell.
What does grief and courage sound like? It sounds a lot like the voice of Perditta Nabbous, the wife of Libyan citizen journalist Mohammed Nabbous, 27, who was shot and killed last Saturday by forces loyal to Muammar al-Qaddafi. Mohammed was the charismatic voice and face of Libya al-Hurra, the online TV station he set up in the early days of the uprising. Mo, as his many fans and supporters around the world called him, was attacked while trying to record footage from Benghazi.
"He got so furious because nobody was taking pictures and videos," Perditta told me, after many Western journalists fled Benghazi ahead of a furious assault by Qaddafi’s troops. Mo had been trying to reach the wreckage of a downed Libyan jet — which later turned out to belong to the rebels — when his car came under heavy fire. He died in the hospital several hours later. "He said, ‘I need to get proof of the plane so people will believe this,’" Perditta said.
She is 8 months pregnant. "I want Mohamed’s child to live," she told me.
Her voice growing stronger, she called for the U.S.-led strikes on Qaddafi’s air defenses and troops to continue. Here it is in her own words. I can’t put it any more powerfully than this:
"We started this in a pure way, but he turned it bloody. Thousands of our men, women, and children have died.
We just wanted our freedom, that’s all we wanted, we didn’t want power. Before, we could not do a single thing if it was not the way he wanted it.
All we wanted was freedom. All we wanted was to be free. We have paid with our blood, with our families, with our men, and we’re not going to give up.
We are still going to do that no matter what it takes, but we need help. We want to do this ourselves, but we don’t have the weapons, the technology, the things we need. I don’t want anyone to say that Libya got liberated by anybody else.
If NATO didn’t start moving when they did, I assure you, I assure you, half of Benghazi if not more would have been killed. If they stop helping us, we are going to be all killed because he has no mercy anymore.
On Monday, a relief ship carrying medical supplies docked in Misrata, a town west of Benghazi that has been besieged for weeks by Qaddafi’s tanks, snipers, and RPG-wielding troops. The ship, which included donations from the German aid organization Medeor, was arranged by Nabbous and his friends and supporters, who are vowing to keep the channel alive. Says Perditta, "We have to make what he started go on."