It is a year since the brutal killing of Muammar Qaddafi and the installation of NATO’s proxy government in Tripoli. The installed government is not in control and heavily armed militias and foreign mercenaries are running the show. This past year has been one of chaos and savagery. Thousands have been hunted down, imprisoned or killed. Hundreds of thousands have fled to neighboring countries to flee the persecution. The images emerging from the current siege of Bani Walid are gruesome. NATO’s henchmen are attacking their own people with bombs and chemical weapons, injuring and killing scores of civilians. Women, children and old people lie maimed or dismembered on the side of the roads, many of them buried in the rubble. Residents tell stories of bombs filled with burning toxic gases and white phosphorous raining down from missiles. Scorched victims of the constant shelling are proof of the sinister nature of the Islamist militias and the fascist government forces which have been ordered to use ‘all necessary means to deal with Bani Walid’. Where is the ‘international community’ condemnation? Where is Amnesty? And where is NATO? Why has the Security Council not called an emergency session to address this atrocity? Where is the ‘humanitarian intervention’? Russia finally put forward a draft statement to the UN Security Council calling for ‘a peaceful resolution to the ongoing crisis’ - a lukewarm response to a ‘killing fields’ scenario and even this was blocked by the US. This is the freedom sanctioned by NATO in Libya – accept the mark of the beast or die.
Where is the African Union?
Ethnic cleansing of people with black skin is being carried out by Arab Supremacists and where is the African Union? The answer is that its troops, drawn from neo-colonial African countries, are mired down in Somalia and the Democratic Republic of Congo, fighting imperialism’s battles under the command of AFRICOM. Since Qaddafi’s murder, all but three African countries have accepted US military occupation in the form of AFRICOM. And what about the Eurocentric left in the US, Europe, Canada and elsewhere – it seems they are so confused over Libya and the Arab Spring thing, that they are unable to put up any effective opposition to the murder and mayhem that their governments are perpetrating. It is so much more comfortable and easier all round to join the frenzy over Pussy Riot, while the siege of Libya and Bani Walid, which can easily be compared to the ‘killing fields’ of Cambodia, is unfolding before their eyes. There is no question that the Islamist militias that have surrounded Bani Walid are certainly on a par with the Khmer Rouge.
Everything you can imagine and everything you can’t…
Bani Walid, like many other towns and neighborhoods loyal to the Al Fateh revolution, has been under constant siege since NATO first invaded. Two years later the residents have no food, water, electricity, medicine or even oxygen for the hospitals but they have set up their own television station which broadcasts daily, and no matter how desperate their situation they continue to resist the savage hordes at the gates of their city. The current onslaught is entering its fourth week, part of a killing and maiming spree which has been on-going since the NATO led invasion of the Libyan Jamahiriya. It is only in the last few days that the dominant global media has broadcast news from Bani Walid, and only then because the horror of what is taking place there could no longer be ignored.
The events that have unfolded in Libya over the past year have occurred away from the eyes of the world. Imperialist media outlets, such as BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera were told to turn their cameras off so that NATO’s thugs could quietly engage in a cleanup operation, that is, to finish off the necessary racial and ideological cleansing. NATO expected that these vicious militias would have finished the ‘mop-up’ by now, but once again they failed to understand the true dynamic of this battle.
There is no doubt that NATO has destroyed much of Libya but that was an attack on material structures – albeit a devastating one. However, this battle is not being fought on the material plane alone. It is therefore wholly different to anything that the North Atlantic Tribes can conceive of. They should take note of a catch phrase taken from an old Libyan tourism poster which describes the Jamahiriya as ‘everything you can imagine and everything you can’t’. This is a battle being fought on many planes, including the metaphysical plane – it is not something that can be exterminated with physical force alone, no matter how great that force is.
