Wednesday, 29 June 2011
[pro-nato Libyan 'rebels' - the darlings of the Arab and Western media -
preparing to chop up Black people]
[But hardly a mention of the mass Lynchings of Black people in the article, why not Patrick Cockburn? Why not mention the mass lynchings and the facilitation of this by nato and the western and Arab mainstream media? - Sukant Chandan]
In the first months of the Arab Spring, foreign journalists got well-merited credit for helping to foment and publicise popular uprisings against the region's despots. Satellite TV stations such as Al Jazeera Arabic, in particular, struck at the roots of power in Arab police states, by making official censorship irrelevant and by competing successfully against government propaganda.
Regimes threatened by change have, since those early days, paid backhanded compliments to the foreign media by throwing correspondents out of countries where they would like to report and by denying them visas to come back in. Trying to visit Yemen earlier this year, I was told that not only was there no chance of my being granted a journalist's visa, but that real tourists – amazingly there is a trickle of such people wanting to see the wonders of Yemen – were being turned back at Sanaa airport on the grounds that they must secretly be journalists. The Bahrain government has an even meaner trick: give a visa to a journalist at a Bahraini embassy abroad and deny him entry when his plane lands.
It has taken time for this policy of near total exclusion to take hold, but it means that, today, foreign journalistic coverage of Syria, Yemen and, to a lesser extent, Bahrain is usually long-distance, reliant on cellphone film of demonstrations and riots which cannot be verified.
I was in Tehran earlier this year and failed to see any demonstrations in the centre of the city, though there were plenty of riot police standing about. I was therefore amazed to find a dramatic video on YouTube dated, so far as I recall, 27 February, showing a violent demonstration. Then I noticed the protesters in the video were wearing only shirts though it was wet and freezing in Tehran and the men I could see in the streets were in jackets. Presumably somebody had redated a video shot in the summer of 2009 when there were prolonged riots.
With so many countries out of bounds, journalists have flocked to Benghazi, in Libya, which can be reached from Egypt without a visa. Alternatively they go to Tripoli, where the government allows a carefully monitored press corps to operate under strict supervision. Having arrived in these two cities, the ways in which the journalists report diverge sharply. Everybody reporting out of Tripoli expresses understandable scepticism about what government minders seek to show them as regards civilian casualties caused by Nato air strikes or demonstrations of support for Gaddafi. By way of contrast, the foreign press corps in Benghazi, capital of the rebel-held territory, shows surprising credulity towards more subtle but equally self-serving stories from the rebel government or its sympathisers.
Ever since the Libyan uprising started on 15 February, the foreign media have regurgitated stories of atrocities carried out by Gaddafi's forces. It is now becoming clear that reputable human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch have been unable to find evidence for the worst of these. For instance, they could find no credible witnesses to the mass rapes said to have been ordered by Gaddafi. Foreign mercenaries supposedly recruited by Gaddafi and shown off to the press were later quietly released when they turned out to be undocumented labourers from central and west Africa.
The crimes for which there is proof against Gaddafi are more prosaic, such as the bombardment of civilians in Misrata who have no way to escape. There is also proof of the shooting of unarmed protesters and people at funerals early on in the uprising. Amnesty estimates that some 100-110 people were killed in Benghazi and 59-64 in Baida, though it warns that some of the dead may have been government supporters.
The Libyan insurgents were adept at dealing with the press from an early stage and this included skilful propaganda to put the blame for unexplained killings on the other side. One story, to which credence was given by the foreign media early on in Benghazi, was that eight to 10 government troops who refused to shoot protesters were executed by their own side. Their bodies were shown on TV. But Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty International, says there is strong evidence for a different explanation. She says amateur video shows them alive after they had been captured, suggesting it was the rebels who killed them.
It is a weakness of journalists that they give wide publicity to atrocities, evidence for which may be shaky when first revealed. But when the stories turn out to be untrue or exaggerated, they rate scarcely a mention.
But atrocity stories develop a life of their own and have real, and sometimes fatal, consequences long after the basis for them is deflated. Earlier in the year in Benghazi I spoke to refugees, mostly oil workers from Brega, an oil port in the Gulf of Sirte which had been captured by Gaddafi forces. One of the reasons they had fled was that they believed their wives and daughters were in danger of being raped by foreign mercenaries. They knew about this threat from watching satellite TV.
