Black men dragged out of their hospital beds, taken away by fighters to unknown fates. Houses burned down with civilians trapped inside. Unidentified bodies of black Libyans bound at the feet turning up at a morgue in Tripoli. Mass arrests of black African migrant workers based solely on skin color. Two dozen men ripped away from wives and children and forced into one small cell at a makeshift prison. 30 dead bodies, all black men, bound, gagged and sprayed with bullets dumped at a battleground near Tripoli. A whole city, Tawergha, once occupied by 10,000, mainly black Africans, now abandoned.
Two weeks ago the first reports leaked out of Libya that black Africans were being rounded up by rebel fighters meting out revenge against sub-Saharan mercenaries hired by Colonel Gaddafi. Yet surely not all of the largely, innocent dark skinned people in Libya can be suspected of fighting for the old dictator. Prior to the uprising, it's estimated that 1-2 million black African migrant workers lived in Libya and worked at jobs undesirable to the ruling Arab population. From most accounts, it appears that Arab racism against blacks is a likely motivation behind the disturbing detentions and killings.
Have you heard any incidents of racially motivated violence in Libya reported by American mainstream media?
Only a handful of newspapers, like the Wall Street Journal, have attempted to cover the growing threat of ethnic cleansing in war torn Libya. Other news outlets have remained shamefully silent. While the New York Times had been quick to report on sectarian violence in Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush presidency, the "paper of record" has been reluctant to report on atrocities in Libya. Conspicuously, other major news sources usually seen as progressive have also failed to cover the deeply troubling potential for human rights abuses in areas now controlled by the US-backed Libyan rebels.
There has been no comment on the round up of blacks in Libya from the White House or the State Department. The United Nations has also largely ignored the issue. Western media and government would have us believe that the conflict in Libya is over and the National Transitional Council is in control, when, in fact, the fighting still continues and Gaddafi remains unfound. This strange silence from powers who claim to be interested in protecting the world's most vulnerable is a blatant example of deception. Furthermore, for our President, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, to not even address evidence of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of a war he vocally supported is an outrage.
As Americans, we can no longer sit idly by while our tax dollars fund wars that result in human tragedy on a massive scale. Not only can we not afford to continue to police the globe, America does not need to be blamed for formenting violence in areas where ethnic conflict and civil war have persisted for centuries. In the instances of Iraq and Afghanistan, a case can be made that war was in the interest of US national security, but in Libya that simply was not a factor. However, because of noble President Obama's intentions, we now run the risk of trading one humanitatian crisis for another.
Unfortunately, violence against civilians happens all over the world. It would be ideal if the US military could prevent all of it. But in a time when America is faced with record debt, a poor economy, escalating drug wars on our border, and rising poverty, the obligation to prevent civil unrest within our own country must take precedence over settling scores with old adversaries in oil rich nations half a world away.
As taxpayers and firm believers in human rights, average Americans have to demand more from our media and our elected leaders. Lucky for us, we have outlets to express our discontent and do not have to resort to social uprising and violent protests as they do in other totalitarian states. It is time we take advantage of our good fortune, and get more involved by exercising our power at the ballot box and our First Amendment rights.
Start today. Let mainstream media sources know that if your expectations of honest, objective journalism are not met, than you will take your patronage elsewhere. And next election, steer clear of voting for leaders who are easily swayed into leading the honorable men and women of our armed services into wars that are waged for reasons other than the defense of America. For the safety of people at home and abroad, we can do better.