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Race and Arab Nationalism in Libya

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    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    Although a reawakened Arab nationalism “represents a catastrophe for U.S. imperialism,” the conflict in Libya dramatically exposes an “endemic” racism in the North African Maghreb. This racism “is not just against other Africans, meaning non-Libyan Africans, but also within Libya itself." Its manifestations are immediately recognizable to African Americans.

     

    Race and Arab Nationalism in Libya

    by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

    The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves.”

    U.S. corporate media are sure about certain things in Libya, and admit total ignorance of others – which makes for an uninspiring mix. They are sure that Muamar Khadafi is hated by the vast majority of the Libyan people, whose sentiments, the western media all but unanimously believe, are expressed by the “rebels” that have taken Benghazi and other major cities. These same media, including correspondents that spend literally all their waking moments chronicling the rebels’ every move and utterance, have no inkling of the politics that animates these people, beyond opposition to the regime and an undeniable Arab and Libyan nationalism.

    What has become apparent from reports filtering out of the country is that many of the 1.5 million black African migrant workers trapped in Libya feel themselves under racial siege, hunted by what Black Americans would immediately recognize as lynch mobs – “pogrom” is another word that springs to mind – especially in the rebel-held areas.

    The testimony of black African victims is most disturbing. "We were being attacked by local people who said that we were mercenaries killing people. Let me say that they did not want to see black people," 60-year-old Julius Kiluu, an African building supervisor, told Reuters. Even in Tripoli, where the regime is not in full control of neighborhoods, Somalis told journalists they were “being hunted on suspicion of being mercenaries” and “feel trapped and frightened to go out.” Ethiopians told of being “dragged from their apartments, beaten up and showed to the world as mercenaries.” Ethiopian News and Opinions reported that “Muammar Gadhafi haters are taking revenge on black Africans for money Gadhafi threw for many African dictators. The mob attacked and killed many Africans including Ethiopians for being only black.”

    Black African migrant workers trapped in Libya feel themselves under racial siege, hunted by what Black Americans would immediately recognize as lynch mobs.”

    A Turkish oil worker told National Public Radio’s West African reporter Ofeibea Quist Arcton:

    We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies. We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you're providing troops for Gadhafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves.”

    An Associated Press report described 20 men held as “mercenaries” in a Benghazi jail cell, “looking disheveled and frightened.” Outside, “three effigies were hanging from lampposts and flagpoles – all depicting mercenaries.” A spokesman for the local rebel organizing committee said, “If people knew they were up there, they would tear down the door." He was clearly describing a lynch mob. But these men were “simply ordinary African workers who got caught up in the middle of this chaos," according to to Peter Bouckaert of Human Rights Watch, who met with them.

    A Time Magazine story described videos that

    “…show the bodies of several dead, black African men killed by the protestors, including the corpses of two men being paraded on the hood of a car and driven through a crowd of demonstrators in al-Baida. Another video shows a black African man, who has been caught by the demonstrators, being hit and punched. A protestor asks: ‘Who is giving you orders?’ The man replies: ‘They come from up high. I swear, I swear...orders, orders.’ The protestor asks: ‘They told you to fire at us?’ The man replies: ‘Yes, yes.’"

    But a man calling himself Fazzani told France 24 International News:

    I am very sorry to see these clips. One of the guys in the seen [sic] is black Libyan ‘not from other African countries.’ His family lives in EL Mansoura village in Elwadi shatty district about 200 KM from Borack Ashhati. (Borack AL Shatty is about 700KM south of Tripoli). I have not got permission to put his name here. Hope his family will see this and they will clarify.”

    Fazzani described himself as a “Disappointed Black Libyan.” He added a “few facts” of Libyan life:

    Most of the residents of Fezzan (Southern part of Libya) are black skinned. Try to find photo of Libyan Embassordor [sic] to UN Mr Abdelrahman Shalgam (Is he mercenary?) Try to see photo of Top man of Gaddafi's Information office director (Bashir Saleh), he is more dark skinned than Nelson Mandela, does that mean he is a mercenary from Africa? I am not trying to be a racist but just to clarify few facts.”

    Racially motivated lynch mobs all act alike.”

    Any American – any Black American – can recognize the pattern of racial lynch law that treats all black Africans as alien, potential enemies. Racially motivated lynch mobs all act alike. Libyan Arab mobs can no more be defended as acting upon special, exigent circumstances (the mercenary “threat”) than their American counterparts, who always had a ready excuse for their gruesome predations (Black crime, lust for white women, theft of white jobs, whatever).

