Just back from a fact-finding mission to Libya, the author reports that Moammar Gaddafi enjoys widespread support among the people. “All along the roads, people were chanting to those in their cars driving east to Tripoli and west to Tunisia that they supported the Jamahariya government.” Poor Black Libyans have a huge stake in this government. Despite the fact that western media are present on both sides of the war, “the atrocities committed against the Black Libyans and guest workers remains an under reported phenomena of the ‘humanitarian intervention.’”
“The western media are not telling the world that the corporate punishment of the Libyan people is failing.”
The public and the people of the world need to know that the corporate media is fabricating a massif of lies concerning the on-the-ground facts of the illegal war against the people of Libya by the American and NATO forces. The grossly distorted news reports paint a picture of a besieged regime about to collapse at any second. Further, the spiritual leader of the Libyan Revolution Muamar Gadafi is represented as a hated and unpopular leader. I want to take this time to disabuse all that read my report.
As a member of the Dignity Fact- Finding Group headed by the Honorable Cynthia McKinney, I was able to travel across the western littoral of Libya, and see for myself what was happening in the country. Once we drove past the Tunisian frontier, the evidence of support for the Jamahariya and Muamar Gadafi was everywhere. As we drove for six hours, the vast majority of homes had the green flag of the Jamahariya. Unlike the slick factory-made red, black, and green flags that we see on the news for the western-backed “opposition,” the green flags of the people were off all types—clearly made by ordinary people wanting to show their support for the Jamahariya. These flags were on stores, shops, cars, in windows, some people wore green head wraps and armbands and patches.
What I wished the world could see was the universal support of the young people for their government. Living in the United States, we have young people who are often self-centered and apathetic. The opposite was true in Libya. About 100 kilometers from Tripoli, our cars were almost forced to stop because there was a spontaneous march of defiance of scores of young people and women chanting, “God, Muamar, Libya we love you.” All along the roads, people were chanting to those in their cars driving east to Tripoli and west to Tunisia that they supported the Jamahariya government. Our delegation was curious about this gathering, so we drove back to get a better view of the protest. We drove back to look at the demonstration, and we did not see adults or government officials scripting their actions. From the time that I witnessed these young people along the road, I saw countless instances of the spontaneity of the Libyan people defying the bombs and perfidy of western aggression.
“Once we drove past the Tunisian frontier, the evidence of support for the Jamahariya and Muamar Gadafi was everywhere.”
The western media are not telling the world that the corporate punishment of the Libyan people is failing. I had opportunities to speak to Libyans of various ages and class backgrounds, and the sentiment was they did not fear the bombs and the attacks had made them believe more in their Brother Leader Muamar Gadafi, and they did not want him to go into exile. One Libyan man who I got to speak to in the El Khader Hospital asked, “Why don’t people accept the fact that we love Muamar!”
I was standing next to a man named Hashim in a hotel when an explosion took place, and the young man like all the others chanted “Allu Akhbar” and continued along with their activities. Their faith in God and belief that they are right gives them the courage to face the bombs determined to fight on. The bombing only prompts more contempt and disgust at those attacking them. In addition to resentment of the US and NATO, I heard more than one time Libyans express a willingness to fight to the bitter end. One young man told me that if the ground forces of the West were sent to Libya it would be Vietnam II for America and its allies.
The western media fails to relay to the public that the so-called humanitarian intervention has imposed corporate suffering on Libyans and hundreds of thousands of guest workers. In January, Tripoli was as clean as a whistle. There was no trash in the gutters and sidewalks, because there were plenty of guest workers from other countries in Africa willing to do maintenance work, but western-backed rebels and supporters murdered, raped, and robbed so many guest workers that scores of thousands fled. Now, Tripoli, which was preparing for a grandiose makeover with a rapid rail, renovated beachfront, plazas, malls, and sparkling new office buildings and flats, has an acute trash collection challenge. However, the Libyan people have formed brigades to kept their capitol clean. One of the greatest ironies of the corporate punishment of the Libyan people is that, as their oil is stolen by the rebels and sold to foreign nations, they have to endure marathon queues to secure gasoline for their cars. I witnessed cars in rows three across and a mile in length waiting to purchase gasoline.
“The so-called humanitarian intervention has imposed corporate suffering on Libyans and hundreds of thousands of guest workers.”
The Libyan people remain proud and In spite of the suffering and bombing, I did not see any homeless people. I did not see hungry people. Tripoli and nearby shops and stores were full of goods and clothing, and there appeared to be meat, fish, fruit, and vegetables for sale. Despite the war, I did not witness people picking through the rubbish. People were in the streets and sitting in cafes, and with the exception of the occasional sound of a bomb explosion life continued. The war has given the people of Tripoli a new nightlife activity: protests of defiance. Despite the fact that Libyan drivers endured hours of waiting to get a tank of gas, they get together with friends and drive all over the waving flags and chanting slogans of defiance. Nightly, thousands gather at Colonel Gaddafi’s Bab Al Aziziya compound to celebrate their freedom and to show their defiance against the rebels and the American and NATO bombers. The people that I saw there were from all sectors of the Libyan society.
What the media does not tell people is that Muamar Gaddafi and the Jamahariya have struggled harder than any western leader to champion the rights of the poor and abolish racism against Black people. Our media has failed to show that the rebels have systematically targeted Black Libyans and non-Arab Africans for acts of violence, rape, and murder to recreate racial divisions in that society that the Jamahariya brought together. The atrocities committed against the Black Libyans and guest workers remains an under reported phenomena of the “humanitarian intervention.” Perhaps the media wants to make sure that few Americans know that Libya has a considerable Black population, and it does not help the warmongers just war for people to know that the Jamahariya has lifted Libya from of the poorest nation in the world to one with the highest standards of living in the world. The poorest of Black Libyans have everything to lose if the opposition takes power. This writer believes that the war of Libya would be far less popular in the United States if the African American population knew how much many Libyans resemble people them. If any of ant-Vietnam War sentiment expressed by Muhammad Ali ‘s refusal to fight other people of color in the 1960s exists among African Americans today, the favorable public opinion this war is doomed.
“Our media has failed to show that the rebels have systematically targeted Black Libyans and non-Arab Africans for acts of violence, rape, and murder.”
Libya’s people have resisted foreign invaders over the centuries of history. In every epoch Libyans have made their domination by would be conquerors more than difficult. The American public should know that the Libyans share a history for either successfully defeating foreign armies or waging a tireless resistance. They are not a people given to fear or intimidation. From Pharaoh to Obama, the Libyans have an innate desire to be free from outside interference. What we must consider is that the internal affairs of Libya are best left for them to solve themselves. The shock and awe approach to the Libyan people is passé. Almost a century ago, Libyan freedom fighters were the first people in history to be bombed from the air by the Italian military. The Libyan people want to be at peace and free from political, economic, cultural imperialism, and allowed to choose their own heroes and system of governance that suits them whether or not the nations of the West like it or not. For this precious liberty of self-determination, the Libyans in Tripoli defiantly join the heroic peoples struggles Guernica and Hanoi that defiantly faced the bombs of fascistic militarists who sought to strip them of their dignity.
Randy Short is an independent researcher who holds a doctorate in African studies from Howard University and a masters of divinity from Harvard University. He is just back from a delegation to Libya that included Cynthia McKinney.