_ Brian C. Jones, Sept. 15, 2012
Slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was well regarded in Libya, Journalist Dave Bloss has told Bob Kerr, the Providence Journal’s top columnist, who interviewed Bloss last week.
“Honestly, I never heard a bad word about him anywhere the past two months,” Bloss told Kerr. “He felt very comfortable in the country. He was very popular.”
Kerr wrote in the Sept. 14, 2012 Journal, that Bloss met and liked Stevens, who was killed the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, which also took the lives of three other embassy officials.
Readers of the Rhode Island Library Report already know that Bloss, and his wife, Jody McPhillips, are members of the team of journalists seeking to establish the Library Report as a new, Web-based news organization to cover libraries in the Ocean State.
Kerr explained how Bloss happened to be in Libya:
Libya is the latest stop for Bloss who, with his wife, Jody McPhillips, has led a very interesting life since leaving the Journal more than a dozen years ago. Dave was sports editor here, Jody one of our very best reporters. They began their international trek with jobs as editors at Cambodia Daily, a bilingual paper in Phnom Penh. In the years since, they have worked with journalists, taught journalism, and helped set up journalism schools in Republic of Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, East Timor and India.
“It seemed to have 20 bathrooms. Since the revolution, it seems like a lot of people can just ask for the keys, open it up, and use it for celebrations,” Bloss told Kerr, who wrote:
A tour of the house revealed a pool table that was warping because it was next to a sauna. It was something to laugh at, a silly symbol of privileged overindulgence. But the house was a grim reminder of what used to be in Libya. It had belonged to one of Moammar Gadhafi’s daughters, who is now in Algeria. She lost two sons during the Libyan revolution.
Kerr asked Bloss about the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens.
“My reaction to that attack? — not totally surprised,” said Bloss. “As has been widely reported, everyone has access of weapons, all the way up to RPGs. So the firepower is always there.
“For people who benefited most when Gadhafi held power for 42 years, it’s been a fast drop to the bottom of the pile since his death. There’s also a number of Gadhafi supporters who lost close family in the NATO air strikes. The motives for revenge are strong, and the U.S. is a visible target.”
In the hours since the attacks, there have been the predictable, simple-minded calls to go in there and let loose the full fury of our military might.
“The thing with Americans is, we always want an enemy to be a country,” said Bloss. “But you can’t be condemning Libya because of this. Almost every Libyan is against what happened.”
The full column can be read on the Journal’s subscription Website, www.providencejournal.com Free access to archived Providence Journal articles is available through the Internet to patrons of Rhode Island libraries. Bob Kerr's e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org and his office phone is (401) 277-7252