by Gerald A. Perreira
Instead, on July 1, over a million Libyans – around one third of the Libyan population – were in Green Square and the surrounding streets, to hear Muammar Qaddafi speak and to rally against NATO. Chinese media put the number at 1.7 million and Intifada Palestine called it “the largest demonstration ever in world history.” The crowd chanted over and over again, “We want Qaddafi,” while unveiling a green flag, 6 km long.
The Al Fateh revolution has given the Libyan people a taste of the dignity that comes with true independence and real sovereignty. Unlike so many “Third World” nation states, Libya, under the leadership of Muammar Qaddafi, has been a surrogate of neither the East nor the West. The first thing that hits you when you step off the plane at Tripoli International Airport is that Libyans are firmly in control of their country. Libya is a power unto herself and Libyans are not taking kindly to NATO’s attempts at re-colonization.
What has developed in Libya is a conundrum for NATO. They may have imagined that with such vicious ongoing bombing raids, Qaddafi’s forces would have crumbled. Instead, they have witnessed the opposite. In the face of this all-out aggression, now into its fifth month with over 10,000 bombing raids, the Libyan patriotic and revolutionary armed forces and the vast majority of Libyans have remained steadfast and loyal, defending their revolution and its leader.
There are even pro-Qaddafi rallies in Benghazi and constant gun battles between pro-Qaddafi forces and the rebels in Benghazi and Misrata. In villages and towns reportedly under rebel control, the green flag of the Al Fateh revolution can be seen flying from homes and public buildings. One thing is clear: If Qaddafi did not have mass support, he could not be resisting this barbaric onslaught so effectively.
Every day the rebels reveal themselves to be mere surrogates of an imperialist plot to overthrow the Libyan revolution. They cannot call for healthcare, housing, free education, subsidized food and a share in the oil wealth because they have all of that. Residents in areas where the NATO backed rebels are in control have reported that the rebels are looting stores and removing goods and food at gunpoint. There are also numerous reports of torture, rape and execution of captured pro-Qaddafi soldiers, Black Libyans and migrant workers from neighboring African countries.
The nature of the Benghazi rebels is best illustrated by events that occurred after rebels took control of the mountain village of Qawalish in Western Libya. Many of the villagers were forced to evacuate the area since, according to a report carried on July 10 in the New York Times:
“All of the shops in the town had been ransacked, several homes were burned, and the town’s gas station, in fine condition when Qawalish fell, had been vandalized to the point of being dismantled. In building after building furniture was flipped over, dishes and mirrors shattered, and everything torn apart. Except for a few rebels roaming the streets in cars and trucks, the town was deserted – a shattered, emptied ghost town decorated with broken glass.”
The French, who were the driving force behind the invasion of Libya, are now pressing for dialogue with Tripoli. On July 11, in a report carried in Flash News Today, French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet stated: “We’ll stop the bombing when the Libyans talk to each other and the military forces on all sides return to their barracks. They can talk to each other because we provide the proof that there is no solution by force.”
I wonder sometimes if these people actually hear themselves. No matter what disdainful spin Gerard Longuet tries to put on the situation, he can never convince us that the purpose of this mission was an exercise to prove that this conflict could not be resolved by force. The truth is that the French, British and Americans, in their arrogance and ignorance, believed that toppling Qaddafi and rolling back the Libyan revolution would be a pushover and now they are trying everything to avoid admitting an all out defeat.
In addition to the death and destruction caused by this French, British and U.S. barbaric adventurism, an estimated 150,000 people have been forced to flee Libya – many of them African migrant workers. These refugees, who were working in Libya and supporting their families in other parts of Africa, now find themselves sleeping in parks in Italy and France. With an estimated 23 million men and women unemployed in Europe, a figure that is expected to increase in the coming months as the capitalist crisis deepens, the situation for these refugees is disastrous.
NATO picked on a country that has experienced a profound political and social revolution for the past 40-plus years. The majority of Libyans only know life in the Jamahiriya and have lived in its dignity, comfort and calm all their lives, causing many of them to perhaps become complacent, taking much of what they had for granted. However, there is no doubt that their revolutionary spirit has been reignited by NATO’s bombs and they are standing behind the Al Fateh revolution. As one female student from Al Fateh University put it, “Libya is our mother and Qaddafi is our father.”
NATO – North Atlantic Terrorist Organization
Since the onset of colonialism hundreds of years ago, Western Europeans have carried out a policy of genocide that plundered throughout the world. NATO comprises these same old tribes of Europe organized under a modern day umbrella.