The real revolution will definitely not be televised…
Bani Walid is a bastion of resistance, sheltering many of those who fled the Black Libyan town of Tawergha and numerous Africans living in Libya, all of whom are escaping the persecution meted out towards anyone whose skin is black. The Muslims of Bani Walid refused to accept that people with black skin are to be hunted and killed, since this is antithetical to the teaching of Islam. There are Libyans of every skin shade in Bani Walid – Libyans who believe in Muammar Qaddafi’s vision of a truly independent Libya taking its rightful place in a United States of Africa. On the anniversary of the slaying of Shaheed Muammar Qaddafi, we salute the heroic resistance of all those at Bani Walid, Sirte, Abu Salim, Janzur, Kufra and all over Libya, all of whom are willing to die rather than accept the ‘mark of the beast’. Let our defiant brothers and sisters in Bani Walid know that they should not worry about the fact that their cause is receiving little or no corporate global media attention. They dare not televise the real revolution. Nevertheless, the real revolution is acknowledged by millions of people throughout the world who stand in solidarity with the real revolutionaries, inspired by some of the greatest acts of defiance and resistance seen in our times. This is how the battles of Sirte and Bani Walid will be recorded by us. In the words of the Brother Leader: ‘I live in a place where you cannot reach me. I live in the hearts of millions of people’.
You came, you didn’t see, he died…
‘Today many Americans are asking, indeed I asked myself, how could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate? In a city we helped save from destruction…’,wailed Hillary Clinton, upon hearing the news that Christopher Stevens had been murdered in Benghazi.
Let’s just put it this way Hillary, everything is not as it seems. One thing we know for sure is that no US ambassador or diplomatic staff would have been killed if you and your NATO allies had not destroyed Libya and murdered Muammar Qaddafi. Put the blame where it belongs. ‘You came, you didn’t see, he died’. You are way out of your depth.
This ‘Arab Spring’ Thing
Regardless of the amount of damage control, lies and spin that comes out of Washington, nothing can clean up the mess they have gotten themselves into with their so-called Arab Spring – a construct straight out of their warped imaginations. The sad thing is that so many commentators and activists are also talking about an Arab Spring as if it exists, allowing Empire to name, set the agenda and call the shots –what it should be called, where and when, and how it should be understood. Via their globally dominant media outlets, they feed people a daily diatribe of simplistic binary oppositions – ‘the good guys and the bad guys’. In the real world it is not so simple but in fact highly complex. So highly complex, that without an in-depth knowledge of the region’s history, politics, religious issues and theological discourse, no commentator would be in a position to make sense of current events. While we expect right wing pundits to regurgitate imperialist propaganda, there is an enormous amount of confusion even in progressive circles with regard to Libya, so much so that we have witnessed a convergence of the ‘left’ and ‘right’. One reason for this is that both sides are analyzing events using Eurocentric paradigms – paradigms which are reductionist, incomplete, flawed and incapable of providing an accurate understanding of what is taking place.
Following the hijacking of uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt, and the subsuming of unrest across the region into a ‘one size fits all’, using that key phrase – ‘Arab Spring’, the Empire was on a roll. It was then that they committed their worst blunder - a calamity so catastrophic that its fall out will haunt them for decades to come. They handed the most progressive and prosperous country in all of Africa on a platter to a conglomerate of religious deviants (Salafi Islamists). Their plan was to use these Salafi Islamists to get rid of Qaddafi and destroy the Libyan Jamahiriya, and with it, any possibility of a truly independent Africa and the specter of an African currency based on Africa’s gold standard. And they did use them to achieve this objective, but the Salafis, who have had a long and tedious love-hate relationship with white supremacists/imperialists, were also using NATO.
The US and their European allies had no qualms about backing Al Qaeda affiliated thugs to finally get rid of Muammar Qaddafi. They had attempted to assassinate Muammar Qaddafi a number of times over the years and failed. They imagined that after ridding themselves of Qaddafi they could set up sham elections, fly in some ‘moderate’ and out of touch Libyan emigres in suits and set up a proxy government. Their plan was to marginalize the Islamist thugs, send them packing after using them to do their dirty work, patch things up sufficiently with an inept government that would implement their sham democracy, and then get their hands on some of the world’s best sweet crude. At the same time, with Qaddafi out of the way, they could ensure unhindered access to the continent, something they need at any cost for their very survival.
