Al Jazeera reports that Black African workers now live in fear in the rebel-held territories in Libya. Some of them have been attacked by mobs, others have been imprisoned, and some of their homes and workshops have been torched. “Many African workers say they felt safer under the Gaddafi regime,” says Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Benghazi.
Before this video report, there have already been warning signs: “Among the spray-painted graffiti in Beida, some denounce foreign workers and call Mr Qaddafi a Jew,” as noted by The Economist a week ago for instance.
“What we are looking at here,” says Rowland, “is the ugly face of the revolution.” Al Jazeera reports on this “ugly face” as if the channel had nothing to do with its emergence, chalking it up to “racism” that “when law and order break down . . . can rise to the surface.” However, it is none other than Al Jazeera (together with Western corporate media) that, by conveying Libyan rebel testimonies without independently verifying their accuracy, has been spreading the very rumors that it now pretends to deplore: “Eastern Libya is rife with rumors about African mercenaries brought in by Gaddafi to put down the uprising.”
If Al Jazeera now sees an ugly face in Libya, it is only looking at the face of a monster for whose birth it served as chief midwife, passing off a neoliberal pro-imperialist civic-military coup d’état against a neoliberal pro-imperialist regime — aka the sorriest of bourgeois faction fights — as a “revolution”1 and inciting people to join it. That is very clever of the Gulf Arab ruling classes, whose interests now clearly shape what Al Jazeera says and what it doesn’t say. There is certainly no better way to disfigure the Arab Revolt that is now threatening them at home.
1 It will probably take some time before the rest of the Left catches on to the counterfeit nature of the product sold to the world.
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This just in from Radio Netherlands Worldwide — “HRW: No Mercenaries in Eastern Libya” (2 March 2011):
In an interview with Radio Netherlands Worldwide in Libya, Peter Bouckaert from Human Rights Watch said he had conducted research and found no proof of mercenaries being used. Investigator Bouckaert, who has been in the region for two weeks, told RNW that he had been to Al Bayda after receiving reports that 156 mercenaries had been arrested there. The town is to the east of the city Benghazi and is also in the hands of the anti-Gaddafi protesters. The rights investigator said that what he found there were, in fact, 156 soldiers from the south of Libya and not from another African country. After talking to them he found out that they were all black Libyans of African descent. . . . According to Bouckaert, the support of the black southern Libyans for the Gaddafi regime is explicable as Gaddafi fought to counter discrimination against this group in Libyan society. . . . HRW has so far only conducted research in the east of the country which is under the control of the protesters, but it says it could well be the case that reports of mercenaries being used in the areas still under government control in the west are also inaccurate.
The Libyan rebel propaganda is being exposed for what it is, slowly but surely. . . .
Yoshie Furuhashi is Editor of MRZine. Cf. “Africans Hunted Down in ‘Liberated’ Libya” (afrol News, 28 February 2011).