The video and audio telling the story of Libya

Piecing together events.

Human Rights Watch now says that at least 104 people have been killed in Libya since last Wednesday when protests against Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year rule broke out. But with few journalists on the ground – foreign reporters are officially banned – piecing together what is happening is not easy. Filling the void are amateur video and eyewitness accounts from Libyans prepared to speak out.

Some of the most dramatic video is that featured in this ITN package (and seen elsewhere), which appears to show mercenaries in yellow hard hats opening fire on protesters in the eastern city of Benghazi.


The Arabic news channel al-Jazeera has what it claims is exclusive (but again, amateur) footage, including the apparent capture of a mercenary hired by the Libyan regime to attack demonstrators. Disturbingly, it also has film from inside a hospital morgue.


Meanwhile, the BBC is currently running further amateur film of protesters in Benghazi, reportedly taken on Friday.

The Feb 17 voices Twitter feed is carrying some eyewitness accounts in audio, including this one, titled: "Can you hear the gunfire in the background?"


Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

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An alternative Trainspotting script for John Humphrys’ Radio 4 “Choose Life” tribute

Born chippy.

Your mole often has Radio 4’s Today programme babbling away comfortingly in the background while emerging blinking from the burrow. So imagine its horror this morning, when the BBC decided to sully this listening experience with John Humphrys doing the “Choose Life” monologue from Trainspotting.

“I chose not to choose life: I chose something else. And the reasons? There are no reasons. Who needs reasons when you’ve got Radio 4?” he concluded, as a nation cringed.

Introduced as someone who has “taken issue with modernity”, Humphrys launched into the film character Renton’s iconic rant against the banality of modern life.

But Humphrys’ role as in-studio curmudgeon is neither endearing nor amusing to this mole. Often tasked with stories about modern technology and digital culture by supposedly mischievous editors, Humphrys sounds increasingly cranky and ill-informed. It doesn’t exactly make for enlightening interviews. So your mole has tampered with the script. Here’s what he should have said:

“Choose life. Choose a job and then never retire, ever. Choose a career defined by growling and scoffing. Choose crashing the pips three mornings out of five. Choose a fucking long contract. Choose interrupting your co-hosts, politicians, religious leaders and children. Choose sitting across the desk from Justin Webb at 7.20 wondering what you’re doing with your life. Choose confusion about why Thought for the Day is still a thing. Choose hogging political interviews. Choose anxiety about whether Jim Naughtie’s departure means there’s dwindling demand for grouchy old men on flagship political radio shows. Choose a staunch commitment to misunderstanding stories about video games and emoji. Choose doing those stories anyway. Choose turning on the radio and wondering why the fuck you aren’t on on a Sunday morning as well. Choose sitting on that black leather chair hosting mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows (Mastermind). Choose going over time at the end of it all, pishing your last few seconds on needlessly combative questions, nothing more than an obstacle to that day’s editors being credited. Choose your future. Choose life . . .”

I'm a mole, innit.