NEW YORK: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Monday urged the world to come together to thwart extremists “working hard to drive us apart,” as she praised the Libyan people for standing up against armed militias.
“All of us need to stand together to resist these forces and to support the democratic transitions under way in North Africa and the Middle East,” Clinton said at a meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative.
She hailed the example set by the people of Benghazi, in Libya, who Friday drove militants from the city blamed for a Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission there in which ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
“The people of the Arab world did not set out to trade the tyranny of a dictator for the tyranny of a mob. There is no dignity in that,” Clinton told the high-powered gathering of the foundation set up by her husband, former President Bill Clinton.
“The people of Benghazi sent this message loudly and clearly Friday when they forcefully rejected the extremists in their midst and reclaimed the honor and dignity of a courageous city.”
“In the streets, they mourned the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, a friend and champion of a free Libya, and his fallen comrades.”
Clinton vowed Libya and its people “are not alone. People and leaders from across the region and beyond have spoken out in recent days against violence and hate.”
“Unity on this throughout the international community is crucial because extremists around the world are working hard to drive us apart.”
A wave of unrest has spread around the world, triggered by an anti-Islam film produced by American Egyptian Nakoula Basseley, which Muslims have denounced as denigrating their religion.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Clinton have denounced the film “Innocence of Muslims” but stressed repeatedly that there is no justification for violence.
“If you look around the world today, countries that are focused more on fostering growth than fomenting grievance are racing ahead. Building schools instead of burning them,” Clinton told the meeting in a luxury New York hotel.
“Investing in their people’s creativity, not inciting their rage. Opening their economies and societies to have more connections with the wider world, not shutting off the Internet or attacking embassies.”