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Libya: Tawergha, city of Blacks, depopulated – Rep. Jesse Jackson calls for investigation of ‘crimes against humanity’

September 15, 2011

by Milton Allimadi

According to HumanRightsInvestigations.org, the Black town of “Tawergha has been taken by rebel forces from Misrata, (who) have long threatened to wipe Tawergha off the map, ethnically cleansing its inhabitants.” The Wall Street Journal reports: “Ibrahim al-Halbous, a rebel commander leading the fight near Tawergha, says all remaining residents should leave once his fighters capture the town. ‘They should pack up,’ Mr. Halbous said. ‘Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata.’”
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., reacting to reports in The Wall Street Journal, has called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the reported killings of Black Libyans in the city of Tawergha.

Rep. Jackson, D-Ill., also tells The Black Star News he will ask that U.S. assistance for reconstruction and transition to democracy in Libya be conditional. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that rebels from Misrata had torched the homes that belonged to the predominantly dark-skinned residents of the city of Tawergha, which is now abandoned.

A Journal reporter witnessed some of the torching and wrote that the words “slaves” and “negroes” were scribbled on the walls of the now emptied homes.

In an earlier news report, The Wall Street Journal reported that rebels from the city of Misrata had declared that Tawergha would be “no more” and that the unit conducting the attacks was named “The Brigade for Purging Slaves, Black Skin.”

Misrata rebels blame residents of Tawergha, which was used by the Libyan army under the government of Muammar al-Qaddafi as a staging ground for the siege on Misrata. The Journal has also reported on long, historical feuds that predate the Libyan civil war between the “white” residents of Misrata and the predominantly Black ones of Tawergha.

The Wall Street Journal Tuesday also reported that Transitional National Council (TNC) “prime minister” Mahmoud Jibril, referring to the reported atrocities in Tawergha by rebels, said, “Regarding Tawergha, my own viewpoint is that nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misrata.”

Rep. Jackson took exception to Jibril’s remarks.

“Racism in the form of ethnic cleansing, killing and genocide is wrong anytime, anyplace and against anybody in the world,” Rep. Jackson said Wednesday. “And it appears as though the rebel leader, Mahmoud Jibril, is using the American idea that the South used to protect the institution of slavery – the 10th Amendment in our Constitution – to say, in essence, ‘it’s a states’ right and local control issue.’”

“Well, it’s not a local issue and it’s a moral outrage,” he added. “As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ As a senior member of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I intend to raise this issue with my colleagues and condition any financial support for the reconstruction of Libya and its transition to a democratic society.”

“I think it is absolutely necessary that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in the Hague investigate what I consider to be crimes against humanity,” Rep. Jackson said.

A spokesperson for Rep. John Lewis told The Black Star News that he opposes wars as a matter of principle and had also objected to the U.S. involvement in Libya: “He does not agree with war because of its ramifications, because it leads to these moral compromises,” said the spokesperson, Brenda Jones. “It puts you in a difficult position, where you have to commit the same crimes that you are intending to stop.”

A spokesman for the United Nations, Eduardo del Buey, declined to comment on Rep. Jackson’s call for an investigation and his characterization of the accounts reported by The Wall Street Journal as amounting to crimes against humanity.

A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said the U.S. couldn’t comment by The Black Star News’ publication deadline. The U.S. hasn’t yet condemned the reported targeted attacks on Black Libyans.

The Journal reported that the road sign pointing to the city of Tawergha had been defaced and replaced with “New Misrata.” Some Tawerghans who had managed to flee to Tripoli were captured and taken to Misrata, the Journal reports.

The Journal is the only major U.S. media outlet that’s reported on the plight of Tawergha.

United Nations says ‘no comment’ on ethnic cleansing of Black Libyans

The White House has yet to issue a single statement condemning this ethnic cleansing of Black people. Hillary Clinton’s Department of State remains mute. The leaders of organizations that profess to protect the rights of Black people, such as the NAACP’s Ben Jealous and the National Urban League’s Marc Morial, have yet to make statements. Surely, someone must read The Wall Street Journal.

Tawergha, a once bustling town of 10,000 people, mostly Black, is deserted – its buildings looted, vandalized, many torched, and its citizens, loyal to Qaddafi, forced out by their neighbors 20 miles down the road in Misrata in “what appears to be the first major reprisal against supporters of the former regime,” according to the London Telegraph in a Sept. 11 story by Andrew Gilligan. He wrote: “Along the road that leads into Tawergha, the Misrata Brigade has painted a slogan. It is, it says, ‘the brigade for purging slaves [and] black skin.’ ‘We have met Tawerghas in detention, taken from their homes simply for being Tawerghas,’ said Diana Eltahawy, a researcher for Amnesty International who is currently in Libya. … ‘They are really afraid. They have nowhere to go,’ said Ms Eltahawy. … Many Tawerghas are now cowering in makeshift camps around Tripoli. … ‘If we go back to Tawergha, we will be at the mercy of the Misrata Brigade,’ said one refugee, who declined to be named. ‘When they entered our town in mid-Ramadan [mid-August] and shelled it, we fled just carrying the clothes on our backs. I don't know what happened to our homes and belongings. Now I am here in this camp, my son is ill and I am too afraid to go to the hospital in town. I don't know what will happen to us now.’” – Photo: Heathcliff O’Malley
This is the second article detailing the specific campaign to wipe out Black Libyans that The Journal has reported on; the first article was on June 21, 2011.

