Tonight we received tragic news from our friend Abdul Salam in Benghazi.
He said he had waited a long time before he was ready to call us to tell us that one of our great Benghazi friends, Ahmed (“The Red”) al Faitory was killed by gunfire during fighting in Benghazi (in his neighbourhood) on June 16.
This was very painful and sad news. We could only listen to Abdul Salam talk about the circumstances through our tears. We couldn’t speak. And Ahmed’s death seemed just a little more hurtful that he died on my birthday, while we were celebrating it in Istanbul.
Ironically, tonight after hearing the news, I started searching through old emails we’d received from Ahmed. (Unlike our other two Benghazi friends, Ahmed the Red spoke — and wrote — very little English). I found this birthday note he sent me on June 16, 2007:
hi dear frined jhon
i still see your face in my mined , i still remember that good time together
i missed you so much man, so happy birthday and i hope you will get a long good lifetime
good bye for this moments
Ahmed, we so wish that you had the long, good lifetime that you deserved.
We were proud that when Benghazi rose up against Gaddafi, you fought for your country’s freedom, and we despair that you — who had so much to offer — lost your life… for nothing.
We know that you really tried to get to Tripoli last July to see us, but couldn’t. We looked forward to some day going back to Benghazi to see you, Ahmed and Abdul Salam, and your other friends and families who we met in 2007. Those days are among our most treasured memories.
We miss you.
Always our friend. Always in our hearts.
With much love,
John & Oksana
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