Lynch Law and Summary Executions in Rebel-Held Libya


by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

The world’s most imperial-dependent, ill-disciplined and whining ‘liberation movement’ is still blaming black ‘mercenaries’ and soldiers from Chad for its failures in the field.” Chad, meanwhile, has officially asked the “international coalition” to protect its civilians from the rebels, who have executed “dozens” of Chadian migrant workers. In rebel-held Libya, black Africans and Gaddafi supporters are the people in need of protection.

Lynch Law and Summary Executions in Rebel-Held Libya

by BAR executive editor Glen Ford

Dozens of Chadians have been ‘singled out’ and ‘executed,’ falsely accused of acting as mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to Chad.”

The African nation of Chad has called on Libya’s Euro-American “humanitarian” overseers to protect Chadian citizens from lynching at the hands of rebels backed by the West. The government in N’Djamena, which certainly has no interest in antagonizing the Euro-American juggernaut that has assumed a “responsibility to protect” whomever it designates as “civilians” in the territory of its northern neighbor, issued a formal request for “international coalition forces involved in Libya and international human rights organizations to stop these abuses against Chadians and other migrant Africa workers." Dozens of Chadians have been “singled out” and “executed,” falsely accused of acting as mercenaries for Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, according to Chad, 300,000 of whose citizens were among the 1.5 million black African migrant laborers in Libya at the time of the February revolt.

Numerous reports from migrant workers who escaped from rebel-held areas indicate hundreds of black Africans have been lynched, including black Libyan citizens. (See “Race and Arab Nationalism in Libya,” BAR, March 9.) A Turkish oil worker related an especially horrific account to NPR: We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies,” he said. “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.”

Western media have lent sympathetic ears to rebel claims that assaults by Gaddafi’s black ‘mercenaries’ drove ‘the people’ to commit ‘excesses.’”

Although many western journalists have been all but embedded with the rebels for many weeks, until recently there has been precious little high profile corporate media reporting on the political complexion of Gaddafi’s armed opposition, atrocities against black Africans, or summary executions of prisoners, which are war crimes under international law. Western media have lent sympathetic ears to rebel claims that assaults by Gaddafi’s black “mercenaries” drove “the people” to commit “excesses.”

As usual, it is only after the U.S. government has embarked irrevocably on the warpath that corporate media reveal the flaws in the rationale. In the April 3 New York Times Sunday Magazine, reporter Robert F. Worth passes on the rebel’s version of one of their first confrontations with “mercenaries” in Benghazi:

The next day, the protests resumed and grew more violent as the first groups of mercenaries appeared, in yellow construction hats, to fight the protesters. Some were Africans; some appeared to be foreign workers, including Bangladeshis and Chinese. Many were not mercenaries at all, but dark-skinned men from southern Libya or hapless African migrants in search of work. Some of the ones I talked to, in makeshift rebel prisons, said they had been tricked with promises of jobs and never paid at all.”

What is obvious from the account, is that the anti-Gaddafi crowd (mob) encountered polyglot groups of yellow-hatted foreign construction laborers (total foreign workers in Libya numbered over 3 million) in their march through Benghazi, and assaulted them, with black Africans receiving especially brutal attention.

They wanted to kill the black soldier.”

The April 1 edition of Britain’s Globe and Mail reports on a “bitter struggle” among the rebels on “how to contain the anger unleashed after decades of oppression.” Translation: How to stop the summary executions of captured, or reputed, Gaddafi supporters – especially the black ones.

Rebels have frequently treated dark-skinned prisoners more harshly than men of Arab ancestry,” Graeme Smith reported:

That distinction was made brutally obvious to doctors at the intensive care unit of Al Bayda’s main hospital on Feb. 17 when they admitted two men – one black, the other with the local olive-skinned complexion – who stood accused of fighting the rebels. A crowd gathered outside the hospital, calling for blood. Some armed rebels pushed their way into the ward.

“’They had guns and knives,’ said Mahmoud Anass, 27, a resident on duty that night. ‘It was really scary. They wanted to kill the black soldier.’

