Omar el Keish decided to bring along an American flag when he recently attended a revolutionary rally in Benghazi, Libya.
The 57-year-old airline pilot waved the big fluttering fabric with both arms, and rallygoers smiled and flashed the V for victory sign at the sight of Old Glory, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"Libyans love America," Keish explained as he cut through a boisterous crowd that numbered in the tens of thousands. "They love the flag because it stands for freedom and democracy — exactly what they want for Libya."
In a region where America is often mistrusted and resented, rebel-held eastern Libya stands out as an island of pro-American sentiment. The ragtag forces that drove out Muammar al-Qaddafi security forces in February credit U.S. and NATO warplanes for rescuing Benghazi from a government counterattack in March.