    The Christian Science Monitor, in typical obfuscatory fashion, manages to convey useful information under a largely misleading headline: “How Qaddafi Helped Fuel Fury Towards Africans in Libya.”

    I think that there are levels of racism within Libyan society that are quite problematic. But racism is not just against other Africans, meaning non-Libyan Africans, but also within Libya itself," Na'eem Jeenah, executive director of the Afro-Middle East Centre in Johannesburg, South Africa, told CSM. Another Johannesburg-based researcher, Issaka Souare, says that Libyans (presumably, those who are lighter-skinned) may perceive Qaddafi as favoring the darker-skinned (and less developed) south of the country, and resent his self-proclaimed “Pan-Africanism.” Such sentiments are familiar to Black American ears, echoes of U.S. whites with the words “reverse racism” dripping from their twisted lips.

    Hussein Zachariah, a metal worker for a Turkish construction company, told of traveling by car with another Ghanaian and two Chadians to the Egyptian border, after an anti-Khadafi mob burned their migrant compound and all their belongings. The Chadians were forced out of the vehicle at an opposition roadblock, while the Ghanaians were allowed to continue their exit. Many Libyans, CSM explained, resent people from Chad because “Qaddafi has a known history of lavishing the nation's wealth to build connections” with leaders of his southern neighbor. The fate of Mr. Zachariah’s Chadian co-workers is unknown. Hopefully, it was not the same as the “70 or 80” Chadian employees of a Turkish construction company whose slaughter was recounted to National Public Radio’s Ofeibea Quist Arcton.

    He was often pelted with rocks and called a ‘slave’ by Libyans on the streets during his three years working in Benghazi.”

    Like virtually all black African migrants, Zachariah says he was often pelted with rocks and called a “slave” by Libyans on the streets during his three years working in Benghazi. The Arabic term is “abd,” which means one who is subordinated, a servant or slave, but is deployed with the same contempt as “nigger” in the mouths of American racists. Khadafi’s “mercenaries” are no more to blame for Libya’s latest paroxysm of anti-black violence than African American boxer Jack Johnson was responsible for the outbreak of deadly white riots after Johnson beat the Great White Hope, James Jeffries, in 1910. The underlying cause was racism, not the immediate event. Anti-black African riots claimed at least 150 lives in Libya in 2000, with no marauding black “mercenaries” as an excuse.

    Col. Khadafi has also played the “race card” in efforts to forestall European intervention in the Libyan conflict – the same tactic he used to cement business and diplomatic ties on the other side of the Mediterranean. As the Huffington Post reported, March 3:

    In his speech, Gadhafi lashed out against the freezing of his and other Libyan assets abroad and efforts by Europe to send aid to opposition-held Benghazi. In a pointed message to Europe, he warned, ‘There will be no stability in the Mediterranean if there is no stability in Libya.’

    "’Africans will march to Europe without anyone to stop them. The Mediterranean will become a center for piracy like Somalia,’ he said. Gadhafi's regime has worked closely with Italy and other European countries to stop African migrants who use Libya as a launching point to slip into Europe.”

    The Mediterranean will become a center for piracy like Somalia,” Col. Khadafi said.”

    The Arab re-awakening, as I recently remarked, “will be plagued by fits and starts and disappointments and tragedies – but it cannot be rolled back.” In the turmoil, what is also re-awakened – or never really dormant – is a “problematic” form of anti-black racism that appears, at least in some parts of the North African Maghreb, endemic and woven into the fabric of Arab nationalism.

    The (re)emergence of Arab nationalism nevertheless represents a catastrophe for U.S. imperialism, which abhors all nationalisms except its own as it seeks to bend every national aspiration to the will of capital and its war machinery. However, the racism that is clearly manifest in Libya’s current dynamic is also a huge impediment to pan-African solidarity, inviting new waves of imperial mischief on the continent. On that score, we should have no illusions.

    BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.

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    @Mulligan -- Farrakhan Scolds Obama On Libya & Mid-East Policy

    Farrakhan advises Obama on Libya policy, proper guidance for America

    By Ashahed M. Muhammad -Asst. Editor- | Last updated: Mar 15, 2011 - 9:02:10 PM

    CHICAGO (FinalCall.com) - In his first interview since the successful Nation of Islam Saviours' Day 2011 convention, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan sat down in the studio with popular radio host and long-time friend Cliff Kelley on WVON-AM 1690 for a two and a half hour conversation.

    http://www.finalcall.com/artman/publish/National_News_2/article_7657.shtml

    [Snippet]

    Then the subject of Libya was raised. When the western media began reporting on Libya, Feb. 15, it seemed as if it was a foregone conclusion that Col. Muammar Gadhafi would be ousted in the country he has led for over 42 years. Now, nearly a month later, he remains in power.