Doctors managed to hold off the enraged youths until a few hours after midnight, when the rebels dragged the two patients into the street.

“’An old man tried to stop them,’ said Faraj Khalifa, a doctor. ‘He said our religion does not permit the killing of unarmed men. But the youths were very, very angry. They hanged the black man in front of the hospital.’

The patient with lighter skin was beaten, shot, and returned to the emergency room, Dr. Khalifa said.”

Racism against black Africans, including black Libyans, appears endemic in eastern Libya.”

Here we have both a war crime and a racial hate crime – a microcosm of the mob rule that has swept regions of rebel control. As the Globe and Mail wrote: “Paranoia about mercenaries remains strong among the rebels, despite assurances from human-rights groups that most of the fighters among the pro-Gadhafi forces are Libyan citizens.”

More accurately, racism against black Africans, including black Libyans, appears endemic in eastern Libya.

The same article shows convincingly that rebels executed more than a dozen captured government soldiers at the town of Darna early in the rebellion, then buried their bodies at a crossroads next to a wall on which it is written, “killed by Gadhafi.”

It is likely that scores of soldiers whose bodies were found in a Benghazi barracks, burned beyond recognition, met the same fate. Rebels initially claimed the men were killed by Gaddafi officers for refusing to fight their own people.

The Super-Powered ‘Revolution’

The world’s most imperial-dependent, ill-disciplined and whining “liberation movement” is still blaming black “mercenaries” and soldiers from Chad for its failures in the field – that is, when they aren’t crying about not having a 24/7 umbrella of full-spectrum American dominance of the skies. On March 31, the Interim Transitional National Council (ITNC) – half of whose members remain “secret” and many of whom may now be mere fronts – claimed that a unit of 3,600 Chadian troops have killed and wounded thousands of rebels since hostilities began. This phantom Chadian army, fighting more than a thousand miles from its impoverished homeland and supply lines, was supposedly to blame for the rebels’ military setbacks around the city of Brega, according to ITNC spokesman Ahmed Bani – evidence that “paranoia” about black enemies of the Libyan “revolution” is not limited to the mob.

The rebels are in fact stymied by the Americans, who show their Libyan dependents who is boss by periodically withdrawing the protection of U.S. airborne kill-at-will systems. President Obama signaled loud and clear that the council in Benghazi will not rule the country, when he intoned, from Chile, that “forty years of tyranny has left Libya fractured and without strong civil institutions. The transition to a legitimate government that is responsive to the Libyan people will be a difficult task.” That’s U.S. Imperial-Speak for: We will run the country for you, until you are ready to stand on your own, traumatized feet. Like Haiti.

The Americans show their Libyan dependents who is boss by periodically withdrawing the protection of U.S. airborne kill-at-will systems.”

The U.S. is attempting to regain its regional balance as the winds of the Reawakening whip the Arab world. Washington has seized the opportunity in Libya to appear as an uber-protector of emerging forces for change, while positioning itself to quash any substantive threat to imperial interests. As added bonuses, the largest oil reserves in Africa are to be pillaged by multinationals, and the U.S. military can envision a huge new arena for AFRICOM, much larger than the U.S. facility in tiny Djibouti, on eastern coast.

The militant Islamist presence among the rebels will be worked to U.S. advantage, an embedded rationale to bring Libya wholly and permanently into the War on Terror theater of operations. Should an “insurgency” erupt with the fall of Gaddafi, all the better for a U.S. war machine that runs on bogeymen.

But, don’t be overly shocked and awed by the ferocity of the Euro-American counter-offensive. Arab nationalism, in its many manifestations, represents an existential threat to imperial survival. After generations of suppression of the Left in Arab lands, nationalism (and anti-imperialism) now often finds its expression from the Right, in religious form and language. Nevertheless, all nationalisms among subject peoples are ultimately antithetical to imperial rule.