It is all credit to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch that they have taken a sceptical attitude to atrocities until proven. Contrast this responsible attitude with that of Hillary Clinton or the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who blithely suggested that Gaddafi was using rape as a weapon of war to punish the rebels. Equally irresponsible would be a decision by the ICC to prosecute Gaddafi and his lieutenants, thus making it far less likely that Gaddafi can be eased out of power without a fight to the finish. This systematic demonisation of Gaddafi – a brutal despot he may be, but not a monster on the scale of Saddam Hussein – also makes it difficult to negotiate a ceasefire with him, though he is the only man who can deliver one.
There is nothing particularly surprising about the rebels in Benghazi making things up or producing dubious witnesses to Gaddafi's crimes. They are fighting a war against a despot whom they fear and hate and they will understandably use black propaganda as a weapon of war. But it does show naivety on the part of the foreign media, who almost universally sympathise with the rebels, that they swallow whole so many atrocity stories fed to them by
I dont come into the debate until the very start of the second video.
In my opinion, the other guests were very boring, but please feel free to check out what they said.
Also, it is noticeable that I had very little time compared to the other two guests.
In my opinion, the other guests were very boring, but please feel free to check out what they said.
Also, it is noticeable that I had very little time compared to the other two guests.
- Sukant Chandan, Sons of Malcolm
Wen Jiabao, China’s premier, has sharply rebuked the UK government of David Cameron over its criticisms of China’s lack of human rights, warning that the London should stop its “finger-pointing” at Beijing.
Amid growing signs of anger in the Chinese leadership at the emphasis Mr Cameron has been putting on the need for greater political freedoms in China, Mr Wen indicated that the UK should cease ”lecturing” Beijng over the issue.
On his official visit to Britain, Mr Wen joined the UK prime minister in overseeing the signing of some £1.4bn of trade deals, including a new agreement between BG Group, the energy company, and Bank of China that allows BG to expand in China.
However, the trade deals came as a senior Chinese official in London told the Financial Times that Britain was falling down the league table of China’s trade partners because of the high profile stance that Mr Cameron was taking on human rights.
The official told the FT that the UK “is losing its standing in Europe as far as China is concerned and that Britain is now viewed less favourably in Beijing than Germany, France, Italy and Spain.”
At a press conference at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Wen said: “On human rights, China and the UK should respect each other, respect the facts, treat each other as equals, engage in more cooperation than finger-pointing and resolve our differences through dialogue.’’
He later went on to evoke how China had a 5,000 year history in which the country had been exposed to untold sufferings. “This has taught the Chinese never to talk to others in a lecturing way, but to respect nations on the basis of equality,” he said.
In the course of Monday’s press conference, Mr Cameron said he was confident Britain could talk frankly to China about its concerns on human rights while also maintaining strong business relations. However, senior Chinese officials told the FT that Britain’s stance was now badly undermining the bilateral relationship.
Another Chinese official accepted that other nations in Europe raised human rights issues with the Chinese. “But they also put an emphasis on maintaining people-to-people relationships and they place the issue of human rights in context. The UK government and media see China through too narrow a prism.”
Mr Wen himself is understood to have told a private meeting in London on Monday that the relationship with the UK is important, but added: “I hope it doesn’t go downhill.”
Kerry Brown, head of the Asia programme at Chatham House, a think tank, said Mr Wen’s comments also showed how angry the Chinese leadership had become with Mr Cameron for raising human rights issues very publicly on his first official visit to Beijing last year. “Other European leaders, like Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and Silvio Berlusconi haven’t stuck their necks out like that. Cameron is now getting punished for that,” he said.
Monday, 27 June 2011
LIBYAN WOMEN EQUAL, TRAINED, MILITANT AND READY TO DEFEND LIBYA AND THEIR REVOLUTIONAY LEADER, REPORTS SILLY wHITE bOY IN bRITAIN'S GUARDIAN PAPER
Screaming and chanting his name, the 500 women and girls vowed their undying love for one man. Not a pop star or Hollywood actor, but Libya's Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
"Kill all the people in Libya first, then come for Muammar Gaddafi," said 14-year-old Fatima Hassan. "I will kill myself if Muammar Gaddafi is killed. I know our people will kill themselves if he dies."
The event in Tripoli on Sunday was billed as a graduation ceremony for women who had been given weapons training in defence of the regime. Around 50 international journalists, invited and escorted by government minders, arrived to find them clapping, singing, ululating, punching the air and waving green flags in a tented hall set up with chandeliers and two colossal flatscreen TVs.
There were elderly women and little girls in the hall, and every age in between. Some held aloft pictures of a luminous Gaddafi, one framed in green Christmas tinsel. A woman waved a green flag and wore a sparkly green cape, green scarf and green bandana with badges showing Gaddafi's face. Next to her was a woman wearing a watch that displayed his image.
