The Middle East Channel

Benghazi blues

Traveling to and from Benghazi is a bit like reading a graphic novel or a postmodern comic book, with the shifting emotions of the residents of the Libyan rebels’ de facto capital plastered on billboards and splashed across graffiti-covered walls. The book’s introduction is grateful, embracing, and polished: "Freedom Is Our Destination" reads a newly ...

Chris Hondros/Getty Images
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

Traveling to and from Benghazi is a bit like reading a graphic novel or a postmodern comic book, with the shifting emotions of the residents of the Libyan rebels’ de facto capital plastered on billboards and splashed across graffiti-covered walls. The book’s introduction is grateful, embracing, and polished: "Freedom Is Our Destination" reads a newly erected billboard by the airport’s arrival terminal, astride a line of flags from countries that have formally recognized the rebels’ Transitional National Council (TNC).

Another placard along the main road leading into town shows a smiling, elderly man in traditional dress and red fez, his hand outstretched, offering the visitor a yellow daisy, a flower that grows in abundance in the neighboring Green Mountains.

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Ethan Chorin is the author of Exit the Colonel and Translating Libya. He was posted to Libya as a U.S. foreign service officer from 2004 to 2008. Follow him on Twitter: @EthanChorin.

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