The imperialists and their oil companies are now in Libya in full force. However, their victory posturing was short lived. Their poorly hatched plan has backfired. US foreign policy has always suffered from the ignorance of successive presidents and their mouthpieces, including their intelligence services, which are inept at best. As one US general said regarding the war in Afghanistan, ‘we are flying blind’. When we listen to the nonsense emanating from their ‘think tanks’, such as the Hoover Institute and the Heritage Foundation, we are left incredulous that they could be so ill-informed and misguided.
‘Who’s Gonna Stop Dem Now?’
US imperialist blunders, resulting in immeasurable amounts of human suffering, are nothing new on this earth. Obama’s administration is just one in a long line of US administrations with no real understanding of the Arab and African worlds. Following Obama’s election, Muammar Qaddafi, along with Hugo Chavez and other progressive world leaders, expressed their hope that Obama might bring a different mindset to the White House. However, a few months after Obama’s inauguration, they came to the disappointing conclusion that this liberal from Chicago had no real understanding of the world and had in fact, as we say in the Caribbean, ‘hung his hat up where he could not reach it’. In other words, he was out of his depth and his European allies are no better informed.
This is why NATO leaders did not know that Abdelhakim Belhadj and his followers could not be used and then disposed of. They were too busy using the Islamists to see that in fact, it was the Islamists who were using them - the US and NATO – a scenario that is currently being replayed in Syria. In both cases the imperialists are being out played at their own game of deception. The fact is that a few months ago the same people who were waving US flags and hailing the US as their ‘liberators’ are now chanting ‘death to America’ and burning US flags. Hillary - you came, but you didn’t see. The battle raging in Libya today, in Bani Walid and throughout the nation, predates Qaddafi’s 1969 revolution. There is no ‘Arab Spring’ – the ‘Arab Spring’ is a Neo-Con ideological construct.
Qaddafi warned the world about the Salafis – no one knew them better than he and his fellow Libyans. This battle raging out of Benghazi and Bani Walid is as old as Islam itself. I have heard commentators talking about Qaddafi’s cooperation with the CIA and MI5 when he negotiated with them to get the Libyan detainees returned to Libya. Following these negotiations, Belhadj and other returnees from the Afghan war were able to return home.
Some progressive commentators, who unfortunately, are so caught up in a textbook interpretation of events, that they have ceased themselves to understand the complexity of what they would term ‘realpolitik’, and have as a result misunderstood what happened in Libya post 9/11. The leaders of this recent rebellion in Benghazi were fighting US forces in Afghanistan only months before. They were in US prisons and rendition centers being tortured. It was not that Qaddafi sought to work with imperialist intelligence services – it was that he could – he had the sufficient economic power to negotiate a deal which allowed the Libyan Islamic jihadists to come home. Since the Al Fateh revolution’s inception, he had been dealing with these Islamists. He wanted to reintegrate them into society. He believed in the principle of restorative justice, a fundamental tenet of Sharia. He actually released them all from prison because he knew that the Libyan revolutionary forces and the Libyan masses were capable of keeping them in check. Enter US and NATO fools. All hell has broken loose. The Islamists, now in power in Libya, are arming and financing their allies in neighboring countries. Groups such as Ansar Dine and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in Mali have emerged from out of nowhere. Heavily armed and well funded, they are causing chaos across the region. As the reggae song laments, ‘Who’s gonna stop dem now?’
In true V for Vendetta style we wake up daily to the lies. The TV news anchors were definitely blinking as they read the spin handed them following Stephens’ murder. Mohamed Magarief, leader of the CIA and Saudi financed counter-revolutionary group – National Front for the Salvation of Libya, and now president of the General National Congress of Libya, told CBS News he had ‘no doubt’ the attack was pre-planned, contradicting US envoy to the UN, Susan Rice’s statement that it had been part of ‘spontaneous’ protests.