Reporters pondered whether the event had been stage managed entirely for their benefit. The Gaddafi groupies painted the first dozen rows green, but behind them were hundreds of empty seats. Outside was a rattle of gunfire as some enthusiastic graduates fired their new weapons into the air with little regard for where the ammunition might land.
There was also much idolatry, most of all from the teenager Fatima, who said her father is an engineer and she attended an international school near Edgware Road in London. "We love Muammar Gaddafi and we want to save our country," she said.
"He made us happy. He makes us eat and makes the country free to do what we want. Before, we weren't free. My grandparents tell us that before Gaddafi, it was bad, there was no bread. He saved us."
Pledging to fight for the man depicted on her necklace, she explained: "There are no women and children now."
Fatima claimed her five brothers have gone to fight for the regime against rebels in Benghazi and Misrata. Asked how she would feel if they were killed, she replied: "It doesn't matter. I don't care. It's for the leader."
With government minders hovering nearby, there was similar fervour from Habib Abdul Qasem, 39, a nanny dressed in military fatigues. "Of course I will defend myself and my country," she said. "We are an armed nation; everyone in this country has weapons. I keep a gun in my house. I've never used it but if the conditions change I will use it against the Crusasders."
Nadia Ali, 30, an unemployed interior designer, added: "We want a Libya that's strong. Muammar Gaddafi is our father. There is some problem in the rebels' head. Muammar Gaddafi is a good man who loves the Libyan people. He gave us something."
Gaddafi's detail of female bodyguards has become the stuff of legend during his near 42-year rule. It is not yet clear what role the newly-trained women will play militarily and whether they could be pressed into action if the Libyan army is overstretched.
Moussa Ibrahim, a government spokesman, said: "Libyan women are now joining the armed forces against Nato. We are training them. Their main role is defending homes. We have no plan to send them to the front line. They are not trained for that, and our army is very effective."
But he added with a rhetorical flourish: "We are going to make sure that every mother, the symbol of love and creation, is a bomb, a killing machine."
Ibrahim insisted that the regime is stronger than ever and there has been no discussion of surrender. "We are prepared to give 1.2m weapons away and we have been training many, many, many ordinary Libyans."
The set piece over, journalists were shepherded back to their official bus, but it remained stationary for long minutes as the celebratory gunfire came ever closer. There was growing anxiety on board over the potential for stray bullets. When this was expressed to a government minder, he replied tartly: "Your planes are bombing the Libyan people and you are afraid of a bullet?"
Sunday, 26 June 2011
Saturday, 25 June 2011
Friday, 24 June 2011
NO RAPE, NO MERCENARIES! wESTERN NEWSPAPER & EVEN PRO-eMPIRE AMNESTY RUBBISH nATO WAR PROPAGANDA AGAINST GADAFI
Amnesty questions claim that Gaddafi ordered rape as weapon of war
By Patrick Cockburn
Friday, 24 June 2011
Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato's war in Libya.
Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.
An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.
The findings by the investigators appear to be at odds with the views of the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Luis Moreno-Ocampo, who two weeks ago told a press conference that "we have information that there was a policy to rape in Libya those who were against the government. Apparently he [Colonel Gaddafi] used it to punish people."
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last week said she was "deeply concerned" that Gaddafi's troops were participating in widespread rape in Libya. "Rape, physical intimidation, sexual harassment, and even so-called 'virginity tests' have taken place in countries throughout the region," she said.
Donatella Rovera, senior crisis response adviser for Amnesty, who was in Libya for three months after the start of the uprising, says that "we have not found any evidence or a single victim of rape or a doctor who knew about somebody being raped".
She stresses this does not prove that mass rape did not occur but there is no evidence to show that it did. Liesel Gerntholtz, head of women's rights at Human Rights Watch, which also investigated the charge of mass rape, said: "We have not been able to find evidence."
In one instance two captured pro-Gaddafi soldiers presented to the international media by the rebels claimed their officers, and later themselves, had raped a family with four daughters. Ms Rovera says that when she and a colleague, both fluent in Arabic, interviewed the two detainees, one 17 years old and one 21, alone and in separate rooms, they changed their stories and gave differing accounts of what had happened. "They both said they had not participated in the rape and just heard about it," she said. "They told different stories about whether or not the girls' hands were tied, whether their parents were present and about how they were dressed."
Seemingly the strongest evidence for mass rape appeared to come from a Libyan psychologist, Dr Seham Sergewa, who says she distributed 70,000 questionnaires in rebel-controlled areas and along the Tunisian border, of which over 60,000 were returned. Some 259 women volunteered that they had been raped, of whom Dr Sergewa said she interviewed 140 victims.
