By now everyone’s heard about what’s happening in Libya — a civil war, in which rebel forces are fighting to depose the brutal leader, Moammar Gadhafi. The good news is that the rebels are doing very well. They’ve taken Tripoli, forced Gadhafi out of his compound, and are in the midst of forming a transitional government. This, despite the fact that Gadhafi, who is in a hideout somewhere, has said he and his forces will continue fighting. In a word, the rebels appear to have won. But it’s not all good news.
Although many of the anti-Gadhafi Libyans were ostensibly fighting for their freedom, as of late, they’ve been denying that freedom to thousands of people around them. According to numerous reports out of Libya, the rebel forces have been rounding up Blacks in the nation and imprisoning them. At the start of the civil war, Gadhafi padded his forces with mercenaries, many of whom came from sub-Saharan Africa. Now that the anti-Gadhafi rebels are in control, they’ve started arresting Blacks wholesale under the assumption that they’re pro-Gadhafi.
Some of the people being arrested are indeed mercenary fighters, but others are merely innocent migrant workers, and the rebel fighters are having a hard time distinguishing between the two. An Associated Press reporter said he witnessed rebels “punching a dozen black men before determining they were innocent migrant workers and releasing them.” Other reporters claim Blacks are being outright murdered (that writer links to a video of a Black man reportedly being killed by an angry Libyan mob. Be warned that the video is graphic).
The especially sad part about this is that the Libyan people should be celebrating their victory — they toppled one of the world’s most reviled dictators, and that’s a good thing, regardless of what happens to the Libyan government from here on out. But it’s all being marred by this current wave of racist killings. While they’re understandably angry, the Libyan people must remember not to become that which they’ve been fighting against all these decades.
(Photo: AP Photo/Francois Mori)