    On Mar. 12, the Arab League agreed on asking the United Nations to impose a no-fly zone over Libya, days earlier, the African Union voted against it.

    Al-Arabiya reported Mar. 13 U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Paris to sit down with Foreign Ministers from Russian, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan. A no-fly zone plan is reportedly being presented to NATO on Mar. 13, according to Secy. Clinton.

    It is no secret that the Nation of Islam and Minister Farrakhan have enjoyed a mutually beneficial relationship with the Libyan leader for decades. The United States has long opposed Col. Gadhafi and attempted to force him out of office even bombing his country during the Reagan administration, Min. Farrakhan noted.

    The Minister blasted President Obama and Secy. Clinton for their arrogance in meddling in another sovereign nation's affairs and publicly recommending regime change.

    Min. Farrakhan instructed Americans to look beneath the surface to see who stands to benefit from the unrest, and warned Pres. Obama to be careful of the words coming from advisors lobbying him to move in with military forces to depose Col. Gadhafi.

    “Well, today our dear brother (Obama) has to be very, very careful in this decision that he and his Secretary of State, and [French President Nicolas] Sarkozy and [British] Prime Minister [David] Cameron and others are planning. They would love to go into Libya and kill Brother Gadhafi, and kill his children as they did with Saddam Hussein and his sons, Qusay and Uday. You must remember, dear people of America, that whenever government wants you to think and act in a certain way that would bring justification to an action that they are already planning to make, they must make the person that they hate a ‘boogey man,' ” he said. Col. Gadhafi, who led a bloodless coup against a U.S. ally over 40 years ago, has seen constant negative publicity and was once called the “Mad Dog of the Middle East” by American leaders and analysts.

    People unhappy with government are not solely in Libya, he pointed out. Many are unhappy with Mr. Obama, he said.

    The U.S. government has a long history of deposing leaders of other nations in order to get natural resources, more specifically—oil, he continued, saying the imperialistic forces are not interested in saving those being killed, it is just a “noble motive to hide your (the U.S. government's) wicked agenda!”

    “When George W. Bush was president, he said they wanted regime change in Iran, in (North) Korea regime change—how do you get regime change America? How do you do that? Congress, the Congress of the United States, voted to spend $150 million to replace the government in Iran that America doesn't like, so they send their agents in to work among the dissatisfied. So when they had this election, and the people in Iran rose up, they have legitimate grievances, all right—but stimulated from the outside,” Minister Farrakhan continued. “Well, what about Libya? How much money is being spent to arm the so-called rebels? They're dissatisfied! Well, what is their dissatisfaction about? Do they (Libyans) have jobs? Yes. Do they have food? Yes. Has Gadhafi used the oil money to build Libya? Yes. Did Gadhafi use oil money and discover water under the Sahara Desert, and brought that water to the surface; and brought water from Benghazi all the way to the border almost of Tunisia? Did he impose farming in the desert so that they could feed their own people? Yes. Are there billions of dollars that he's spending building homes, building apartments for his people? Yes. So something is under this!” said Min. Farrakhan.

    “Is it that you're (U.S. officials) so concerned over the blood that is being shed in Libya, when you looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force was bombing the innocent people of Gaza, unarmed men, women and children? … You looked the other way when the Israeli Defense Force went into Lebanon thinking that they were going to have an easy victory, then you had to come out with your tail between your legs?”

    Min. Farrakhan said Col. Gadhafi has been investing money in Africa, enjoys international friendship, and should not be killed simply because he is not America's friend.

    “Now, I want to warn you, in the Name of Allah, that this is more complex than what you think! Go into Libya if you want to. The Libyans do not want foreign occupation on their land. And when you make that kind of move, if you're not careful, you'll unite the Libyan people against you!”

    Inside America members of the Branch Davidian religious sect were killed in 1993 in Waco, Texas, by federal law enforcement, while men, women and children of the MOVE organization were killed when police bombed their home during a 1985 standoff in Philadelphia, he said. Current American outrage is nothing but hypocrisy, the Minister said.

    To President Obama, Minister Farrakhan delivered a pointed warning: “Don't let these wicked demons move you in a direction that will absolutely ruin your future with your people in Africa and throughout the world. They don't like the way you handled (former Egyptian President Hosni) Mubarak! They don't like the way you're handling the situation in the Arab world! So I would advise you to be careful—and move with wisdom and skill.