Racism is often a strong component of particular nationalisms. (White American nationalism is a dramatic example.) Arab Muslim identity in the North African Maghreb, for some, is defined in opposition to darker, “Africans,” whether they are Muslim or not. Without doubt, this strain of racism is a huge barrier to South-North Pan-Africanism, and useful to the Euro-Americans. But, even nationalists who are afflicted with racism will fight to control their own land and resources – which is U.S. imperialism’s fundamental – and insoluble -- problem.

BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at [email protected].


What MSNM News & Even Alternative News Sees & Don't See

Bro Glen Ford makes the observation how its amazing what MSMN News [& even alternative news] outlets that have been on the ground  for weeks in the rebel controlled East Libya can see & yet not see [EC calls it the ole Sgt Schultz routine: 'I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing...']. I won't even waist time w MSNM News [including so-called liberal left MSNBC {Note: MS=MicroSoft=Bill Gates & NBC is owned by weapons & Fukushima Reactor maker GE] reports. IE:- No news media reported that covert elements of the US, UK, France & NATO have been on the ground in Libya FOR WEEKS [IE: probably as soon as or even before the rebellion began]- until OBomb-em admitted it last week.

DemocracyNow! last week focused much of a show on an inflammatory story about the alleged rape of ONE woman by men allegedly connected to Khadaffi's forces. Yet they [& to a some-what lesser extent The Real News] have ignored, down-played or dismissed as Khadaffi mercenaries- multiple accounts of dozens if not hundreds of beatings, lynchings, executions & even people being hacked to death - of Black Africans [including some Black Libyans] by rebels, as outlined in this story & other previous stories here at BAR. As far as that rape allegation is concerned - assuming that the accusation is valid [remember the allegation by Mr CIA Skull{duggery}& Bones Bush Sr that Saddam's men threw Kuwaiti babies out of their incubators & then even stomped them to death - WHICH WAS TOTALLY BOGUS] - how do we know that Khadaffi's men were the perpetrators? Case in point - DemocracyNow!'s Wed April 6 [was this rape allegation made on April 1st] show featuring Anthony Shadid of the NY-Times - who along w his crew was recently released from being detained a week by Khadaffi's people. Shadid makes the statement that many pro-Khadaffi forces [IE: those who first captured him] aren't regular army but are local militias [so much for Khadaffi not having any base of support among the regular people] who aren't that easy to distinguish from the rebels -especially by outsiders. This means that the rape perps could have been rebels [or some black ops guys] pretending to be Khadaffi's men. Also note-worthy is that Shadid & his crew [including a woman] felt safest when they knew they were in the hands of Khadaffi Gov't officials.

Shadid also makes the statement that he didn't see many/any strong functional state institutions in Libya unlike under Saddam's Iraq- & implies this as a bad thing especially if Khadaffi falls [IE: Libya is/becomes a failed state]. BUT- There's another the way to interpret this - 1) Khadaffi gave each region &/or city a great deal of latitude to run things independent of his central Gov'ts control [IE: Democracy]- which runs counter to the claim of him being an over-bearing tyrant. 2) If Libyans under Khadaffi enjoyed the highest standard of living in all of Africa, has/had one of the highest literacy rates including women for Africa & the Arab world, & had access to some the best medical services in Africa & the Arab World- how was Khadaffi's Gov't non functional - IE: not serving the people??!! Shadid also said that some [though not all] of the rebels openly acknowledged themselves as Islamists / Islamic militants - which in the US & the West, in the wake of 9-11 & the War on Terror Hype, have been called Al-Qeada or Al-Qeada sympathizers  - Thus- Maybe Khadaffi's wasn't so crazy after all when he accused the rebels of being Al-Qeada inspired/influenced.

Thanks For Reminder on the Silliness of Pan-Africanism

Mr. Ford,

Thank you for this painful, horrific reminder of how Arabs relate to Black Africans and the Black Diaspora.

This hatred relationship is centuries old and not amenable to reconciliation. It is woven into the Arab DNA, the Arab history, the Arab culture, the Arab society, forever passed down, and forever. 

