Post-NATO Libya: Why Reports of "Slave Auctions" Not Surprising

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Still from the CNN "slave auction" video


The reported auctioning of Africans in a 21st century "slave market" in Libya exposed by CNN and other media should come as no surprise to those who followed the NATO-backed war in Libya in 2011.

During the war, abuses against Black people in Libya by the rebels fighting Muammar al-Quathafi's regime were ignored by most of the major corporate media because they normally toe the line set by the political establishment. Since NATO supported the rebels, the establishment media in the U.K., France and the U.S. also endorsed them and abdicated  journalistic responsibility.

Perhaps the establishment media realized that the public --in the U.K., France and the U.S.-- would have raised the following questions: why was NATO actively supporting rebels that were targeting Black Libyans? Why was there no outcry by the political leadership in the U.K., France and the U.S. against the rebel atrocities?

Did opposing Quathafi automatically translate into ignoring racist ethnic-targeting of Black Libyans? Because many Black Libyans served in Quathafi's military did that amount to collective guilt by all Black people Libya including the civilian population?

These were some of the many questions we raised in several editorials in The Black Star News; one such article was deleted from our own website on September 4, 2011.

We had deplored the targeting of Black Libyans including lynchings and beheadings by the rebels, crimes they then  posted on YouTube-- this was long before ISIS came on the scene and adopted this method as its signature (who knows how many of them practiced their skills during the Libya conflict).

In the editorial that was deleted we had questioned why national U.S. organizations like the NAACP, and the Urban League did not denounce the targeted killing of Black Libyans. We had also questioned why the White House, the State Department and the United Nations were all mute. We also questioned why The New York Times did not cover the racist killings much earlier.

The answer was obvious. It would have undermined the credentials of the rebels fighting to overthrow Quathafi --especially those from the Misrata region-- as "liberators" and possibly eroded some public support in the U.K., France, and the U.S.; these were the key countries spearheading the NATO assault.

The Wall Street Journal to its credit was ahead of all other U.S. corporate media outlets and wrote about the targeted killings, including about how the city of Tarwegha whose ethnic composition had been Black was later emptied -- the entire population driven out.

Even today, six years after the war officially ended -- and Libya reduced to mostly anarchy-- the people have not been allowed to return.

In one Wall Street Journal story that ran under the headline "Libya City Torn by Tribal Feud," on June 21, 2011, Sam Dagher reported that the rebel Brigade leading the attack on the city of Tawergha had slogans such as "the brigade for purging slaves, black skin."

In another article under the headline "Revenge Feeds Instability in Libya," on September 13, 2011, after Tawergha was seized (and after our own deleted editorial), the Wall Street Journal's reporter Dagher reported that the homes of the Black Libyans who fled were razed and the words "slaves" scrawled on some of them.

The entire population once reported at over 40,000 Black Libyans has been living in refugee camps in other parts of Libya. Many have been attacked in these camps.

Human Rights Watch has been covering their plight for years.

So, Libya had become hostile to Black people and it's not surprising that we now get a report such as the "slave auction" exposed on the CNN video.

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