Somehow, almost 10 days after the fact, the second-hand report of regret is about as convincing an apology as one from Saturday Night Live’s “Gilly.” The British should issue a statement explaining:
“Here’s what we’re not going to do in response:
3. Wantonly destroy our own property and that of others
4. Launch suicide bombings
5. Set fires
6. Desecrate graves
7. Demand revenge in blood
8. Seize the incident as a pretext for unrelated acts of violence
“Now, you try. No, please. Now.” “UK says Libya sorry for desecration of WWII graves,” from Agence France-Presse, March 5:
Libyan authorities have been “extremely apologetic” over the desecration of Commonwealth graves in the eastern city of Benghazi, a British Foreign Office minister said Sunday.
Jeremy Browne said the incidents were “appalling” and people would be “shocked” by the footage of the February 24 and 26 attacks.
“The Libyan authorities themselves are shocked too,” he told Sky News television.
“We have had direct dealings with them. They have been extremely apologetic and made a very strong commitment they will get to the bottom of this happening. They will try and do everything they can to resolve it.
Video footage shows a mob smashing up headstones and a cross of sacrifice, saying “they are dogs”.
Local reports said the group comprised Salafists angered by the burning of the Koran at a NATO military base in Afghanistan last month.
The Libyan transitional government on Tuesday condemned the attacks and vowed to find the perpetrators.
Some 1,214 Commonwealth troops who died in the north African desert battles of World War II are buried at the Benghazi War Cemetery, where around 200 headstones were damaged.
Of the 1,051 identified graves, 851 are those of British troops, with others belonging to Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, South African and Indian servicemen.
Around a quarter of the headstones in the nearby Benghazi British Military Cemetery, which does not contain World War graves, were also damaged.
“My understanding it is not just British graves or just Christian graves that have been desecrated, there is wider desecration taking place. The Libyan authorities are keen to work with us on this,” the minister said….
It was indeed a rampage that found an excuse it could work with. The crosses and the graves were already targets in someone’s mind.