Benghazi's Limbo


Jon Lee Anderson is in Libya:

Benghazi is barely functioning. Its shops and business are mostly shuttered, and there are few people on the streets. Cars speed everywhere, however, and there are occasional bursts of gunfire, as looted weapons are fired into the sky, in apparent celebration at the sudden freedom to do so. (Ordinary Libyans are not normally allowed to possess weapons, much less shoot them.) It is a city in a suspended state: entire families in cars drive in and out of the main security garrison where Qaddafi had a villa, gawking at a place they were prevented from ever entering before.

(Photo: A resident of the north-central Libyan city of Benghazi stands atop a burning heap of books authored by Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi at a local park of the city on March 02, 2011. Kadhafi warned the West against intervening to support the rebellion against him, saying that would unleash a 'very bloody war' in which 'thousands of Libyans would die.' By Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images)