Misurata mourners cry NATO conspiracy
THE university professor's eyes were red-rimmed from sleeplessness as he stood among the mourners. "The barrage wasn't random, it was meant to hit civilians and NATO is doing nothing to help us," he said, to angry growls of assent from men who gathered around.
As he spoke, eight coffins containing the latest victims of the siege of Misurata were carried past to a makeshift cemetery.
"Gaddafi is doing this to show that NATO cannot protect civilians. What is happening is a disaster," Dr Faraj Garman said.
He and hundreds of others had gathered yesterday in the port area of Ghasr Ahmad for a funeral which mixed anger, defiance and gnawing desperation.
Early prayers had not long finished and the besieged city was emerging to its daily wartime routine when the rockets fell without warning.
At least 13 were killed and 25 wounded in heavy salvoes. Between 60 and 80 Grad rockets landed among residential streets. The worst carnage happened as residents and migrant workers joined a long bakery queue for their daily ration of bread.
Each street in Ghasr Ahmad seemed to hold a crater or a house with a hole torn in the walls. Smoke rose from damage to the port's cement factory.
The funeral procession chanted defiance as it left Ghasr Ahmad's Malaita mosque to bury the latest additions to what doctors estimate is already more than 600 dead in Misurata.
"The bloodshed by martyrs will not be in vain!" followed a shout of "Gaddafi, you are digging your grave in Misurata!"
But among the defiance was anger at what many perceive as NATO's unwillingness to stop the attacks.
Conspiracy theories regarding the alliance's intentions are widely shared and believed.
"NATO is playing with us," said one resident.
"They don't care how many die. They are only interested in getting contracts to rebuild our country." (© Daily Telegraph, London)