Asked by Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International's specialist on Libya, if it would be possible to meet any of these women, Dr Sergewa replied that "she had lost contact with them" and was unable to provide documentary evidence.
The accusation that Viagra had been distributed to Gaddafi's troops to encourage them to rape women in rebel areas first surfaced in March after Nato had destroyed tanks advancing on Benghazi. Ms Rovera says that rebels dealing with the foreign media in Benghazi started showing journalists packets of Viagra, claiming they came from burned-out tanks, though it is unclear why the packets were not charred.
Credible evidence of rape came when Eman al-Obeidy burst into a hotel in Tripoli on 26 March to tell journalists she had been gang-raped before being dragged away by the Libyan security services.
Rebels have repeatedly charged that mercenary troops from Central and West Africa have been used against them. The Amnesty investigation found there was no evidence for this. "Those shown to journalists as foreign mercenaries were later quietly released," says Ms Rovera. "Most were sub-Saharan migrants working in Libya without documents."
Others were not so lucky and were lynched or executed. Ms Rovera found two bodies of migrants in the Benghazi morgue and others were dumped on the outskirts of the city. She says: "The politicians kept talking about mercenaries, which inflamed public opinion and the myth has continued because they were released without publicity."
Nato intervention started on 19 March with air attacks to protect people in Benghazi from massacre by advancing pro-Gaddafi troops. There is no doubt that civilians did expect to be killed after threats of vengeance from Gaddafi. During the first days of the uprising in eastern Libya, security forces shot and killed demonstrators and people attending their funerals, but there is no proof of mass killing of civilians on the scale of Syria or Yemen.
Most of the fighting during the first days of the uprising was in Benghazi, where 100 to 110 people were killed, and the city of Baida to the east, where 59 to 64 were killed, says Amnesty. Most of these were probably protesters, though some may have obtained weapons.
Amateur videos show some captured Gaddafi supporters being shot dead and eight badly charred bodies were found in the remains of the military headquarters in Benghazi, which may be those of local boys who disappeared at that time.
There is no evidence that aircraft or heavy anti-aircraft machine guns were used against crowds. Spent cartridges picked up after protesters were shot at came from Kalashnikovs or similar calibre weapons.
The Amnesty findings confirm a recent report by the authoritative International Crisis Group, which found that while the Gaddafi regime had a history of brutally repressing opponents, there was no question of "genocide".
The report adds that "much Western media coverage has from the outset presented a very one-sided view of the logic of events, portraying the protest movement as entirely peaceful and repeatedly suggesting that the regime's security forces were unaccountably massacring unarmed demonstrators who presented no security challenge".
The rising cost of war
The Nato-led air campaign in Libya will cost the UK at least £260m if it continues for another three months, Defence Secretary Liam Fox said yesterday.
The estimate stands in sharp contrast to the figures predicted by George Osborne in March, when the Chancellor said Britain's involvement would be likely to cost "tens of millions, not hundreds of millions" of pounds.
Mr Fox told Parliament that the projected cost was "in the region" of £120m, with an additional £140m bill to replace missiles and other weapons. He said attempts to minimise civilian casualties had led to a steeper bill.
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Wednesday, 22 June 2011
Monday, 20 June 2011
African leaders oppose NATO over Gadaffi
Friday, 17th June, 2011
AT a meeting between the UN Security Council and the African Union High Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya on June 15, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations gave the African Union’s stand on NATO’s invasion of Libya. Below is the full statement
1 . Thank you for organising this interactive dialogue. It is good that the United Nations Security Council has met the African Union (AU) Mediation Committee (High-Level Ad hoc Committee on Libya) so that we can exchange views on the situation in Libya in a candid manner. This should have happened much earlier because Libya is a founding member of the AU.
An attack on Libya or any other member of the African Union without express agreement by the AU is a dangerous provocation that should be avoided given the relaxed international situation in the last 20 years since the release of Nelson Mandela from jail and the eventual freedom of South Africa.
2. The UN is on safer ground if it confines itself on maintaining international peace and deterring war among member states.
3 . Intervening in internal affairs of States should be avoided except where there is proof of genocide or imminent genocide as happened in Rwanda or against the Jews in Germany and the European countries that were occupied by the Third Reich.
4. There are differences on the issue of Libya as to whether there was proof of genocide or intended genocide. Fighting between Government troops and armed insurrectionists is not genocide. It is civil war.
It is the attack on unarmed civilians with the aim of exterminating a particular group that is genocide – to exterminate the genes of targeted groups such as the Jews, Tutsis, etc. It is wrong to characterise every violence as genocide or imminent genocide so as to use it as a pretext for the undermining of the sovereignty of States.
