Mohammed Nabbous 1983-2011
Today we received the news that Mohammed Nabbous, a citizen media activist and one of the great figures of the February 17th youth revolutionary movement, was killed by a Qadaffi sniper while covering the first hours of fighting in Benghazi. His death represents a terrible loss for the movement and for the future of Libya.
We met Nabbous briefly, soon after arriving in Benghazi. As a leader and a member of the Transitional National Council, he gathered a progressive group of activists around him and organized the institution known as the February 17th Revolution Youth Media Center. In that grimy warren of hallways and former interrogation cells, reclaimed from the regime and plastered floor to ceiling with graffiti slogans and cartoons, his name was intoned gravely, even reverently.
In the early days of the rebellion, when regime reprisals were still a possibility for dissenters and fear was widespread, Nabbous single-handedly built a megaphone to the outside world— part television studio, internet relay, and command and control center, streaming images from Benghazi’s Tahrir Square 24 hours a day.
His bravery inspired others to work to give the revolution a voice, and they turned to him constantly for direction; his cell phone rang perpetually. One look could tell you he got very little sleep, if any, in the constant manic flurry of activity required to carry the revolution’s message forward. Despite this he found the time to address our needs, and thank us with deep sincerity for coming to Libya.
He cut a striking figure, tall and suave with a British accent acquired at Oxford, where he studied engineering, and spoke with quickfire brilliance. His was a singular dedication to the revolution and a better future for his country, for which he gave his life, and we mourn him.