There is no question that Muslim suicide bombers believe very deeply in something. Their belief is strong enough that they chose to strap on explosives and kill themselves and many others. This is terrorism. Creating fear and terror in others to get what you want. Ben Wedeman straps on his camera and terrorizes without putting any lives in danger but his own, and does it for no other reason then his deep belief in freedom and democracy. Killing others in the name of freedom or religion has never worked at converting non-believers. The real terrorist is a reporter and his crew; and his name is Ben Wedeman.
Wedeman, a senior correspondent for CNN, is my hero. Ben and his crew got in their vehicles and drove from Tahrir Square in Egypt to eastern Libya. No knock on Anderson Cooper – just keeping him honest – but Anderson left Egypt as soon as he could after being bumped around.
Ben Wedeman stayed. And so did many others. Egypt is an ally of the United States, and other than a few Egyptians during a 48-hour period of time, all were thrilled to see the world wide media covering their revolution and shift towards freedom and democracy.
Libya, on the other hand, is a whole other situation. Being an American news team entering the side door of a country, where the ruler, Moammar Gadhafi, calls them “outlaws” and would kill them in a second just to make the point that foreigners are among us and the cause of the unrest, puts this group of reporters at the pinnacle of freedom and liberty worldwide. I am certain CNN doesn’t pay anyone enough money to commit suicide. No, Wedeman and those beside him are the heroes of all humanity. Putting their lives on the line for the freedom of others around the world. These are the real suicide bombers. These are the real terrorists. The greatest weapon of mass destruction is freedom of speech and expression–those who oppose it, are terrorized by its very notion.
If nothing else, humankind is the story of each of us, our relationships, and our choices. That is History.
You can’t make people have freedom. It hasn’t worked anywhere ever. Humans will naturally find their way toward being in control of their own lives and wanting freedom to grow and make choices. Individuals putting their lives in jeopardy so that others can be free, is the greatest sacrifice any person can make for the future of humanity. I have the highest respect for all who have served in the military and fought or died in battle for my freedom. But our warriors have weapons and defense systems and a lot of comrades next to them. Wedeman and other reporters who smuggled into Libya during this revolution with nothing but a camera are alone, with only the hope that whoever they encounter won’t kill them. They hold my greatest admiration. Egyptians, Libyans and Venezuelans are there on the ground as citizens fighting for their dignity and lives. The heroes I’m talking about came from thousands of miles away to die so that others might have the same rights as they already freely enjoy. Wow, we should be naming our children Ben for years to come.
NBC New’s chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel had a dateline of Tobruk (a city in eastern Libya) next to his name, while others reported from Valletta, Malta, and Ankara, Turkey.