Certainly, sovereignty has been a tool of emancipation of the peoples of Africa who are beginning to chart transformational paths for most of the African countries after centuries of predation by the slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism.
Careless assaults on the sovereignty of African Countries are, therefore, tantamount to inflicting fresh wounds on the destiny of the African peoples. If foreign invasions, meddlings, interventions, etc, were a source of prosperity, then, Africa should be the richest continent in the world because we have had all versions of all that: slave trade, colonialism and neo-colonialism. Yet, Africa has been the most wretched on account of that foreign meddling.
5 . Whatever the genesis of the intervention by NATO in Libya, the AU called for dialogue before the UN resolutions 1970 and 1973 and after those Resolutions.
Ignoring the AU for three months and going on with the bombings of the sacred land of Africa has been high-handed, arrogant and provocative. This is something that should not be sustained.
To a discerning mind, such a course is dangerous. It is unwise for certain players to be intoxicated with technological superiority and begin to think they alone can alter the course of human history towards freedom for the whole of mankind. Certainly, no constellation of states should think that they can recreate hegemony over Africa.
6. The safer way is to use the ability to talk, to resolve all problems.
7 . The UN or anybody acting on behalf of the UN must be neutral in relation to the internal affairs of states. Certainly, that should be the case with respect to African countries. The UN should not take sides in a civil war. The UN should promote dialogue, peaceful resolution of conflicts, and help in enforcing agreements arrived at after negotiations such as the agreement on the Sudan.
8. Regardless of the genesis of the Libyan problem, the correct way forward now is dialogue without pre-conditions. The demand by some countries that Col. Muammar Gadaffi must go first before the dialogue is incorrect. Whether Gadaffi goes or stays is a matter for the Libyan people to decide. It is particularly wrong when the demand for Gadaffi’s departure is made by outsiders.
9 . In order for dialogue, without pre-conditions, to take place, we need a ceasefire in place that should be monitored by the AU troops among others. This will help the AU to confirm the veracity of the stories of Gadaffi killing civilians intentionally.
10 . That dialogue should agree on the way forward in the direction of introducing competitive politics. Gadaffi thinks he has the most democratic system in the world of people’s authority, elected local committees. Since so much chaos in Libya has emerged on the issue, Gadaffi should see the wisdom of accepting competitive democracy.
Gadaffi cannot ignore the fact that the rebels took over Benghazi and his authority melted away before NATO came in to confuse the picture. The pre-NATO uprising in Benghazi was, mainly, internal. Gadaffi may say that they were organised by Al Qaeda. Even if that is so, it is a fact that some Libyans in Benghazi threw out Gadaffi’s authority. Therefore, Gadaffi must think of and agree to reforms, resulting into competitive politics.
11 . A transitional mechanism could, then, be worked out and competitive elections would take place after an agreed timetable.
12 . What about security for the opposition members? We have plenty of experience on such issues. What did we do in Burundi? We provided a protection force (a brigade) for the Hutu leaders who were living outside Burundi or were in the bush. One of them is now the President of Burundi after winning democratic elections.
13. How about those who are alleged to have committed war crimes – including Gadaffi and the rebels? Again, our decision in Burundi is useful here. We used the concept of “immunité provisoire” (provisional immunity), for all the stakeholders so that they could participate in the dialogue. After peace is realised, then a Truth and Reconciliation body could be set up to look into these matters. After democratic elections, trials of guilty parties can take place.
14. Long-term safety of everybody can be ensured by security sector reform and especially reform of the army, so that it takes orders from any elected President.
15 . The intervention in Libya was premised on the basis of protecting civilians and preventing further civilian deaths. However, the humanitarian situation in Libya remains serious and continues to get worse with continued hostilities.
Looking at how resolutions 1970 and 1973 are being implemented, the international community and the United Nations in particular, are being severely put to the test, as what is happening in Libya will undermine future efforts of the UN in the protection of civilians. There is, therefore, no need for any war-like activities in Libya because there is a peaceful way forward.
There has been no need for these war activities, ever since Gadaffi accepted dialogue when the AU mediation Committee visited Tripoli on April 10, 2011. Any war activities after that have been provocation for Africa. It is an unnecessary war. It must stop.
16. The story that the rebels cannot engage in dialogue unless Gadaffi goes away does not convince us. If they do not want dialogue, then, let them fight their war with Gadaffi without NATO bombing. Then, eventually, a modus vivendus will emerge between the two parties or one of them will be defeated. The attitude of the rebels shows us the danger of external involvement in internal affairs of African countries.
