Monday, August 29, 2011

Libyan "Rebels" and the unspoken murders of black men

Right from the beginning of the NATO-supported rebellion in Libya, I have been very skeptical of the propaganda of the whole campaign. I am not talking about the UN-mandate to "protect civilians" when in fact the unmentioned motive was to arm and strengthen the opposition forces in their war against Gaddafi's regime. (I would have thought that Gaddafi was enough of a bad guy that the Western powers and their supporters in the Arab League did not need to lie about their intention to remove the crazy megalomaniac).  But that is not what pisses me off. Rather, it is the concerted effort by the so-called international media to downplay and ignore the violence perpetrated against black people in Libya throughout the entire campaign to remove Gaddafi. To be sure, Gaddafi is a anti-black racist, even though he had to rely on poor, black migrant workers (who for the most part got stuck in Libya on their perilous, trans-Saharan-trans-Mediterranean journey to Europe) to fight his war of survival.
When at the beginning of the rebellion many black people in Libya were killed, harassed and tortured by the rebels and their sympathizers, very little of this news made it to CNN; even when it did, it was as an aside. After all it was a war between the good guys (NATO-supported rebels) and a Bad Guy. Apparently the NATO mandate to protect civilians did not include protecting the black civilians. But that was several months ago.
Then some days ago, after the rebels took Tripoli, grisly pictures of men executed with their hands tied to their back made the news. What was the story? Oh, of course the cruel Gaddafi and his murderous forces had summarily executed rebel "prisoners" just before fleeing his palatial redoubt. So if had anyone doubts about the justification for the rebellion and the NATO bombings, there was it! Just that freedom came too late for the murdered men.
Except that looking at many of the bodies, you could not mistake their blackness, the fact that these were more than likely members of Gaddafi's mercenary army we heard so much about but saw little of before now. So who killed them? Gaddafi that either paid or forced them to take up arms in defense of his regime? Did any journalist ask why on earth Gaddafi--who is still on the run and thus needs all the protection he could get for himself and his family suddenly--decided to bind and execute his mercenary protectors?Or is the media too willing to buy to story that these were deserters killed by the regime?
Mercenary soldiers captured by Libyan rebels (Photo: from
Even the Human Rights Watch mealy-mouthed and equivocated in the face of evidence so obvious. While they were quick to announce that Gaddafi murdered scores of rebel prisoners, they were conveniently still studying allegations of murders and human rights violation by the rebels. What about the news networks, and NATO's people? Have they as much as expressed anxiety (much less anger) about the fact that the Libyan rebels clearly rounded up the "despicable" black mercenaries captured in the battle of Tripoli and executed them? No. Surely they must be part of collateral damage no one, except the spineless African Union, can speak for.

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