Our Libyan Crisis
Slavery still exists. These three words have been haunting me for more than two weeks now. It has been hard to even fathom how such an atrocity could have occurred in this age of technology and “moral enlightenment”. We are learning that this blatant disregard for human life likely began to re-surface in 2011. Six years have passed and we are just now acknowledging an issue that the United States of America literally had a hand in creating. It is extremely important that we do not forget why Libya is overrun with rebels and we also must remember the standard of living that existed before their previous governmental structure was destroyed. After doing some research this issue seems to tie directly into the most prominent mission of colonialism, divide and conquer. Their long upheld practices of terror and discrimination have aimed to silence, divide, and immobilize any group seeking to uplift and establish national, continental, or global unity among African descendants.
In 2011, the US government created an environment that fueled extremists and assisted them in overthrowing Gaddafi. I believe it is safe to assume that the motivating factor behind our troops taking the side of the rebels was to guarantee both the end of the push for Pan-Africanism and to ensure access to Libya’s oil supply while we assisted them in “rebuilding” the aspects of their government that were destroyed by the war. Why else would we attach ourselves to a group of terrorists and promote a resolution that did not protect the Libyan citizens? To be clear, not only did we fail to protect these citizens from national extremists, we also killed some of them during the bombings initiated by NATO. These actions paint a picture that displays assassination as a consequence of Gaddafi’s refusal to comply with the expectations set forth by foreign entities seeking to destroy his movement. Apparently, in America and other Europeans countries, the penalty of disobedience is death.
Prior to 2011, Muammar Gaddafi maintained his power in Libya for over forty years and was considered the “Picasso of Middle Eastern politics”. He gained power by leading a coup that was successful without any blood being shed on either side. The country’s new model became “freedom, socialism, and unity”. During his rule he created a way for oil to be more accessible which drastically increased funds that were available for distribution. This allowed its government to implement programs that promoted property ownership, education, and adequate healthcare. In short, this era of leadership enabled citizens to generate more revenue per capita, a feat that would be praised if it had been accomplished in the US or a European country. One of his greatest aspirations was to introduce a single African currency that would unite the continent and forge a bridge that would lead to widespread and sustainable steps to be taken toward the complete liberation of all African people.
Gaddafi was a strong advocate for African unity. He embraced the principles of Pan-Africanism which called for the indigenous people of the continent to form a political union the would establish and uplift the sovereign power of the African people. Over the course of his leadership he was known to speak out against racism in the muslim community. Segregation and colorism has long been a divisive seed that every nation has been forced to deal with. Colonialism has successfully misconstrued the beauty that exists within African cultures and has demonized the “black body” in the name of religion. Subtle things such as depicting Jesus as a caucasian man with blue eyes and using a few disconnected scriptures to justify slavery created a doctrine of hatred and deceit in the name of God. This level of dissent for one’s neighbor or brother adds to the rage and mistrust that begins to settle into the subconscious mind. I believe this very revelation is what led Malcolm X to change his message after he experienced what true brotherhood and fellowship was like during his pilgrimage to Mecca. His mission became similar to Gaddafi’s once he had been awakened to the power and peace that is formed from pure unity.
Both Malcolm and Gaddafi saw the need to transition from upholding a false sense of governance to instituting socialism. Kleptocracy and oligarchy have long been the monsters hiding under the mask of democracy. In this moment, the US has selfishly decided that it will turn a blind eye to what is happening in Libya because the oppression and exploitation of African people has never been a moral issue for this country. Although we seem to be further along the path of progression, America is too busy trying to oppress the African descendants in its own country to worry about the welfare of others anywhere else. During WWII we rushed to the aid of the Jews who were being tormented by Nazis and assisted them in establishing their own state. Ironically, the same group of refugees who were rescued are now one of the reasons that these Africans are being forced to flee through Libya. Descendants of Holocaust victims are literally denying asylum to their brothers who are being kidnapped, tortured, and sexually exploited. It has become quite clear that the powers that be only feel compelled to protect populations that visibly look caucasian and/or can provide access to lucrative natural resources.
As global citizens we must not allow what we hear and see in the media to discourage us from raising our voices in unison. The oppression that we face ahead will not be eradicated without the commitment of those who know how fragile freedom truly is. Refugees are fleeing poverty and violence in their native countries only to be captured as slaves and tortured by fellow Africans. The reality may be overwhelming but we must not forget all of the similar battles we have won in the past. Not long ago we rallied around the struggle of the African people in South Africa and helped to dismantled the Apartheid system. We must once again hone in on this issue and us our influence, wealth, and creativity to create a safe haven for those who feel lost and/or forgotten. We are responsible for their freedom and each of us have a specific gift or talent that can publicly elevate the relevance of this issue. It is time for a moral standard to be implemented globally to ensure that each human being has equal protection under the law, regardless of race, sex, religion, or social status. Two tangible ways to initiate conversations that could bring about this change would be to reach out to your local chapter of the Congressional Black Caucus or to contact a UN Ambassador. Nikki Haley serves as an ambassador for humanitarian and refugee relation programs. Your participation is required!