The number of Iraqis slaughtered in the ongoing U.S. war and occupation of Iraq, now in its ninth year, is estimated at 1,455,590 – not to mention the numbers murdered in Afghanistan, Somalia, Cote d’Ivoire and conflicts all over the world set in motion either covertly or overtly by these terrorists. No people in the entire history of humanity have made war on all peoples and murdered more people than these North Atlantic Tribes. This is a historical fact.
Qaddafi – African hero
Only leaders who are determined to live for their people are prepared to die for their people. Young Libyans from the Student Revolutionary Committees in the streets of Tripoli chant, “Allah, Qaddafi, Libya.” The overwhelming majority of Libyans, young and old, love him. And then there is the massive outpouring of love and support that has come from every corner of the globe, where people, organizations and liberation movements, all of whom have received assistance from him at one time or other, have raised their voices against NATO’s unprovoked aggression.
But nowhere is Qaddafi loved more than in Africa. His genuine commitment to our liberation is known to all Africans. African youth support his vision. Rappers have called him an “African Hero.” Tuaregs and freedom fighters from all over the continent have joined with the Libyan people to defend Tripoli. The Pan-African movement has been re-energized. It is no accident that it took an attack on the man who said, “The Black race shall prevail throughout the world,” to galvanize the movement which is capable of bringing about the dream of Garvey and Nkrumah – a dream which Muammar Qaddafi has pursued at his own peril.
Tingba Muhammad, in an excellent article in The Final Call, made the following indisputable points:
“Since he came to leadership in that oil-rich nation in 1969, Col. Qaddafi has amassed a record of accomplishment for Black Africa unmatched in modern history. Using his nation’s oil revenues, he has set the exploited former Italian colony firmly on the road to true independence … [T]hose who take the time to look past the litany of white lies about Qaddafi will be introduced to a man whose progressive record of accomplishments very well may be unmatched by ANYONE who has ever led a nation in modern times. And this is not hyperbole! We will take it further: If this man – Muammar Qaddafi – ever ran for president of America with a résumé like his, we dare say EVERY American would not only vote for him, but would angrily trash the 22nd amendment to the Constitution to allow him to serve forever!”
‘Wathint abafazi wathint imbokotho’ – ‘You strike a woman, you strike a rock’
They are amongst the most highly educated female population in Africa and the Arab world. They are free to dress with or without the headscarf, because Qaddafi understands that Islam cannot be enforced by a “moral police force,” harassing and beating people in the streets for not dressing in hijab and not praying on time.
Adhering to the edict articulated by Prophet Muhammad, stating that “there can be no compulsion in religion,” Qaddafi knows that the only way forward is to raise the consciousness of the people. What protects the Islamic tradition and way of life in Libya is that their very liberation is derived from the true emancipatory spirit of Islam. They have been able to hold onto their traditions while shedding the reactionary pre-Islamic residue that permeates so much of the Muslim world.
No one is clearer than the women of Libya about what to expect from the backward, al-Qaeda inspired Benghazi counter-revolutionaries, and they are having none of it.
Sarkozy – the wicked pied piper
NATO is arming and fighting alongside al Qaeda in Libya after telling the world for years that al Qaeda is the single largest threat to their national security. At the same time, they continue to claim that they are fighting al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Somalia. This might seem like a contradictory and confused foreign policy; however, it is classical Machiavellian policy at play and nobody plays Machiavellian politics better than Europeans. War criminal Henry Kissinger summed it up many years ago when he said, “We do not have permanent friends or permanent enemies – we only have permanent interests.”
Obama, Cameron, Berlusconi and other European leaders were led on a merry dance by French president and white supremacist Sarkozy. His real reason for France’s frantic move against Libya was his government’s embarrassing failure to save their minion, Zinedine Ben Ali, in Tunisia in an election year.
We know this man Sarkozy by his actions and his words. He is on record as saying, in true Hegelian spirit, that “The tragedy of Africa is that the African man has never really entered history. The African peasant has known only the eternal renewal of time via the endless repetition of the same actions and the same words. In this mentality, where everything always starts over again, there is no place for human adventure or for any idea of progress.” He added, “Africa’s problem is that its present is permeated with nostalgia for the paradise of its lost childhood.”
They call it democracy – we know it as hypocrisy
Muammar Qaddafi has handed out kalashnikovs to an entire people. Libya is one of maybe only two countries in the world, the other being Cuba, that could arm their people under these circumstances. Why?
Could Sarkozy, Cameron, Obama or for that matter the sheikdoms in the Arab world who have lined up against Qaddafi, hand out kalashnikovs like pancakes to their populace under the same circumstances? I think not.