Magarief said the suspects were connected to ‘Al-Qaeda or its affiliates and maybe sympathizers’. The truth is that all of those who are in control in Benghazi, Magarief included, are Al Qaeda affiliates and sympathizers. Qaddafi told us this from day one of the rebellion.
The Al Qaeda Factor: Getting it Right
When the US wants to cause commotion or justify more spending on arms and further global militarization they shout ‘Al Qaeda’ where they used to shout ‘Communism’ and this fits their spin. However, in reality, like us, they know the real name of their game. As Jamahiriyan loyalist Dr Yusuf Shakir put it, ‘the name of their game regarding Arab and African foreign policy is to cause as much commotion as they can and then stand back and let us sons of bitches kill each other’. Remember the infamous George Bush Snr statement, ‘we need Africa without the Africans’?
The Islamist groups in Libya were in existence long before the concept of Al Qaeda emerged. That is why Qaddafi was able to warn the world of the danger of these Islamist groups and their ideology, and why Libya was the first country in the world to issue an arrest warrant for Osama Bin Laden. While many were full of zeal and excitement when these groups seemed to be giving the US what it finally deserved, Qaddafi knew that this was not Islam, but rather reactionary ideas and tyranny in the name of Islam and that it could take us nowhere.
Al Qaeda is a brand. It’s an off shoot of the Muslim Brotherhood. Both are shaped and influenced by the writings and teachings of Hassan al Banna, Sayyid Qutb and Sayyid Maudaudi. The fundamental difference between these Islamist fighting groups and the original Iqwan (Brotherhood) is one of strategy and tactics rather than worldview. While the original Iqwan believed and preached reform, their offshoots, groups such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, Ansar Dine in Mali and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb all believe in violent action, even against other Muslims.
Many of these Islamist groups that pre-dated al Qaeda have re-emerged and affiliated to the Al Qaeda brand, a brand that was developed and globalised with the assistance of Arab client regimes, such as Saudi Arabia and Qatar, US and Pakistani Intelligence forces and successive US regimes and their media. And no one brands better than the US.
And so the chaos and commotion continues. This is the same strategy the imperialists opt for every time they are in crisis and their grip on the world threatens to unravel.
In this phase, the imperialists draw up extra judicial hit lists which include whoever displeases them and, having reached amazing new technological heights, they work their lists, murdering at will with unmanned drones which target not only those on their hit lists but scores of civilians in the process. There are no trials, no freedom of speech, thought or action, no democracy - just more lies, hypocrisy, plunder and chaos. That is all the North Atlantic Tribes know and understand.
Imperialism Will Be Buried in Africa
It is no surprise that the imperialists are re-focused on Africa in this phase of their battle to maintain control of the world. Control of Africa is integral to their continued dominance. Central to their current strategy is the re-militarization of the continent via AFRICOM. From the outside looking in, the situation may seem hopeless, but this is part of the plan: to create a sense of hopelessness that seeks to overwhelm and disempower. However, Bani Walid reminds us that no amount of chaos, confusion, set-backs, deception or mass murder can stop the African resistance or lead to its defeat. It will never stop until Africa is free and it is Africa’s freedom that will bury imperialism. It does not matter how many revolutionary leaders and fighters are murdered, more stand willing to resist in their place – this is an historical lesson learned, not only in Africa but throughout the Global South.
The imperialists cannot win because there are no winners in the evil and destructive plan that they have been engaged in for centuries, and remain engaged in. Their game plan will not only consume us but will consume them as well, evidenced by the unprecedented crisis and inevitable downward spiral that the Empire is currently experiencing. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad warned us many years ago that their reign is over. The world they have created is dying – either we fight in whatever way we can to defeat them, willing to die for our cause, or we accept the mark of the beast and join them in their descent into hell.
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 Al Fateh revolution and was an executive member of the World Mathaba based in Tripoli.