The externally sponsored groups neglect dialogue and building internal consensus and, instead, concentrate on winning external patrons. This cannot be in the interest of that country. Mobutu’s Congo as well as performance of all the other neo-colonies of Africa in the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and their eventual collapse in the 1990s prove that foreign sponsored groups are of no value to Africa.
17 . It is essential that the UN Security Council works with the African Union to ensure that a ceasefire is immediately established with an effective and verifiable monitoring mechanism and dialogue embarked upon, leading to a political process including transitional arrangements and the necessary reforms. The crisis in Libya requires a political solution and not a military one; and the AU Road Map is the most viable option.
Finally, what is needed on the issue of Libya is a genuine partnership between the United Nations Security Council and the African Union. By working together we can find a lasting solution to the crisis in Libya.
I thank you.
Saturday, 18 June 2011
Friday, 17 June 2011
Thursday, 16 June 2011
"No Libyan lives in poverty, not one. The crime rate in Libyan society is nothing in comparison to those of u who condemn him, his rule of Libya he has built hundreds and thousands & into the millions of homes for his people. No Libyan is homeless, no Libyan is living under a bridge...What has he done to bring down the wrath of the west....Doesn't that make u America look bad...u have 44 mn people living in poverty?"
" In 1999 Moammar Qadaffi decided to foster the ideas of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt for a United States of Africa. This created great concern, among whom? America, England, France, Italy, Germany Canada - all of you that have sucked the blood and continue to suck the blood of the poor and weak of this earth. What was your concern about that? If there were a United States of Africa, with one central bank; with a transport system that tied all these nations together; with one language that they would adopt as the official lang of all 53 countries; with trade between the states and those outside of America; with one great army and their getting a decent price on the world market for their tremendous resources. Then there would never be a poor Africa, an uneducated Africa, an African living in the bush when that African would now be able to live in a decent home having a decent quality of life. This is what Moammar Qadaffi was doing"
Black Panther in Libya
Sons of Malcolm's Sukant Chandan interviews Deedan Kimaathi (Kenneth Carr) in Tripoli, Libya, Sun 5th June 2011
(Many thanks to young Brother Huey Freeman for doing the transcript)
Good afternoon everyone, this is Sukant Chandan from Sons of Malcolm on the delegation "Global civilians for peace in Libya. It's Sunday, the 5th of June and i'm very honoured to be sitting next to a Panther in Libya. This is comrade, brother Deedan Kamathi (former slave name Kenneth Carr).
We're gonna talk about two things I wanna ask you really. First of all I wanna talk 4,5 minutes about your concrete relationship in terms of the black revolutionary organization that you're in with the Libyan revolution and the Libyan brothers and sisters. And secondly we're gonna talk more about the situation today in Libya. So if you could just convey to our viewers what the relationship was.
Brother Kwame Toure, because of his status is one of the ... - he organizes within All African Peoples Revolutionary Party throughout Africa, especially in the liberated zone - we consider Libya "liberated zone". That was a zone that was being contested or held by european imperialism, capitalism. And within that framework he worked very closely with Mathaba (World Centre for Revolution). That was THE centre for activists from throughout the world's revolutionary organizations and movements and individuals who come to Libya and be about ideological discussions, training, setting up different strategies to spread revolution. Very simple. Brother Rosie Douglas was the head of the Mathaba. An African brother coming outta Dominique and Rosie and brother Kwame very very close and my first time coming to Libya was a delegation of the United States that included the American-Indian movement, included red-wing, included a number of different African in the United States organizations (In What year was that - probably in the mid-80's). And at the Mathaba, we would study universal theory, third theory universal as well as have ideological discussions about the path to integrate our struggles with the worldwide revolution. I came across Irish, I came across freedom fighters from throughout the world there.
And subsequently we'd go back to our organising areas and we would conduct propaganda campaigns, posters, leaflets but different themes. We in particular came up with themes around the questions, smash the CIA and FBI, enemies of African people. Bombs in Africa would be bombs in America. The role of intelligence agencies in drug shipments and drug distributions throughout the world, these kind of themes. Some of the first mass - when I say mass I'm talking about cities like DC where w passed out 100.000 - 200.000 leaflets, posters on the question of zionism, smash the FBI, CIA, enemies of humanity, these kind of things. Basically Libya became a material base, a physical location that was not feared for working with organizations in the United States.
Typically governments like the USSR and many others technically can not get involved in internal affairs of other countries. But brother Gaddafi's Jamahiriya snubbed their nose to that and provided so much support and many of our young cadres to first experience in Africa was through the Mathaba coming through trips to Libya and sitting down in conference rooms full of revolutionaries from throughout the world having this kind of internationalist dialogue and establishing relationships that continue until today.