    And then, Min. Farrakhan offered Pres. Obama some divine advice.

    “Why don't you organize a group of respected Americans, and ask for a meeting with Gadhafi? You can't order him to step down, and get out—who the hell do you think you are, that you can talk to a man that built a country over 42 years, and ask him step down and get out? Can anybody ask you? Well, well there's a lot, now, [that are] going to ask you to step out of the White House, because they don't want a Black face in the White House,” said Min. Farrakhan.

    “Be careful, brother, how you handle this situation because it is coming to America! It has already started. Look in Wisconsin! Look in Ohio! Look at what's going on in your country! And remember your words because the American people are rising against their own government: It's not Muslims; it's not Black people! It's White militias that are angry with their government, and they are well armed. Are you going to tell them—‘Put your arms down, and let's talk it over peacefully?' I hope so. But if not, America will be bathed in blood, not because Farrakhan said so, but because the dissatisfaction in America has reached the boiling point. Be careful how you manipulate the dissatisfaction in Libya and other parts of the Muslim world,” he warned.

    World Crisis Radio

    Webster Tarpley breaking the crisis in Libya, and in the world really:

    http://tarpley.net/world-crisis-radio/

    Gunning For Libyan Oil -

    Obama's Bay Of Pig's Moment Coming To A Theatre Near You!

    Thanks 4 this Glen Ford,,, I will be passing this around. I'll add that the U.S. backed "freedom fighter's" are also slaughtering Black African immigrants while flying the Pan-African Garvey and Biafran flag:

    http://www.united-states-flag.com/world-libya.html?gclid=CNSyw9-czacCFYE...

    http://www.nairaland.com/nigeria/topic-618743.0.html

    I also have some fun facts about the despotic tyranny of Muammar Gaddafi:

    Libya is ranked #54 on the Human Development Index

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Human_Development_Index

    Libya is ranked #1 in the whole of Africa:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African_countries_by_Human_Developm...

    IN AFRICA, YOU ARE MORE LIKELY TO LIVE TO A RIPE OLD AGE IN LIBYA:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Life_expectancy

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy

    Complex situation militates against simplistic analyses

    Courtesy of Pepe Escobar at Asiatimes.com

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/MC09Ak01.html 

     

    There's no question Gaddafi and his gang are practicing "human-rights abuses" in Libya. But what about those tens of thousands killed by the Pentagon from Baghdad to Fallujah and beyond? Were they inhuman, and holders of no rights, by any chance?

    Moreover, the same enlightened West that's now so worried about the people of Libya did not give much of a damn to the people of Egypt until it was absolutely certain that Mubarakism was gone. (Gaddafi by the way was perfectly aligned with Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi in the early days of Tahrir Square).

    While he was servicing the masters, the walking terrorist freak show with his portable tent and Ukrainian nurses could not be a better friend. He merrily embraced neo-liberalism; he opened up the energy holy grail to European corporations (BP, Repsol, Total, ENI); he lavishly bought their weapons (Italy, France, UK and Germany were the top four providers); he got the US$70 billion of the Libyan Investment Authority to prop up European businesses; and most of all he put a lid over the migratory flux from the Maghreb and black Africa towards Europe.

    And what about then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice in 2008 extolling the US and Libya's permanent shared interests, including "human rights and democracy"?

    The problem now is that the West is simply clueless on what post-Gaddafi Libya could turn out to be. The "rebels" include everyone from progressive, secular intellectuals to hardcore Islamists and neo-liberal-addicted businessmen. Libya is not Tunisia or Egypt - which can be monitored and even relatively tamed by Washington/Brussels.

    Libya without Gaddafi could be a complex collection of clannish tribes with no experience of Western-style political culture slouching towards "anarchy". Thus the reasoning for a NATO intervention; so "we", the enlightened, can control those barbarians' worst impulses, facilitate an "orderly transition" (US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, anyone?) and profit from their energy wealth. Besides, the Mediterranean is a NATO lake already.  

    Courtesy of Webster G. Tarpley over at Tarpley.net

    FEBRUARY 18th, 2011

    Not Dependent Enough: Why the CIA Wants to Overthrow the Existing Arab Rulers

    The goal of these operations is to remove entrenched client rulers who have been in power so long that they have acquired a significant degree of autonomy vis-à-vis the imperial dictates coming from Washington and London, and have grown accustomed to acting to some degree as national rulers, rather than as the pure puppets the CIA and the State Department are always seeking. The Washington consensus is that these multi-decade rulers are not dependent enough on NATO, the International Monetary Fund, and so forth. Washington and London need total kamikaze puppets, who will be willing to take the point in coming confrontations with Iran, China, and Russia.

