The month of October 2011 stands as an historical monument to heroism
and apocalypse in the Libyan desert as the people of Sirte, hometown
to Col. Gaddafi, staged a desperate, doomed fight to protect their
families and homes from the might of ?NATO and its allied bands of
Libyan rebels.

With history all to often written by the victors, the tragic tale of
how unknown thousands of the residents of Sirte, men and women, fought
house to house until the bitter end is the 21st Century?s first saga
of doomed heroism, a tragic historical drama that brings to mind the
Jews of Warsaw, Ireland?s Easter Uprising or the Paris Communardes.

With multiple international news channels carrying 24 hour coverage
the whole world saw a few glimpses of how ruthless the NATO crusade in
Libya was, how nowhere was safe, not hospital, school or apartment
complex. With missiles raining down an apocalypse from the heavens,
night and day, thousands of tons in a few months of high explosive
hell, still, the people of Sirte refused to surrender.

Maybe they knew all to well what their fate would be if they laid down
their arms, for the preceding months had shown just how murderous
their victors were, as town and village alike after falling to the
NATO empowered militias were put to the sword, literally in many
cases.

First the rebels would approach Sirte as close at they dared and fire
armor piercing and high explosive antiaircraft rounds by the tons
worth. 23 mm rounds can penetrate up to 4 inches of armor plating
leaving little protection by concrete walls for Sirtes people.

When the murderous high explosives fire became to much to bear, the
Sirteans would charge out from their homes and bomb shelters and drive
the rebels into a hurried flight, looking all to much like dogs
whipped in a fight, fleeing with their tales between their legs
glancing fearfully over their shoulders.

Then an apocalyptic fire and brimstone would rain down upon their
heads via NATO warplanes circling at 30,000 feet and more Sirtean
heroes would lie burnt or blasted under the fierce Libyan desert sun.
Once, twice, thrice, some ten or more such cycles were repeated with
the dwindling defenders of Sirte retreating to smaller and smaller
neighborhoods.

The week of the final defeat saw one last counter attack, one last
whipped dog scramble for safety by the rebels and one last high
explosive onslaught by NATO in revenge and Sirte lay on the verge of
total destruction.

Then came that last sally forth, what was a successful fighting
retreat until NATO missiles incinerated the column of trucks as they
made their way to freedom breaking through the encirclement of Sirte.

Amongst those who survived NATO?s ?final apocalyptic fury was Col.
Gaddafi himself and his end remains a most horrific documentation of
savagery and barbarism found almost no where else in historical
records

Those Sirtean fighters left behind were rounded up from their homes
and neighborhoods, bound, tortured and shot in their thousands for the
rebels knew no laws of war or protection of prisoners. When the rebels
were finally finished in their murderous orgy of looting and plunder
Sirte remained a ghost town, with only the rats and vultures left,
well fed off the bodies of the unburied dead.

Today, as the Libyan Democratic Party calls for international
peacekeepers to invade and occupy Libya to protect its people from the
former rebel militias turned warlords and bandits, Sirte remains a
monument to NATO, an apocalyptic vision of shell, shot and bomb
blasted ruins. Where thousands of Sirteans remain buried under the
remains of their homes and apartments, hospitals and schools, where
ever they futilely sought shelter from the vengeance of ?NATO hurling
fire and brimstone down upon them from the heavens.

Remember Sirte! every October from now and forever, a tale of heroism
and apocalypse in the Libyan desert.

Thomas C. Mountain is the most widely distributed independent
journalist in Africa, living and reporting from Eritrea since 2006..
In 1987 he was a member of the 1st US Peace Delegation to Libya to
commemorate the first anniversary of the 1986 US bombing of Libya. He
can be reached at thomascmountain at yahoo_dot_com

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