It would be a great day when all the old so-called Lefties from the 1960s heyday of Pan-Africanism (in America) confess to the silliness of this concept.

Unfortunately, even on this site there are trolls still chest high in Pan-Africa mumbo-jumbo, Pan-African Tea Party members, if you will, who will never admit to this fallacy.

However, as the last paragraph in your piece succinctly alludes, Pan-Africanism was a lie, is a lie, and will always be a lie, trumped by the always prevalent racism against Black Africans. 

When, oh, when will Black Africans and the Black Diaspora reject this foolishness.

Thank you, Mr. Ford

Yeah, all Arabs hate us

And yet Gaddafi who was/is leader of Libya has been all in favor of Pan-Africanism to his own detriment. Fools are fools. And many of the individuals who are committing these crimes also believe the United States will help "free" them. The masses are easily manipulated no matter where you go.

At the end of the day Pan-Africanism has nothing to do with liking anyone. It's about power and mutual interests. American Christians don't like Isreali Jews necessarily. They have mutual interests. European businessmen don't like those little Chinese and Japanese guys, they have mutual interests. Both of those traditionally hated populations also have economic power which means they have to be respected.

Truth is, no one likes black people. Black people don't even like black people. Until we start to develop political, economic, and military power we will continue to be shat on by the peoples of the world and rightly so. So let's be smart about it. Work with those that may have mutual interests but don't let them out of our sight. Use them to the extent that they can be benificial but don't hesitate to kick em in the ass if they get out of line. The enemy of my enemy can be a valuable partner.

BTW, you didn't mention what idiology should replace Pan-Africanism.

Truth is, no one likes black people

ain't that the truth.  Agree with you on all points.  I have nothing with intermingling with other races, but your statements reflect some of my issues with so-called "integration."  Granted people should be free to live, date or marry whom they wish, but this notion of "integration" is a dangerous concept.  It's fleeting, it's like pissing in the wind.  Perhaps BAR can do a feature article on day about WHY SCHOOL BUSING FAILED.  It doesn't take the Brookings Institute or August Wilson to figure it out:  when the Niggas got close, the Crackers ran away and at some point in time the federal Courts realized it was a fruitless and expensive exercise. 

Yall know my favorite BAR blogger line of the year, thanks to none other than chasm, I'm still waiting on the t-shirts so I can buy one:

"We tend to equate seeking White (or Arab or Jew or Hispanic or-- fill in the blank) validation with challenging White supremacy."  Interesting psychoanalysis that folks who hate each are always seeking love from their enemies?  Franz Fanon is still turning in his grave. 

I long for the day of mental liberation when Black folks will stop giving a fuck.  Stop worrying about being "politically correct" or upsetting White folks or Jews (as a matter of fact yall kiss my ass lol)  I live for the day when Black folks will "grow a pair."  Someone raised a valid query here at BAR not to long ago, asking:  "why is it that Whites lead the Innocence Project" and not Black lawyers and scholars?"  The answer is because the Black race/man remains mentally castrated.

For the life of me I don't understand Black politicians or "leaders", worthless, 99% of them.  Let somebody fuck with Israel and see if Jewish politicians hold back, see if they equivocate or tip toe around shit.  But call a Nigga a Spade and he'll run around in circles making excuses about what "the Man" really called him.  "Oh, he didn't mean it, he was just shucking and jiving."  "Hee, hee."  Ask Obama's mulatto ass if the Tea Party is racist and then ask a White Congressperson if Farrakhan or the (phony) New Black Panther Party is racist.  Shit, peckawood Glen Beck said the goddamn president ( an ass kissing Negro) was racist.

I pity the damn fool. "Integrate" what?  Into a wicked, failed way of life??? Integrate into a system that DEMANDS you subsume who you are, what you think, how you feel?  Goddamnit look at the mass media and you will see nobody gives a shit about what we think, feel or who we are.  The only thing we need is ECONOMIC INTEGRATION.  The rest of that shit is a pipe dream, ask the federal courts if you don't believe me.

The "ideology" of Pan-Africanism...

