Newscast Media HOUSTON, Texas — Gadhafi’s 40-year rule saw a wave of migrant workers move to Libya for better jobs, adopting the country as their very own. This all changed over six months ago when the war against Gadhafi and rebels erupted and allegations of foreign mercenaries fighting for the government were made not only by the rebels, but also by the foreign press. Suddenly, the community of migrant workers, most of whom are black from sub-Saharan Africa, lost the sense of security they once had, because they were being accused of being mercenaries themselves.
There were reports that Gadhafi had recruited Tuareg mercenaries from Mali and Niger. On March 17, 2011, The Australian reported that Libya’s deputy UN envoy, Ibrahim Dabbashi, who had turned against Gaddafi, said “the international community has to act within the next 10 hours”.
He said he had information that Gaddafi forces, backed by hundreds of mercenaries from Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Burundi and Chad, were preparing major offensives in eastern and western Chad.
To make matters worse for the black community living in Libya who may have been innocent and had nothing to do with the mercenaries, the Zimbabwe Mail reported that Zimbabwean troops and Libyan government forces had taken several towns both East and West of Tripoli, the capital, driving out rebel groups that have been calling for foreign military intervention.
“…The Zimbabwe National Army and its Airforce are heavily involved in the fierce battles between forces loyal to Colonel Mammaur Gaddafi and the rebels forces, sources in the Zimbabwe military intelligence revealed this afternoon. Libyan government soldiers backed by Zimbabwean troops battled rebels on the road to the insurgent stronghold of Benghazi on Thursday as the United States raised the possibility of air strikes to stop Muammar Gaddafi’s forces,” the paper reported.
The news continued to spread like a wildfire fueled by Middle Eastern newspaper Al-Arabiya’s publication of photos of dead mercenaries, which were picked up by a prominent Arabian blog that had several tweets and photo IDs of mercenaries, under the headline, “Libya’s African Mercenary Problem.”
What we now see are the after effects of these previously-reported events implicating black Africans or Africans as they are referred to in Libya. Libyans consider themselves Arabs so they refer to African natives as Africans. Indeed North Africa was once occupied by the Moors and the Berbers before the Arab invasion, who were consequently displaced and replaced, and are now the minority in North Africa.
Some have referred to this selective persecution of blacks in Libya as racism, while others refer to it as revenge for supporting Gadhafi at the beginning of the war. Yet this scenario of one dominant group taunting another is all too familiar, not just in Africa but around the world.
In sub-Saharan Africa, if there were riots in which non-blacks were implicated, they too would face the same kind of wrath from the native Africans. Recently Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni had to back off giving away Uganda’s largest forest reserve to Indians because they faced threats of violence or their businesses being burned to the ground by native Ugandans. In Zimbabwe the native Africans retaliated against whites and seized their farms with orders from the state, and the UK Telegraph wrote an article about the end of an era of Zimbabwe’s last farmers.
However, what is troubling about the Libya situation is that NATO claimed its presence was for humanitarian purposes, yet not even the president of the United States or his Secretary of State have condemned the violence against blacks that has emanated from the war they started.