Rafik Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Mohamed Eljarh writes for Foreign Policy on unrest in Libya:
On Sept. 19, Benghazi witnessed a string of assassinations that seemed to be coordinated. The assassins targeted military and security personnel as well as civilians. Among those killed were two teenage civil society activists, Sami al-Kawafi and Tawfik Bensaud. They were 17 and 18 years old respectively. Their murders have capped off more than two years of extremist attacks on peace activists and journalists, killings that are endangering any remaining freedoms Libyans still have.
Despite their young age, Tawfik and Sami were described as giants of Libya’s nascent civil society. They, like many other activists in Libya, believed in a civil state that guarantees basic human rights and justice for all — and for speaking their minds about such beliefs, they paid the ultimate price. Other activists of their ilk continue to be kidnapped and are now fleeing the country in search of a sense of safety that they could not find in Libya. Libya’s civil society is extremely disorganized and activists usually have nothing to fall back on when their lives and livelihoods are being threatened.