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"We do not make any distinction among people on grounds of colour. And we do not discriminate against our brothers from African countries."

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September 19, 2011, From Reuters:

GENEVA (Reuters) - Libya's National Transitional Council (NTC) pledged on Monday to treat foreigners accused of fighting for ousted leader Muammar Gaddafi well, and denied that anti-Gaddafi fighters had committed systematic abuse of Africans.
Mohammed al-Alagi, identified as the minister of justice and human rights of the NTC, told the U.N. Human Rights Council that Gaddafi had used mercenaries to kill Libyans, but that any who were captured would be treated fairly.

"The Gaddafi regime declared war on the Libyan people, and used foreign mercenaries," al-Alagi said. "But when captured they will still have the right to an appropriate trial before an ordinary judge and according to international law."

He added: "We do not make any distinction among people on grounds of colour. And we do not discriminate against our brothers from African countries."
Al-Alagi said that the NTC would investigate fully any violations of human rights committed by its fighters.

"There have been no war crimes (by anti-Gaddafi forces)," he said. "If anything illegal has happened, it was individual acts by revolutionaries who were not acting under instructions from the NTC. We have called on the revolutionaries to treat prisoners according to Islamic Shariah and international law."

There is something that I have been meaning to point out about the the Qaddafi mercenaries that is important for every one to remember: Most of them are victims too.

I'm not talking here about the black African immigrants that have been mistaken for mercenaries. They are already twice victimized. First as the abused and second as the accused. I'm talking about the one's who really were fighting against the revolution, the one's who took lives and committed atrocities.

While a handful fit the "Soldier of Fortune" image we have been taught to associate with mercenaries, and some fought out of a confused idealogical loyalty to Qaddafi, many became mercenaries pretty much the same way British seamen in a certain period became sailors, in a word, they were Shanghaied.

If you have been following this uprising for the past 8 months you've heard the stories. Africans who were lured by a "free" plane ride to Tripoli, only when they got there they found a gun in their hands and one at their back, marching them off to war. Others were told that they were needed to fight against atrocities committed against innocent people, or to fight al Qaeda and other terrorists. A tale that is also used to lure high school students in the US to their deaths.

Still others, faced with starving children at home and no job prospects, found it impossible to refuse the chance to earn an illusionary $1000/week for doing this good work. The Qaddafi regime has spent more than four decades cultivating it's skills at luring Africans to war. I will post more on that latter.

I hope that all involved will remember this and treat even the genuine mercenaries with compassion and mercy. As criminals they should be tried and punished according to law. As defeated and captured soldiers they should be objects of our pity, not our vengeance.

As one blogger for the African Herald Express wrote about:

how many are conscripted by Gadhafi and forced to defend themselves or die facing Gadhafi’s opponents and defectors. It is a no win situation for these poor Africans that went to Libya for fortune or were working there when civil war broke out.

If the NTC and the Libyan people do this they will stand high among the nations. They will show to an increasingly violent world, that even though a people sometimes must resort to violence to win their freedom, they will not be ruled by it.

This is the next great lesson you need to teach the world.

Mummar Qaddafi has been especially careful to cultivate loyalty among the Tuaregs, a black African tribe spread over southern Libya, Niger and Algeria. Suggested reading for more background on that relationship should probably include this:
GADDAFI AND THE TOUAREG: Love, hate and petro-dollars

Touareg attitudes to Gaddafi vary wildly, depending on country of origin and history (First published by Monocle Magazine - Online only, March 2011)

Here is the story of one of Qaddafi's Tuaregs mercenaries:

Former Qaddafi Mercenaries Describe Fighting in Libyan War

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of ethnic Tuaregs left Mali to fight for Muammar Qaddafi. Now, some are returning home to tell their story

TIMBUKTU, Mali — Last month at a guesthouse within sight of the rolling dunes of the open Sahara, I sat down to await one of Muammar Qaddafi’s mercenaries. Through an intermediary he agreed to meet and explain why the Tuareg — an ancient Saharan people who inhabit large desert swathes of Libya, Mali, Niger, and Algeria — would help the Libyan leader crush the democracy protests — including unarmed civilians, women, and children — and eventually join in all-out war against the ensuing rebellion

read more here...

See especially,
Racism in Libya
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
for more on this question.

For more background on the Libyan Revolution and links to lots of information see my other writings at the DailyKos and WikiLeaks Central:
Why is Chris Hedges calling for "boots on the ground" in Libya?
The Worm Has Turned: Good Film on Libyan Revolution from PressTV
Why NATO's mission in Libya isn't over yet
Libya's Freedom Fighters: How They Won
Racism in Libya
Abdul Rahman Gave his Eyes to See the End of Qaddafi
BREAKING: Secret files reveal Dennis Kucinich talks with Qaddafi Regime
BREAKING: Libyan TNC won't extradite Lockerbie bomber
Who really beat Qaddafi?
#Feb17: @NATO Please help MEDEVAC wounded from #Libya
What should those that opposed NATO's intervention in Libya demand now?
BREAKING: Qaddafi's Tripoli Compound Falls!
Does PDA Support Qaddafi?
BREAKING: Operation Mermaid Dawn, the Battle to Liberate Tripoli is Joined
Helter Skelter: Qaddafi's African Adventure
Qaddafi's Long Arm
SCOOP: My Lai or Qaddafi Lie? More on the 85 Civilians presumed killed by NATO
Did NATO kill 85 Libyan Villagers As Qaddafi Regime Contends?
CCDS Statement on Libya - a Critique
The Assassination of General Abdul Fattah Younis
NATO over Tripoli - Air Strikes in the Age of Twitter
How Many Libyans has NATO Killed?
Qaddafi Terror Files Start to Trickle Out!
Have Libyan Rebels Committed Human Rights Abuses?
Tripoli Green Square Reality Check
Behind the Green Curtain: Libya Today
Gilbert Achcar on the Libyan situation and the Left
NATO slammed for Libya civilian deaths NOT!
2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March
NATO's Game Plan in Libya
February 21st - Tripoli's Long Night
Did Qaddafi Bomb Peaceful Protesters?
Tripoli Burn Notice
Libyans, Palestinians & Israelis
'Brother' Qaddafi Indicted plus Libya & Syria: Dueling Rally Photofinishs
An Open Letter to ANSWER
ANSWER answers me
2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum
Are they throwing babies out of incubators yet?
Continuing Discussion with a Gaddafi Supporter
Boston Globe oped supports Gaddafi with fraudulent journalism
2011-04-13 Doha summit supports Libyan rebels
Current Events in Libya
Amonpour Plays Softball with Gaddafi
Arming Gaddfi
North African Revolution Continues
Is Libya Next? Anonymous Debates New Operation

