Archive for May 2011
Today, it has been one month since Clare Morgana Gillis was taken by government troops in Libya, where she is still detained, as was pointed out on Twitter today by @Max_Fisher, her editor at The Atlantic.
This is a photo from the last time I saw Clare in Benghazi on March 19th. I was sitting in the back of a Chinese off-brand pickup truck (Toyato? Toyoma?) along with much of the western press corps in Benghazi at the time. We were fleeing the city because an advance armor column from Qadaffi’s forces had made contact with the rebels on the western approach. There was shelling and a firefight ongoing out by the University.
Clare ambled up on the sidewalk in front of the Al Noran hotel, which had just declared that foreign journalists were no longer welcome to stay. “We’re leaving!” I shouted at her. I was sure we needed to get out, and fast. Others felt the same– like I’ve said before, it was a rout.
“Hey, do what you gotta do,” she said. “You’re gonna miss the party, though.” I swear she said something like that. What a lady. As it turned out Benghazi remained free that day. NATO joined the fight, bombed the tanks, and indeed there was a big victory party that night. I was already headed to Egypt by then.
Clare was taken by Qadaffi forces along with fellow journalists James Foley, Anton Hammerl, and Manu Brabo on the front line outside Brega a month ago. She’s now being held in a women’s prison in Tripoli.
I know she’s been in contact with her folks and that it seems as if she’s in good health. But I sure hope she is released soon. Please check out the Friends for the Release of Clare Gillis page on Facebook to know more.
P.S. That gentleman with Clare is a Ukranian freelance journalist; I apologize that I failed to record his name, though he is a fascinating guy and a quite a character.