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Facing the bombs of America and NATO in the Libya Jamahiriya

June 20, 2011

by Randy Short

Green flags of the Libyan Jamahiriya are flown everywhere from Tunisia to Tripoli. Many of the flags in the countryside are handmade. – Photo: Moises Saman, New York Times
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 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, Muammar Qaddafi, 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 Delegation, a 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 Jamahiriya and Muammar Qaddafi was everywhere.

As we drove for six hours, the vast majority of homes had the green flag of the Jamahiriya. 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 of all types – clearly made by ordinary people wanting to show their support for the Jamahiriya. These flags were on stores, shops, cars and in windows. Some people wore green head wraps, armbands and patches.

These Libyan youth in Tripoli want everyone to know what side they’re on. No government is a greater champion of the poor and especially Black people than the Libyan Jamahiriya, a system based on direct democracy. – Photo: Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters
What I wished the world could see was the universal support of the young people for their government. Living in the U.S., we have young people who are often self-centered and apathetic. The opposite was true in Libya. About 100 km from Tripoli, our cars were almost forced to stop because there was a spontaneous march of defiance from scores of young people and women chanting, “God, Muammar, 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 Jamahiriya 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 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.

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 that they did not fear the bombs. The attacks had made them believe more in their Brother Leader Muammar Qaddafi 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 Muammar!”

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 U.S. and NATO, I more than once heard 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.

Libyans’ faith in God and belief that they are right gives them the courage to face the bombs, determined to fight on.

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.

Though the Geography Department building at Al-Fatah University was partially destroyed in a June 17 bombing, the next day student life resumed. The war has not broken the spirits of Liya’s youth. – Photo: Moises Saman, New York Times
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 keep their capital 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 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’s shops and stores were full of goods and clothing. 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.

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, waving flags and chanting slogans of defiance. Nightly, thousands gather at Col. Qaddafi’s Bab Al Aziziya compound to celebrate their freedom and to show their defiance against the rebels, the U.S. 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 Muammar Qaddafi and the Jamahiriya 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 Jamahiriya had brought together.

What the media does not tell people is that Muammar Qaddafi and the Jamahiriya have struggled harder than any Western leader to champion the rights of the poor and abolish racism against Black people.

The atrocities committed against the Black Libyans and guest workers remain an under-reported phenomenon 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 to justify the war if people are to know that the Jamahiriya has lifted Libya from one of the poorest nations 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 on Libya would be far less popular in the U.S. if the African American population knew how much many of the Libyans resembled them.

The war on Libya would be far less popular in the U.S. if the African American population knew how much many of the Libyans resembled them.

If any of the anti-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 will be that this war is doomed.

Students at Al-Fatah University in Tripoli show their unflagging support for their leader. Libyans face the bombs with constant spontaneous protests of defiance. – Photo: Ahmed Jadallah, Reuters
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 and cultural imperialism and allowed to choose their own heroes and a system of governance that suits them, whether 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 master’s of divinity from Harvard University. He has just returned from Libya, where he was part of the Dignity Delegation headed by Cynthia McKinney. This story first appeared on Black Agenda Report.


2 thoughts on “Facing the bombs of America and NATO in the Libya Jamahiriya

  1. Peter Nangle

    I read your information with sadness for the Libyan people who must suffer the catastrophic bombing from the western allies.The US – France- UK-and Italy.All these countries are being backed by the western media for one reason so they can sell stories by reporting what the western democracies say is legal killing.
    The countries of US-UK-France -Italy, reason is for OIL/GAS resources we all know or should all know that the world is running out of reserves and they want to hold Libya in control for issue of resources to their countries so they do not use their own reserves.The UN is only a tool developed to sanction death to any country that does not comply with distribution of wealth to the G10.
    Where do all these so called rebels come from?has any one any proof they are not Al Quadia?
    God be with you people of Libya.

    Reply
  2. Jonas Rand

    "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."

    The Libyan oil is not being "stolen" and sold to foreign countries. Yes, it is a mechanism of funding for the rebels once they take over an oil reserve, however, that is because it is the most valuable and by far the most abundant natural resource in Libya. The reserves are being taken over through warfare, thus it is not any more "theft" than when pro-Gaddafi militias win a battle and take over an oil deposit.

    Mu'ammar Gaddafi had been inviting Western oil companies to exploit Libya's oil for YEARS. Why does no one defending Gaddafi seem to recognize this? This is not Iraq. The war is not to take the oil for free, and hand it over to corporations, but to overthrow Gaddafi and his regime. The US, of course, supports it because it wants a more loyal tyrant, which, if the rebels win, it will try to guide Libya toward having. The Libyans, though, have simply had enough of Gaddafi and desperately want change. As for this:

    "Living in the U.S., we have young people who are often self-centered and apathetic. The opposite was true in Libya. About 100 km from Tripoli, our cars were almost forced to stop because there was a spontaneous march of defiance from scores of young people and women chanting, “God, Muammar, Libya, we love you""

    The first sentence contains arrogant ageism, but "self-centered" is an interesting choice of words, considering what you're contrasting it with. Can you imagine if teenagers were all assembled in major American cities, waving their US flags, and chanting "God, Obama, America, that's enough"? I would not only find that a bizarre display of unnatural devotion, but immediately suspect coercion of some sort. Just as I do here. That is not selflessness, it's idolization of your government and it's damn creepy.

    There is strict control and censorship of information by the government in Libya (which, according to Muammar, [who is, again, 'not a president', but an ordinary Libyan citizen, who has no power of his own] is run by the masses and should therefore not be separate from the general public) and one has to take all government statements with a grain of salt or at least a heavy dose of skepticism.

    As an aside, Gaddafi supporters, do you really think the Libyan people consented to a totally censored press, full of straight propaganda and lies? I don't.

    Reply

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