In fact, in Bahrain, Saudi Arabia was called on to invade and brutally suppress the rebellion. The Bahraini ruling family is certainly not arming the people. When the Saudis brutally suppressed the uprising in Bahrain, not a word was uttered from the “international community” – international community being a euphemism for the U.S. and Western Europe. And if a few words were uttered by Hillary Clinton, it was done for the sake of protocol and meant nothing.
Kwame Ture Speaks
He made an interesting point about the double standards that the West applied when dealing with Africa, which is particularly relevant to what is happening in Libya today. He observed that when sections of society in Europe or the United States disagree, even violently disagree, it is called pluralism and this is said to be a vital ingredient of their democracy.
It is never said that the U.S. is undemocratic because they disagree. On the contrary, it is, according to them, what makes it democratic. Our people on the other hand are not allowed to have differences or disagreements. When we do, it is called disunity and dissent, never pluralism. When revolutionary leaders defend their revolutions against counter-revolutionary uprisings, they are called brutal dictators.
The contradiction is that throughout the history of the United States, any uprising against America’s injustice has always been suppressed violently; and Kwame would remind us that he was one that knew this from personal experience.
The Libyan rebels make up an estimated 2 percent of the entire Libyan population. What is the percentage of people who disagreed with George W. Bush or who now disagree with Barak Obama? In fact, Bush only received 50.7 percent of the U.S. citizens’ vote and Obama only 52.9 percent. There is a great deal of dissent there.
In the Green Book, Muammar Qaddafi has this to say:
“Political struggle which culminates in the victory of a candidate obtaining 51 percent of the total votes of the electorate establishes a dictatorship in the seat of power garbed in the guise of democracy. It is in fact, a dictatorship because 49 percent of the electorate would then be governed by an instrument of government they did not vote for and which has been imposed upon them. This is the essence of dictatorship … under such systems the people are the victims whose votes are vied for by exploitative competing factions, who dupe the people into political circuses that are outwardly noisy and frantic, but inwardly powerless and irrelevant.”
Let us put one fallacy to rest forever: Europeans do not have a monopoly on the theory and practice of democracy. It is not my intention here to enter into what is a huge discussion of what constitutes democracy. Suffice to say, that Western Europe and the U.S. – which continue to this day to brutally enforce their undemocratic systems of colonialism, neo-colonialism and capitalism worldwide – are not in either a moral or historical position to lecture the world on what is or is not democratic.
Those who promote democracy, European and U.S. style, must be aware that the fathers of the American Revolution excluded the indigenous peoples and the captured Africans from their “democratic” project. Same with the French revolutionaries, who in 1789 were proclaiming “liberty, equality and fraternity” but were not prepared to extend these principles to the captured Africans working on their plantations in the Caribbean.
However fallacious the Western notion of democracy may be, the only thing that matters from an African perspective is that the West is prevented from continuing to impose this fallacious notion on us. They can, as far as we are concerned, have whatever political system they choose. The point is, so can we as Africans.
This is what we are fighting for: Our inalienable right to self-determination, to freely decide our own destiny. That is what it means to finally throw off the yoke of colonialism and imperialism, and that is what Libya dared to do under the leadership of Muammar Qaddafi. And Qaddafi dared to extend this vision to the entire African continent. In the words of the Afrocentric intellectual warrior, Dr. Molefi Kete Asante:
“The work of the brother leader, as he is sometimes called, has been to raise African consciousness to the point that some of the nations on the continent of Africa begin to reject the loyalty they hold for their colonial masters … Qaddafi has proposed that Africa do away with travel restrictions, create a common currency and ease trade tariffs and barriers. This African solidarity is not only a threat to the West; some who identify as Arabs have a difficult time accepting the ‘Africanity’ promoted by Qaddafi.”
The battle for African self-determination did not start in Libya or with Qaddafi; it is a very long battle stretching back to the earliest incursions into Africa. And it is not the first time that Africans have faced such a sophisticated and deadly European attack; we can look way back at the battle of Isandlwana in 1879, where the arrogant British army, one of the most technologically advanced in the world at that time, was humbled by the Zulu fighters under the leadership of the great African king, Cetshwayo.
What this “Coalition of Demons”’ currently attacking Libya, armed with the most sophisticated weaponry known to humankind, is slowly coming to realize is that they could well be defeated by the will of the Libyan people armed with their faith, revolutionary consciousness and kalashnikovs.