Originally posted to Linux Beach on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 01:26 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

    by Clay Claiborne on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 01:26:34 PM PDT

  •  Good news and important diary. (0+ / 0-)

    Denise pointed this potential problem out a few weeks ago.  

    The American people must wise up and rise up!

    by TomP on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 01:48:04 PM PDT

  •  Nice words from the LTC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'll believe it when I see it. Only time will tell.  

    However, the LTC's claim, as reported in that article, that rebel fighters did not commit abuse of black Africans is, of course,  a lie, so I'm not that optomistic.

  •  I don't think the NTC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is really in control of the situation, although I hope this helps.

    The fact that they are denying such abuse has occurred is less than satisfying in that there is much evidence to the contrary.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam - Washington isn't broken -- it's fixed.

    by chuckvw on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 02:02:47 PM PDT

    •  I think that's illustrated by the statement: (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      "If anything illegal has happened, it was individual acts by revolutionaries who were not acting under instructions from the NTC."  That's primarily what has been reported, the acts were by those not beholden to the NTC.  It will take some time before we get a true accounting.  

      S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

      by BigAlinWashSt on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 02:13:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  That's an important point that I should add to the (0+ / 0-)


      While opponents of the revolution want to lay every abuse and atrocity at the feet of the NTC, that is not fair.

      While from an international and human rights POV view, that may have some credibility because they represent the new governing authority, they have yet to even put down the last pockets of resistance from the Qaddafi gang, let alone secure the whole country. Even in the United States, the government can't protect it's citizens from racists attacks, and the treatment of it's immigrants, even by local governing authorities, leaves much to be desired.

      Remember history, Clay Claiborne, Director Vietnam: American Holocaust - narrated by Martin Sheen

      by Clay Claiborne on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 02:47:26 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mighty nice of them to do that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Black Agenda Report has been all over this story for six months now.

  •  the tnc also announced today (0+ / 0-)

    a percentage of the new parliament should be reserved for women.

    i caught a pbs special on the tuareg tribe where it was noted that they were a matriarchal ordered culture. so, for people who scoff this is merely window dressing meant to appease the west, this beginning nod towards gender equality could also be an expression of an indigenous strain from within the country. certainly, the US couldn't be described as matriarchal.

    i read somewhere china and/or iran has a higher percentage of women in their parliament than we have in congress.

    Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want rain without thunder and lightening...Power [including obama] concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~ Frederick Douglass

    by stolen water on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 06:35:13 PM PDT

  •  clay, (0+ / 0-)

    it should also be mentioned that blacks were part of the ranks of the rebels in fighting against gaddafi. i saw them fighting side by side in brega.

    i caught one photo that pointed to a black rebel officer in uniform. it showed other rebels deferring to him.

    let me see if i can find it.

    Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation…want rain without thunder and lightening...Power [including obama] concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. ~ Frederick Douglass

    by stolen water on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 06:45:20 PM PDT

  •  Qaddafi responsible for genocide in Liberia and (0+ / 0-)

    Sierra Leone.  The general public has no idea how much blood that psychopath has on his hands.

    He has been sponsoring destabilizing "revolutionary" militias for 30 years in West Africa.

    Two of them, those of Charles Taylor and Foday Sankoh, "leaders" in Liberia and Sierra Leone, were notorious for chopping off people's hands to "send a message," often without having any particular message to send.  Mostly it was to inspire generalized terror.  Taylor destroyed Liberia, leading to the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people.

    Taylor was a petty crook and embezzler with a few political ambitions until he spent two years in Libya receiving "training."  After that, Qaddafi funded his invasion of Liberia from Ivory Coast, which eventually led to Taylor's taking over the country and running one of the most brutal and corrupt regimes in history -- the regime responsible for the concept of "blood diamond."

    Taylor is on trial for crimes against humanity in the Hague right now.

    During his trial, he has, remarkably, asked the court in open session why Qaddafi isn't on trial with him.

    •  thank you. (0+ / 0-)

      smash the chair, break the needle!

      by stolen water on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 04:49:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the meaning of hands chopped off: (0+ / 0-)
      According to several prosecution witnesses, when Sierra Leoneans were preparing to vote in the 1996 presidential and parliamentary elections, Mr. Sankoh was enraged. In order to disrupt the elections, witnesses said, he ordered his troops to cut off the hands of civilians. The slogan for the 1996 election was "the future is in your hands" — according to prosecution witnesses, cutting off those hands was meant to incapacitate civilians from voting. Mr. Taylor knew about this operation and gave it his blessing by providing more support to RUF rebels, prosecutors have alleged.

      smash the chair, break the needle!

      by stolen water on Thu Sep 22, 2011 at 04:56:04 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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