At its root, Pan-Africanism is not an ideology--in my opinion.  Pan-Africanism is SURVIVAL.  Who gives a shit about black folks?  Not even BLACK folks!! 

Nevertheless, we got NO place to go, unless the Romas (Gypsies) let us hang around with them [Anybody interested?]

We have nobody but ourselves, and we just have to KEEP TRYING [I'm saying this today.  Tomorrow I'll be so fucked up and frustrated, that I'll be talking about getting the fuck OUT of here].  We have to keep educating ourselves, and others.

It seems an impossible task.  We turn our children over to the public schools.  Well, that ends the revolution right there!  And there's a host of other problems.

Well, getting back to my point (for emphasis), and I hope this is not a wasteful dabbling in semantics.  Pan-Africanism is like taking a LONG piss that you been holding from the time you left work, to the time you got home: IT'S A FUCKING NECESSITY!!!!  There ain't SHIT ELSE you can do, but PISS!!!

So, LET'S PISS!!!!!!!

That's not what brother Ford said

There is nothing in Ford's last paragraph that makes the claim that Pan-Africanism is "silly," or that Pan-Africanisms is a dream of the past, or that the dream of Pan-Africanism is a dream limited to 1960s leftist.

The Harvard-based racist historian, Lothrop Stoddard, fully understood the importance of a unified Africa, when, in his 1920 book, "The Rising Tide of Color," he explicitly made the statement that, if Africa north of the Sahara united with Africa south of the Sahara, the rulership of the white "race" would come to an end.

To claim that the Arabs have a genetic pre-disposition towards anti-black racism, and, as such, cannot phatom the idea of a unified Continent, is ridiculous.  Anyone can be POLITICALLY EDUCATED.

And Qaddafi has understood that for his entire career.  He has ignored the racism of east Libyans and charted a course for himself, and for Africa, that he both believes in, and that is DO-ABLE.  Qaddafi, for instance, has set up telecommunications for 9 African countries, and counting, as well as tons of other projects.  The aim of that telecommunications company is expresed in its motto: "Uniting Africa through communications."

It sounds to me that you are supporting the camp of DIVIDE AND CONQUER, claiming that Arabs and blacks can't be united, on the Continent.  Who ARE you?  A white nationalist imperialist, disgusing yourself here?

Although this might seem token to you, it would be because you don't understand the Arabic AND Islamic mind: Qaddafi, not long ago, asked his Libyan Arab brethren to MARRY black Africans.  This, in itself, is a TRADITION in Islam, where problems of race occur.  Muslim leaders, such as Mirza Tahir Ahmad, of Pakistan, have made the SAME suggestion to their followers, concerning black folks PERIOD.   And that suggestion created MARRIAGES, between Pakistani followers of Tahir Ahmad, and black American Muslim followers of Tahir Ahmad.

It is a tradition that goes back to the time of the Prophet Muhammad, although, unfortunately, he was not able to root out racism totally.  Qaddafi operates from an ISLAMIC foundation that is rooted in what is called the "sunna," or practice, of "Rasoolulah" the "Messenger of Allah," meaning Muhammad.

The problems of race are well-understood amongst Muslims.  And, in an INFINITELY better way, those problems are addressed--not perfectly, but they are faced, and often solved.  Malcolm understood this clearly, because he travelled, as well as became abreast with the history of Islam; with Muhammad's "Farewell Message," which was essentially a message of human brotherhood.

Africa will unite.  It is not an empty slogan.  I hope you live to witness it.  It was Qaddafi [remember?] who was instrumental in setting up the AU--African Union. 

It is taking time, but a union of Africa will occur.  There are political and geographic reasons why this must happen. 

This unity will begin, first, with regional unities of various African states.  It won't be the same kind of "United States" as in America.  It CAN'T be.  But there will, one day, be a Continetal political system, as well as a Continental military. 

But a lot of freedom will, of necessity, have to regional groupings that will have to deal out their own hand, in their own way. 

The unity of Africa is inevitable.  To dismiss that desire as silly is very suspicious.