Friday, September 09, 2011

NATO’s Glorious Race War in Libya



By Glen Ford
Now that NATO has demonstrated that a gang of the world’s richest nations, who collectively account for 70 percent of the planetary arms budget, can indeed, after six months and 20,000 aerial sorties, blast their way into the capital city of a developing country of six million people – that is, now that the imperial mission is no longer seen to be at jeopardy – the corporate media are at last willing to acknowledge the racial aspects of the Libyan conflict. As long as the outcome remained uncertain, western correspondents, who had swarmed the rebels like shameless paparazzi since the armed outbreak began in Benghazi in late February, pretended not to notice that their heroes were behaving like rampaging Ku Klux Klansmen. Just as the western press were full partners in NATO’s war against the Libyan government, so too were they accomplices in the ethnic cleansing that by early March had already killed many hundreds of sub-Saharan Africans and black Libyans in rebel-held territory – facts that were known to information outlets all over the world, but largely blacked-out in corporate media reports from Benghazi.


How could well-financed correspondents for The New York Times and theWashington Post have been unaware of that which was known to NPR’s West African reporter Ofeibea Quist Acton: that a Benghazi mob had hacked to death 70 to 80 Chadian and Sudanese oil company workers in a single incident – a major massacre in a medium-sized town. African media were alive with reports from the 1.5 million Black immigrant workers in Libya of mass killings, gruesome public lynchings, savage burnings, and organized rapes. But it was as if the western media were encamped in a different Benghazi, one filled with well-mannered lawyers and students forced by events to become militia, whose hatred of Moammar Gaddafi was manifest proof of their virtue. Like little D.W. Griffiths, the producers and reporters for the Times, the Post, CNN and the whole corporate alphabet soup each day directed their own mini-versions of “Birth of a Nation,” in which the local racist mobs are the good guys and the villains are dark, sub-Saharan “mercenaries” and Viagra-inflamed government soldiers – both grave threats to Arab womanhood, and both mostly figments of western media imaginations.
Their mission was ethnic cleansing, through terror and on-the-spot executions of darker-skinned people, including fellow Libyans.”
Either the Benghazi-based rebels are really Libya’s equivalent of the Confederacy, or the western press brought with them into North Africa an abiding sympathy for Dixie. At any rate, it was clear which Libyan side was, relatively speaking, “white” – or at least aspiring to be so. As honorary (or acting) whites, the rebels were entitled to understanding and empathy, even as it became undeniable that their mission was ethnic cleansing, through terror and on-the-spot executions of darker-skinned people, including fellow Libyans. From the early days of the rebellion to the present, western media attempted to justify rebel anti-black bigotry and brutishness as a natural reaction to Gaddafi’s use of sub-Saharans as mercenaries. The black mercenary is deployed as the great justifier for rebel racism, just as the ubiquitous black rapists of the American South were what supposedly drove whites to “excesses” of violence. Of course, rapes of southern (or northern) white women by blacks were exceedingly rare, and genuine black mercenaries were not in evidence at all in eastern Libya, according to international investigators. But the idiots of CNN et al still endlessly chatter about black mercs, to put into “context” the horrors perpetrated on blacks in Tripoli under rebel occupation: 30 dark-skinned men taken from hospital beds and ambulances, and shot, their bodies dumped on a beach; daily disappearances and kidnappings of blacks trapped in city neighborhoods; Arab gangs invading African worker encampments bent on raping women; hundreds of black Africans held incommunicado as suspected mercenaries, hundreds more acknowledged immigrant workers imprisoned, even as low level Arab Gaddafi supporters are set free.
Six months of the most intense western media attention – don’t dare call it “reporting” – have succeeded in transforming a purely theoretical, factually nonexistent government military massacre in Benghazi into a cause for actual mass murder of Libyan soldiers and civilians, destruction of the national infrastructure, and regime change. Whether the rebels, who are heavily weighted with jihadis, realize it or not, their country is on the path to become an international protectorate – a kind of Haiti-hood.
The International Criminal Court – which resembles the first Black cops in the Deep South, who were only allowed to arrest other Blacks – issued an arrest warrant against Col. Gaddafi and sons on charges of suppressing demonstrators. By magnitude of the alleged crimes, Gaddafi’s offenses rank as relatively minor occurrences on a world, continental or regional scale. (Only about 110 people died in Benghazi during the brief, “peaceful” phase of protest, many of them government supporters, according to Amnesty International.) However, the ICC will prosecute no one for the Libyan crime that best suits the Court’s mandate: the rebel’s murderous pattern of ethnic cleansing; the persecution, displacement and killing of citizens and immigrants based on the color of their skin.
By magnitude of the alleged crimes, Gaddafi’s offenses rank as relatively minor occurrences on a world, continental or regional scale.”
Word of massacres filters out of the mostly Black city of Tawurgha, captured a few weeks before Tripoli’s doors were blasted open by NATO. The rebel unit that laid siege to the town was based in nearby Misrata, and called itself the brigade “for purging slaves, black skin.” Many of Tawurgha’s inhabitants are descendants of slaves who were once sold in the town market – thus, the rebel slogan virtually demands an ICC indictment for ethnic cleansing. But don’t hold your breath.
When rebels captured Tripoli’s Abu Salim Hospital, they took away a wounded black man from Tawurgha. According to Amnesty International observers, the rebels said they would interrogate the wounded man in Misrata, because the rebels in Tripoli “let killers [go] free.” Two other black Libyan patients were told “their turn was coming.”
It is estimated that up to one-third of Libya’s population is black, a highly subjective assessment. What is certain is that the population gets darker as one moves south. Ismail al-Salabi, an Islamist rebel military commander who wants to purge much of the National Transitional Council, is anxious to get on with the total conquest of the country. “We still have Sabha and then Jufra," said al-Salabi, referring to the largely black towns.
Racial pogroms, massacres and ethnic cleansing are on Libya’s immediate agenda, thanks to the civilizing influence of NATO, AFRICOM, and the First Black President of the U.S.A. – with a little inspiration from D.W. Griffith.

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