By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 11 July 2014:
US Ambassador to Libya Deborah K. Jones has honoured the murdered activist Salwa Bugaighis at a . . .[restrict]memorial services in Tripoli.
Speaking at the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Jones remembered Bugaighis as an open, friendly and elegant woman who was passionate about a vision of a new Libya, a nation protected by a constitution and operating under the rule of law.
Jones emphasised Bugaighis’s understanding of the power of words as she used her voice to promote the freedom for all Libyans to make their own voices heard. And it was for this, according to the ambassador, Bugaighis was assassinated. Jones said Bugaighis’ words were “so powerful they frightened cowardly men who would rob Libyans of their right to speak; of their right to choose; of their God-given right to live and work, and love with dignity.”
The US ambassador said that she first met Bugaighis, a prominent lawyer and human rights activist from Benghazi, at the same Corinthia Hotel where the memorial service was taking place. Jones recalled that upon meeting her she understood why her slain predecessor Chris Stevens and so many others “had such high hopes” for Libya’s post-revolution future.
She remembered the murdered activist as one who was transparent in an environment where motives were often “muddied” and who opposed anti-democratic movements, rejecting “constraints on free citizens.” Bugaighis, said Jones, wanted everyone to have an opportunity in a new and democratic Libya, even as she openly opposed extremist violence. She recognised that democracy involves working together to forge solutions based on mutual compromise.
Speaking of Bugaighis’s murder and the subsequent abduction of her husband, Benghazi Municipal councillor Essam Ghariani, who is still missing, Jones said the events are “a stark reminder that we have a long and difficult road ahead of us, because, after all, democracy is a path, a difficult path that requires continual struggle, and not a destination of ease and rest.”
In closing, Jones said: “Her voice continues to ring in our ears. Her light continues to shine above us. She remains our lodestar, the moral compass that guides us in the midst of these often dark and murky woods in the direction we should be heading, toward the ‘true north’ that leads to a new Libya, a Libya that embodies the vision shared by Salwa that should always remain sheltered in our minds and hearts.” [/restrict]