So Libya became the vanguard country for the pan-African revolution and it also became the vanguard country for the international revolution in terms of - no other African country, even liberated zones in Africa - provided the kind of material, political and ideological support to the liberation movements throughout the world, especially to the liberation movements in the United States and the Carribean. So we salute brother Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya for that and that's why I'm here today and that's why we conduct some kind of a media campaign and actual demonstrations and protests in support of "Hand Off Libya" , "Stop the Bombing of Libya" and "No Regime Change", in fact we need to uplift the Jamahiriya to high elevated position and amongst the anti-war progressive peoples all around the world.
Well, that brings me to the current situation today and we find ourselves here because we're in solidarity with the Jamahiriya revolution in resistance against NATO aggression and the allies amongst the rebels. Now, in Britain, the british media has for many decades deeply demonized Gaddafi and that has resulted to some successful extent for them - in as much that many young people who should be progressive, who may support Palestine, who may oppose the war have been largely silent and even have joined in the propaganda campaign against the Libyan people and the leader Muammar Gaddafi and in support of these pro-NATO rebels who are lynching on mass - as you know - darked skinned
Libyans and black Africans. In contrast many of your comrades from the United States are in support, so I really want you to kind of speak, literally to these young people and convey your thoughts and analysis of the situation as you see it today.
Well, I think first of all - within the anti-war movement of the United States - we have that same split. The white left is against the war but don't provide a platform (anti-war rallies) for any voice that provides support for the Jamahiriya of Libya. At the same token, by their lack of support and de-facto utilizing terms like dictator, some of the coding word symbols that de-facto support the NATO-US invasion of Libya, whereas in African community because Libya is considered Africa, because brother Gaddafi has said that he's turned his back on the Arab League and said "I am African" , "people of Libya are part of the African revolution" and has not only graduated the organization of African unities and African Union but spent billions of dollars to make this real - that we look at brother Gaddafi as providing the correct analysis of the population of Northern Africa is nothing but Africans who happen to have other Arab blood in their bloodline, but fundamentally different Africans in the United States, we have other ethnic make-up on our bloodline, we don't deny our African identity because we have a European or native American bloodline.
We say we're Africans because you know, regardless. That was a part of the Black Power movement. Some of our comrades like - probably some of the most militant sisters in the Black Panther Party - Kathleen Cleaver, she's very very white-looking but because she comes from an African family background she's part of the African family, the black-power pan-African family. So we look at North Africans primarily who lied to us basically who choose to identify with Tunisia to maintain to identify with the French, and Egypt to identify with the Arab World but Libya and increasingly more Africans in North Africa are identifying with the African world because geographically Africa is the rootstock indigenous people of North Africa Africans. Yes, there's an Arab invasion, Arab conquest within North Africa, so what?
As a national minority we have the same phenomenon of Europeans. And because Gaddafi articulated that, it became a like a rallying symbol for black nationalists, for Afro-centrics, for pan-Africanists throughout the United States rather behind brother Gaddafi ideologically. Then once again many organizations had come to Libya and seen the reality of the Libyan revolution and there's a tendency like Malcolm X says or whatever the ruling class, the European capital class attacked probably could be our friends. And we have a tendency to look at that because capitalism doesn't lie some of the time, it lies all of the time. Your question?
It's interesting what you're saying because I think what's unique about this North African country and Muammar Gaddafi is - i mean if you see black people around here - i think it's unique in North Africa they hold themselves with dignity and pride because the revolution is an African revolution. And it's also very conscious, positively conscious about black Africa as well. There's a poster with Libya in the map of black Africa you know so it's very explicit in that regard but what's your reflection of the lynching of black people in Libya by the rebels?
Also what's interesting is you can see the actual development ot consciousness among the so-called Arab looking Libyans. How when you meet them, they say "We're Africans, we're proud of Africa my brother" and they embrace us. I don't find this phenomenon in Egypt, I don't find this phenomenon in Tunisia. I do among the darker Tunisian and darker Egyptians but the lighter-skinned Egyptians and Tunisians do not do that. They look at us kinda strangely with that hesitation and once again he goes back to the white supremacist paragon. The whiter you are the more value you have. The darker you are the more satanic, more evil more criminal minded you are.
