by Robin Wright – this tribute appeared on Facebook this morning.
The death of Chris Stevens is a travesty. He represented the very best of American diplomacy. He knew the streets, not just the elites. He had an infectious enthusiasm about the extraordinary history playing out across the Middle East, which he witnessed up close.
He got it. He spoke the language and knew the culture. He never flinched even slightly about the dangers—whether serving in a country when Qaddafi was in power, or heading the US office in Benghazi during Libya’s uprising, or going back to become ambassador during a difficult transition. The United States has lost an incredible envoy. And I have lost a wonderful friend.
He was also one of the sweetest and funniest people I’ve ever known. I was at his swearing-in ceremony at the State Department this spring and, with a great smile on his face, he urged me to visit Libya. “It’s fascinating,” he said. We’d been in email contact just last week because I was making plans to visit Libya next month. I’m just sick. What a loss for his wonderful family and the nation. And, frankly, the Libyan people too.
NOTE: Robin Wright is a highly respected Middle East expert who covered the region for CBS News and the LATimes. She is the author of Rock the Casbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World, e author The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran, Dreams and Shadows: The Future of the Middle East, Flashpoints: Promise and Peril in a New World, In the Name of God: Khomeini Decade, Sacred Rage: The Crusade of Modern Islam
AP Photo of Chris Stevens by Ben Curtis