Libyan Ambassador Stevens’ Death Tragic, Hopeful, Ironic

Chris Stevens E1348674207636

I’ve been reflecting on the recent events in Libya involving the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens, and every time, I arrive at a different feeling about it all.

There’s the obvious tragedy of a life unnecessarily lost. By all accounts, Stevens was a humble, passionate man who had invested his life in the betterment of the infrastructure for the Libyan people. He was not, as some dignitaries or diplomats tend to be, resting on his credentials in an easy gig, waiting for retirement. He was living out what he believed in a terribly volatile corner of the world.

There’s the incredulous anger over the loss of life, intentional or not. Though some claim that Libyan rebels had been planning such an attack on the embassy for months in response to the September 11th anniversary, the preponderance of evidence suggests it was a crime of collective passion, conflagrated by the amateurish Innocence of Muslims” video produced in America. While I understand some who express exasperation with the Libyan people’s response, saying the violence is inordinate when compared to some overblown home movie, this turns a blind eye to deeper issues of justice. Basically, we have bought the compliance of the Libyan government with aid money, and some in the Middle East would argue that, despite our tenuous peace with that north African country, the net impact of our presence in the region has boon nothing short of catastrophic. So when we jump to cast blame for such a bloody mob response, we have to consider the context in which the entire relationship is set.

I was heartened by one report on National Public Radio that pointed to video footage shot after the embassy attack. The Libyans sorting through the wreckage found a still-alive Ambassador Stevens, which elicited cheers of joy from them and shouts of “God is great!” He was beloved by many in the country, and some Libyan leaders have since contended that his death was entirely accidental, and that he was not a target. Though this does little to assuage the anger over the senseless loss of life, it is hopeful to know that, though there are those in Libya intent on violence and division, there are also those who long for peace, reconciliation and healing. There were those employees in the hospital where they took Stevens who approached other American officials, head lowered, clasping their hands between their own, to offer deep regret and sincere apology. There is an ethic in Libyan culture of taking collective responsibility for one another’s actions: something that we in the west could well benefit from emulating a little more.

Then there’s the irony of Stevens’ death. As I mentioned, he was still clinging to life when the first people on the scene found him in the embassy. One of Chris Stevens’ primary tasks in Benghazi was to help implement an emergency first responder system within the city. As it is, there are no fire trucks, ambulances or emergency doctors in place to treat any life-or-death case any differently than any other medical need. Without this, those who found Stevens only had the option to place him in a private car and take him to a hospital, with the hope of connecting with the right people so spare his life.

But by the time he reached the hospital, it was too late.

Had the services he was seeking to implement been in place, it’s possible he would still be alive. And although his particular death is tragic and worthy of attention, analysis and mourning, it’s only one of far too many lives lost due to the lack of basic infrastructure for those who live with such deficiencies, every day.

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It is my hope that this incident will not regress into a rallying cry for retribution, for justification to cut of support or as an opportune political talking point in the current election cycle. The majority of Libyans simply want peace, a safe place to raise a family and the basic resources to provide a decent quality of life for those they care about. Not unlike all of us. When we think in these terms, there is no “us” and “them;” there is only “us.”

God, help us all.


Christian Piatt is an author, editor, speaker, musician and spoken word artist. He co-founded Milagro Christian Church in Pueblo, Colorado with his wife, Rev. Amy Piatt, in 2004.He is the creator and editor of BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE and BANNED QUESTIONS ABOUT JESUS. Christian has a memoir on faith, family and parenting being published in early 2012 called PREGMANCY: A Dad, a Little Dude and a Due Date. Visit, or find him on Twitter or Facebook.

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Christian Piatt

Christian PiattChristian Piatt is an author, founder of the Homebrewed CultureCast Podcast and owner of Crowdscribed, a publishing house, social networking platform and crowdfunding tool.View all posts by Christian Piatt →

  • Walter L.

    By this time the real story has been revealed..This was not in reaponse to a video,but out & out murder by terrorist…Much belatedly admitted to by our Administration and its protectors

  • A. Lee

    Wrong! The preponderance of evidence does not show that this was a reaction to a video that few had seen prior to the attack. It shows what anyone with any slight bit of common sense understands. This was a pre-planned attack (spontaneous rioters do not show up with rocket launchers and heavy arms) coordinated to fall on the anniversary of Sept. 11th. What’s more the evidence suggests that the attackers had been tipped off by someone within the Libyan government as to the whereabouts of the safe house to which the ambassador fled. The evidence also shows that there were repeated calls by the embassy staff during the days leading up to Sept. 11th for additional security. The evidence shows that, for some reason, those requests were not granted. In fact there were attacks on at least three other embassies on the same day, in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen. The evidence shows that Al Queda was involved in the planning of the attacks. Furthermore, the evidence shows that our President continued to blame the murder of our citizens on the youTube video for days on such diverse forums as the Letterman show and the U.N. general assembly. He did so, even while others within the administration were openly admitting that this was a pre-planned terrorist attack. To date, our President has still not come clean with the American people. Instead the evidence shows that he continues to cover up for what appears to be a massive failure in foreign policy which led to four of our fellow citizens being murdered, raped and dragged through the streets. Paint a rosy picture of it if you like, but if you insist on presenting evidence, present all of the evidence, not just speculation.

  • keith

    Now in the interest of truth and fairness Shane, I expect to see a follow up article condemning the President for refusing to increase security for this man and the people left there who repeatedly asked for and who warned this inept administration of violence and possible harm. The Red Cross pulled out months before this for Gods sake and this man was left to fend for himself……The truth is coming out everyday and you liberals refuse to comment lmbooooooooooo…. Obama is inept, a liar and is a threat to this country. I look forward to your response 😉

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