I wrote a bit yesterday about Qena in Egypt, because I assumed most of my readers were unfamiliar with that small Upper Egyptian city. But compared to other cities in the Arab world which are bleeding far more than Qena, we should also note the suffering martyr cities of Misrata in Libya, and Homs in Syria. I could add Manama in Bahrain, Sana‘a and Ta‘izz in Yemen, and other places, but let's do these two little-known (in the West) cities for now. Of the two I've only been in one (Homs, and that nearly 40 years ago), so this is second hand knowledge.
Misrata (Misurata). Libya's third largest city, after Tripoli and Benghazi, has a district population of somewhat over half a million. See the Wikipedia entry. As everyone knows, its the front line at the moment, being hammered by the regime from air and land while the international coalition is trying to get foreign workers out and hold Qadhafi back. Its early history is spotty and it's not clear if it was founded in the Punic (Cathaginian) or Roman eras, but the name suggests the Semitic word for "East" (compare Mizrah in Hebrew, which was extremely close to Punic), so it may have been something as simple as the "eastern town" compared to Carthage. An older name, something like Thubactis or Tubaqt, is suggested in some sources.
Homs. Syria's third largest city has been the hotbed of protest the past few days. It goes back at least to Seleucid times (see the Wikipedia link), but may be older: it not only lies on the ancient route between Damascus, one of the world's oldest cities, and Aleppo to the north, but is also on the Orontes (‘Asi) River, a key artery. In Hellenistic and Roman times it was known as Emesa, and with the Arab conquests this became (what it probably already was, roughly in Syriac), Hims or Homs. The great general who led the Arabic conquest of Syria, the "Sword of God," Khalid ibn al-Walid, is buried in a mosque in Homs.