Other major corporate media, such as The New York Times, CNN and BBC, all of which to varying degrees surrendered pretense at “objectivity” and openly supported the NATO bombardments, are now in a bind. They have yet to report major stories on the ethnic cleansing in Misrata and Tawergha. Rather than concede that the side they supported in the civil war is carrying out war crimes, they would rather suppress the story.

Welcome to the 21st century, the Newspeak George Orwell feared.

Had it not been for The Wall Street Journal breaking ranks with other corporate media, this genocide might well have been concealed and attributed to a figment of al-Qaddafi’s imagination.

Even the United Nations was unable to respond today to the ethnic cleansing reports when contacted by The Black Star News and after the Journal’s reports were forwarded. A spokesman for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was asked whether the targeted actions qualified as ethnic cleansing, whether they qualified as war crimes and whether the United Nations is demanding an investigation.

The spokesman, Eduardo del Buey, ignored the specific questions and responded with a statement from U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay, which states in part, “In situations of transition or unrest, restraint must be observed.”

Small comfort to the now depleted citizenry of Tawergha.

“We are not commenting on media reports. the high commissioner speaks to the issue of human rights, and this is what she has said to date in Libya,” Eduardo del Buey added.

More U.S. elected officials and ordinary Americans of all races should read The Wall Street Journal’s accounts and weigh in on the reported crimes being committed by the rebels. They are, after all, in power due in part to American support.

The Journal articles also quotes a Misratan rebel leader, Mohammed Ben Ras Ali, saying, “Tawergha is no more.”

How many times does the world have to keep saying “never again”?

Editor’s note: Readers are not obliged to stand by and watch the ethnic cleansing of Black people in Libya. Please call The New York Times at (212) 556-1234 and ask foreign editor Joe Kahn why the Times hasn’t done major stories on the Tawergha and Misrata war crimes. Also pose the same question to Times Publisher Sulzberger.

Milton Allimadi, publisher and editor in chief of The Black Star News, New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, can be reached at Milton@blackstarnews.com. Allimadi has also worked for The Journal of Commerce, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times and The City Sun. This story first appeared at http://blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/7627/2011-09-14.html and http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/7623/2011-09-13.html.

The Black prisoner pictured above appears at 7:33 minutes into this video.

A story by HumanRightsInvestigations.org headlined “Tawergha no longer exists, only Misrata” describes this report by Andrew Simmons for Al Jazeera, saying it “shows at least one of the large residential blocks in Tawergha alight, prisoners packed inside a freight container – who the rebels didn’t want filmed – an injured man in civilian clothes and the rebel fighters evicting one of the last civilians left in the town, an Egyptian woman who has lost her nine children under 12 who ran away during the attack.”

 

10 thoughts on “Libya: Tawergha, city of Blacks, depopulated – Rep. Jesse Jackson calls for investigation of ‘crimes against humanity’

  1. ColRebSez

    The real question is why Obama did this. He knew Gadaffi was popular among black Libyans and that some eastern Libyans hated him for treating them decently. He knew from early in the war that the Rebels were beating and killing blacks just for having black skins. NATO has murdered children and killed thousands, if not tens of thousands of innocent people because it decided Gadaffi was being a little too stern with protesters. Well, look what these protesters are doing now! Gadaffi clearly wasn't harsh enough.

    Obama is causing these blacks to be beaten and killed for a reason. But why?

    Reply
  2. Ian Beddowes

    Obama is working for US monopoly capital and contravened the US Constitution by making war on Libya without consulting Congress. The reasons:

    1) To steal Libyan oil.

    2) To prevent Comrade Gaddafi funding African development independently of the Bretton Wooda organizations.

    Obama has also accelerated the AFRICOM programme started under Bush, a programme aimed at the military occupation and re-colonization of Africa,

    This follows on the initiation of the 2nd Congo War by Bill Clinton, a war which killed 5 1/2 million people, making Clinton the biggest mass murderer since Hitler.

    These crimes against humanity in general and Africans in particular have been done with the overwhelming support of black Americans.

    Please stop calling yourselves "African-Americans". You are our enemies just the same as other varieties of Americans who are supporting the massacre of our people.

    You voted for Obama, the white racist yet again and shat all over Africa.

    Reply
    1. @kzfields

      We black people of america voted for Obama for help. We have no jobs,no health care,and no hope in this country. our media in the U.S. misinforms us about Africa. In this country we simply do not know what is happening world wide. when your working two to three jobs it is hard to keep up with the news. when you get home all you can do is rest for a while before you have to work again.

      Reply
  3. ian Beddowes

    Jesse Jackson is a political eunuch. He does not have the balls to say that Clinton and Obama should be in the International Criminal Court for their crimes against Africa.

    Reply
  4. Jeroen

    For the past two years the various Human Rights Organizations have written extensive and outraged reports about their fate but to date, the new regime in Libya and the international community failed to provide security and justice for these people.

    We (America, England, France & NATO) are responsible for their situation today as we put them there by assisting the rebels and militiamen while they were committing crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide, with our NATO intervention and bombardments.

    We can't understand and will not tolerate that these people have been suffering for two years without hope of returning home only because they have black skin color.

    Check out their current status at: http://tawergha.org/home/media.html

    Don't let them forget the people of Tawergha, they are still waiting for your help out there.

    Reply

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