Fear of a Black planet
‘Up you mighty race, you can accomplish what you will’ – Marcus Garvey
‘The Black race shall prevail throughout the world’ – Muammar Qaddafi
Africans on the continent and throughout the diaspora were recently given a tiny glimpse of the kind of power that Africa can possess when Jean Ping, speaking on behalf of the African Union, directed all member states to ignore the International Colonial Court’s (ICC) call for Qaddafi’s arrest. Jean Ping stated that “the ICC is discriminatory because it only pursues Africans. The Hague-based court ignores crimes committed by Western powers in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Thank you, Jean Ping.
However, it is the African youth on the continent and in the diaspora who are leading and inspiring us towards true independence. Tendai Wenyika, deputy general secretary of the Pan-African Youth Union, addressing the recent African Union heads of state summit in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, called on African leaders to “demand the arrest of the likes of Obama, Cameron and Sarkozy who, through their unprovoked war, have violated the supreme tenets of the Nuremburg Principles and committed the crime of all crimes …We call for the suspension of all engagements with NATO; and Africa must begin to strengthen its internal ties, security and trade mechanisms in order for us to prosper.”
As I have stated in previous articles, there is nothing that white power fears more than a united Africa. They know that a united Africa would completely alter the balance of power globally. The well-documented fact is, if Africa stopped the flow of all resources and raw materials to the Western nations for just one week, the United States and Europe would grind to a halt.
In 2007, in Conakry, Guinea, Qaddafi made a simple observation to a cheering crowd of thousands:
“Whenever I ask people about Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola, people immediately say it’s an American or European drink. This is not true. The kola is African. They have taken the cheap raw material from us, they’ve made it into a drink and they sell it back to us for a high price. We should be producing it ourselves and selling it to them.”
If only Africa could realize its immense power. Realizing this power is primarily a psychological transition, since the material facts are overwhelmingly clear. Almost every known natural resource needed to run the contemporary industrial economies, such as uranium, gold, copper, cobalt, coltan – for cell phones, video games and laptops – platinum, diamonds, bauxite and especially large reserves of oil are located in Africa.
Azania – South Africa – alone contains half the world’s gold reserves. Democratic Republic of Congo contains half of the world’s cobalt and 80 percent of the world’s known coltan reserves. One quarter of the world’s aluminum ore is found in the coastal belt of West Africa and the continent is awash in petroleum reserves.
Time for ‘us’ to put sanctions on ‘them’
It is time to stop the flow of these strategic resources to the Western capitals until they meet our demands. Yes, it is time for us to sanction the Western capitals. The Global Pan-African Movement and the African masses are crying out for it. The time is now. Africans everywhere must exert maximum pressure on their leaders to realize this power, as Muammar Qaddafi dared to, or move aside.
“But how would we survive if we were to sanction these Western capitals,” I can hear the detractors cry. Answer: There are huge emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil who will be only too happy to pick up the slack.
Already, this is the West’s greatest fear. In an article titled, “Wen calls for more Access for Africa,” which appeared in 2007 in the Financial Times, W. Wallis and G. Dyer wrote:
In another article, “China and the USA in a new cold war over Africa’s oil riches: Darfur? It’s the oil, stupid,” William Engdahl points out:
“Today China draws an estimated 30 percent of its crude oil from Africa. That explains an extraordinary series of diplomatic initiatives which have left Washington furious. China is using no-strings-attached dollar credits to gain access to Africa’s vast raw material wealth, leaving Washington’s typical control game via the World Bank and IMF out in the cold. Who needs the painful medicine of the IMF when China gives easy terms and builds roads and schools to boot?”
What does all this mean for Africa? Quite simply, it means that we now have a choice in trading partners; and although all trading partners drive a hard bargain, some are giving better deals than others.
Black power – African power!
This is the moment to put all our efforts into the realization of Nkrumah and Qaddafi’s grand plan for a United States of Africa. A strong and truly independent Africa with one government, one defense force and one currency based on our African gold standard, as Qaddafi has proposed.
Only when we can achieve this level of unity and power will we be able to take our rightful place in the world. Only then can we say that the time is finally over when Africa must run from one power broker to another to do our bidding. At last, we will be able to do our own bidding on our own terms. Backed by a population of 1 billion people, Africa will then be able to make demands that cannot be ignored.
In 2009, at a meeting of the African Union in Addis Ababa, Qaddafi, commenting on European and U.S. attitudes to Africa, had this to say, “If they do not want to live with us fairly, then they should know it is our planet and they can go to another planet.”
Fair and just is all we are seeking; only the unfair and unjust have anything to fear from a Black planet.
Gerald A. Perreira is a founding member of the Guyanese organizations, Joint Initiative for Human Advancement and Dignity and Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG). He lived in Libya for many years, served in the Green March – an international battalion for the defense of the Libyan revolution – and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.This story previously appeared in the Final Call and on Black Agenda Report and other sites.