In terms of the phenomenon going on in the eastern part of Libya, in Benghazi in particular and Misrata is that there has been resistance of course among Libyans, especially Libyans who have still caught up a kind of traditional feudal Arab-centric world view that look as Africans as inferior to white-skinned or Arab looking people and that this outbreak of violence - controlled by and financed by CIA and foreign intelligence - is part of the objective -ideologically speaking- is to sow dissent among Libyans and to break the bound, the ties, that have tied Libya to the black revolution throughout Africa. And the greatest fear of US imperialism, of western imperialism is that Africa will unite - one central government, one central economy, one central currency that will not be the US Dollar but create our own currency and that we will create our own internal economic marketing production service industries that will have no need for this economic system of the west and western Europe. That's their greatest fear. It's a fear they also have in Latin America right now with the ALBA backed nations following the Bolivarian revolutionary paragon. And it's occurring all over the world, I think.
And would you consider Muammar Gaddafi the kind of leader of that in Africa?
There's no doubt about it. He's the vanguard personality. Libya is a vanguard country and the Jamahiriya's a vanguard organisation within the country because no other African country today has committed itself as militantly. I think there were tendencies towards the Cote d'Ivoire but of course they created a civil war, the French invaded and then they overthrow the government and they've been successful a 'coup d'etat' of Laurent Gbagbo. In the Sudan we see fragmentation of South Sudan, we see them try to break away Darfur into a separate nation and there's really no other strong - and those are the three as i see it, major anti-imperialist countries of Africa today. But it's once you're being anti-imperialist at once you're being pro pan-Africanist and though Sudan and Cote d'Ivoire are anti-imperialist they're not militantly pro pan-Africanist and not militantly advancing worldwide revolution for the black world as well as one cant overemphasized Libya's role in terms of other national liberation movements.
We can talk about West Papua against the Indonesians, we can talk about the Irish struggle, we can talk about the native American struggles throughout the hemisphere. Not just the Uniteds States but throughout the hemisphere that brother Colonel Muammar Gaddafi and the Jamahiriya and i was to say the Jamahiriya because Gaddafi by himself couldn't last one second. It's the people, the masses of people of Libya who through the Jamahiriya and people's assemblies have given life, have given support, have hold this brother up to the position he holds as a revolutionary. I'm not so much caught up with the king as the king-maker. Dr. Martin Luther King for instance. He used to be some brother walking down the streets talking about "We shall overcome". He would not be an historical figure but because of hundreds of thousand of people rally behind him cause he represented the interests of our people and he shows you the best representers, the best refelcters so that our people rose up King to the position he has. So for me to focus on Gaddafi, Gaddafi, Gaddafi is secondary.
A critical focus on the people of Libya who have chosen the path of revolution., who have chosen the path of anti-imperialism, who have chosen the path of socialism and have chosen the path of internationalism and pan-Africanism that I really wanna kinda big up and support cause once again, he could've been overthrown like that with the ideas he had in that reflected interests in the masses of the Libyan people. Now too often one of the characteristics in the bourgeois media is the focus on personality and that makes the mass of the Libyan people either robots or so brutally repressed they can't have a voice of their own. It's one man that's so powerful that he can terrorize 6 million people. 6 million people that are at the nercy one crazy dictator. It's like looking at Hitler and not looking at Germany's working class and middle class, especially industrialists in Germany that gave rise to Hitler, you know.
Very interesting. If you don't mind literally looking at the camera and addressing our young people. What would be your message to our young people in relation to Libya.
I think students and youth are the spark of revolution number one. I think students and youth need to develop critical thought and change their ethic and value system from the kinda crass commercialism that is being perpetrated by the zionist media, especially music and record industry, come from the music industry and i think the world we are fighting for, the people at my age is really for their generation. And I think that olders who come from the movement have more responsibility to pass on our experiences from the 60's , 70's and 80's to the next generation. I think a lot of us have failed in that. I myself work constantly with young people but there are not enough cadres of the 60's, 70's and 80's and 90's that are really reaching out to the young folks and the young folks need to challenge the olders who are in the movement. How can they work with us? Put pressure upon them to open up their files, open up their experiences to train them not to make the same mistakes we made. That's really really important though but right now part of the European bourgeois tactics is this notion of generation gap.
Just because cat's sag , cat's got purple hair or nose piercings or whatever whatever whatever that people of my generation get caught up in the form, not the essence the rebellion. And for me to issue how do you even become a rebel with a cause as opposed to a rebel without a cause, you know so I have no problem with whatever lifestyle young folks choose as long as we can give a direction to build a better world for their generation because my generation - we're still struggling but the future is in the hands of the youth and students. And I think students and youth are the spark of the revolution. Students we have been, whether it's Fidel Castro and the Cuban communist party and students at the University of Havana, Mao tse tuing at the University of Peking , Sekou Toure of trade union youth, I think we look at revolutions or radical social change that has come from the students and youth as in trade union movements or from the Universities