Slavery has a long history in Africa. Its ugly specter has returned to Libya with the fall of Muammar Gaddafi, another feather in the cap of NATO and its intervention in a nation that once boasted the highest living standards in the African continent.
“I regret the behavior of the Arabs… They brought African children to North Africa, they made them slaves, they sold them like animals, and they took them as slaves and traded them in a shameful way. I regret and I am ashamed when we remember these practices. I apologize for this” – Muammar Gaddafi at the Second Afro-Arab summit held in Sirte Libya
While numerous reports have detailed the rise of slavery in Libya and the growing racial divide between Black and Arab Libyans, CNN appears to have obtained video evidence of its occurrence.
African migrants on their way to Europe, fleeing the devastation of their home countries are being captured and sold for as little as $400. While CNN’s investigation of this horrific situation is commendable, ironically it was its own reporting (which was constantly in search of any justification for NATO intervention while fanning the flames of civil war) in the lead-up to Gaddafi’s execution that inadvertently created the very conditions necessary for slavery of Africans in the nation.
For example, “African mercenaries” were reportedly hired by Gaddafi to shore up his defenses as his local forces apparently defected to the rebel alliance en mass — a factoid that was never verified by CNN at the time. The African mercenary claim was a widely believed myth, one that was perpetrated amongst the local Libyan Arab populace who already resented Gaddafi’s shift away from the Middle East towards Africa. The reality was that the vast majority of Gaddafi’s army was locally born.
As even the Huffington Post would admit, Libyan rebels would use this myth to legitimize the genocide and enslavement of Black Libyans and African migrants. The town of Tawergha is a case in point. One of the first towns targeted by Libyan rebels, Tawergha was formerly inhabited by some 10,000 black Libyans who have completely disappeared.
Maximilian Forte, associate professor at Montreal’s Concordia University, published a book that detailed the hypocritical role mainstream media organizations like CNN played in propagating xenophobic myths that would destroy the lives of the one million blacks living in Libya.
When it comes to genocide and slavery, perhaps CNN should have investigated more before the collapse of Libya rather than after… and it would have had no reason to decry the atrocities that would otherwise have never occurred in the sordid present.
Well, better late than never.