    One US hypothesis for the future of Egypt is simply a continuation of the existing regime, largely based on the Army, the state bureaucracy, and the security forces, and led by military officers in civilian clothes. But in this case the rulers would be the Suliemans, the Tantawis, or the Annans, or perhaps the Baradeis or Moussas, all much weaker figures than Mubarak. Another possibility is a period of chaos — such as what is happening right now in Tunisia — followed by a seizure of power on the part of the Moslem brotherhood, leading to the creation of a de facto Cairo Sunni caliphate which the US could use to challenge (and consolidate) the de facto Shiite caliphate in Tehran. Both of these alternatives could then be used to support the fundamental US-UK strategy for the Middle East, which is to assemble a block of Arab and Sunni countries (notably Egypt, Saudis, Gulf states, and Jordan) which, formed into a front with the participation of Israel, would collide with the Iranian Shiite front, including Syria, Hezbollah, Hamas, and various radical forces. Another possibility is that Egypt and many other countries simply descend into chaos, leaving the imperialists the possibility of intervening to seize selected assets, such as the Algerian or Libyan oil fields, or Egypt’s Suez Canal.

    That makes no sense. Was the

    That makes no sense. Was the fruit peddler in Tunisia a CIA agent as well.  The uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt were clear popular uprisings and the uprising in Libya seems to be a mixed bag. Gadaffi is a complicated person. He overthrew the Libyan monarchy and nationalized the Libyan oil industry and has been a target of U.S. imperialism for years. However, he also supported the Muhajedeen in Afghanistan and during the last few years he has mended fences with the West. He participated in the Extraordinary Renditon program and the War on Terror.

    mulligas

    JANUARY 16TH 2011

    Tunisian Wikileaks Putsch: CIA Touts Mediterranean Tsunami of Coups; Libya, Egypt, Syria, Algeria, Jordan, Italy All Targeted; US-UK Want New Puppets to Play Against Iran, China, Russia; Obama Retainers Cass Sunstein, Samantha Power, Robert Malley, International Crisis Group Implicated in Destabilizations

    By Webster G. Tarpley

    http://tarpley.net/2011/01/16/tunisian-wikileaks-putsch/

    JANUARY 20TH 2011

    Nihilists of The World Unite: Wikileaks Is The "Cognitive Infiltration" Operation Demanded by Cass Sunstein

    Webster G. Tarpley

    http://tarpley.net/2011/01/20/wikileaks-cognitive-infiltration-operation/

    seriously

    We kill 140K + Iraqis and hide behind this mantra of "freedom fighting" and no one is held accountable. George W. Bush started a war that not only destroyed Iraq's economy... it destroyed our own by wasting BILLIONS of dollars on something that only benefited him and his oil cronies. This still disgusts me on a daily basis. — Tyrone

    LIBYA

    So where does this sudden uprising (in Libya) come from? The answer is that the same groups the US has been funding for decades are now taking their chance to gain control over the nation. A group recently arrested in Libya consisted of dozens of foreign nationals that were involved in numerous acts of looting and sabotage. The Libyan government could not rule out links to Israel.

    Great Britain funded an Al Qaeda cell in Libya, in an attempt to assassinate Gadaffi. The main opposition group in Libya now is the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. This opposition group is being funded by Saudi Arabia, the CIA, and French Intelligence. This group unified itself with other opposition groups, to become the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition. It was this organization that called for the "Day of Rage" that plunged Libya into chaos on February 17 of this year.

    It did this in Benghazi, a conservative city that has always been opposed to Gadaffi's rule. It should be noted that the National Front for the Salvation of Libya is well armed. In 1996 the group tried to unleash a revolution in the eastern part of Libya before. It used the Libyan National Army, the armed division of the NFSL to begin this failed uprising.

    Why is the United States so opposed to Gadaffi? He is the main threat to US hegemony in Africa, because he attempts to unite the continent against the United States. This concept is called the United States of Africa. In fact, Gadaffi holds all sorts of ideas that are contrary to US interests. The man blames the United States government for the creation of HIV. He claims that Israel is behind the assassination of Martin Luther King and president John. F. Kennedy. He says that the 9/11 hijackers were trained in the US. He also urged Libyans to donate blood to Americans after 9/11. Khadaffi is also the last of a generation of moderate socialist pan-Arab revolutionaries that is still in power, after Nasser and Hussein have been eliminated, and Syria has aligned itself with Iran.

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