Grave of Canadian war hero desecrated in Libya
The young Canadian pilot died fighting in the North African campaign, was buried with military honours in Libya and lay undisturbed for seven decades. Along with hundreds of other graves honouring those who helped push Nazi forces out of Libya, his memorial survived mercurial former dictator Moammar Gadhafi’s rages at the West. But amid the turmoil of the liberated country – in what is said to be revenge for Koran burning in Afghanistan – the headstone of Flying Officer Martin Palmer Northmore was one of more than 200 smashed by a mob.
Recent desecrations at a pair of war cemeteries in the country’s northeast are shining an uncomfortable spotlight on the ill will felt by some Libyans for the western backers whose military support helped rebel forces topple Mr. Gadhafi last year.
The attacks occurred more than a week ago but footage posted on YouTube did not begin to be viewed widely until the weekend. In the video, armed men are seen kicking over numerous headstones, at one point singling out one with a star of David on it, and tearing a cross off a war memorial.
Attacked were the Benghazi War Cemetery and the Benghazi British Military Cemetery. The two hold about 1,500 graves and the British Foreign Office reported that up to one-fifth of them had been damaged.
The cemeteries include the remains of Britons, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Indians and others. While it’s unclear if the mob was aware of the specific nationalities of the graves they attacked, a Reuters translation of the voices in the video makes clear this was not random vandalism. (...)