Bubaker Habib was a local contractor for the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
The last time I saw my friend Chris Stevens was at the Benghazi Airport as his body was being transferred to the plane to begin his last journey back to the United States. The great, honorable, gentle man I welcomed to Benghazi only two days earlier now lay lifeless before me on the same tarmac.
Chris had arrived in Benghazi on Sept. 10, 2012, for five days of meetings and to inaugurate an American cultural center at an English-language school under my care. A Libyan by birth and lifelong resident of Benghazi, I had for years taught English and facilitated cultural exchanges with the United States and, upon the resumption of diplomatic relations, served as an adviser and cultural interpreter for U.S. officials — especially Chris. I was also the one charged with coordinating his fateful visit to Benghazi.
I learned that I had been targeted that night and it was no longer safe for me to remain in Libya. I arrived in the United States two months later. Upon my arrival I was dismayed to find that the public conversation here had veered from memorializing a slain hero to hijacking his legacy for naked political agendas. Yet I maintained faith that, over time, the country would settle its discord, heal its wounds and return to honoring Chris Stevens, his life’s work and the noble mission for which he died.
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Image courtesy of Reuters