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Opinions of Friday, 2 March 2018

Columnist: Benjamin Osei Boateng

Behind the veil

Black skin - A cheap commodity in Libya Black skin - A cheap commodity in Libya

I write this script with a heavy heart after watching pictures and videos of fellow Africans being humiliated, abused, murdered and auctioned as slaves in Libya. There has been a traumatic outrage across the globe, especially Africans in the Diaspora. It seems to me that the issue has been tactfully relegated to the background by both local and the international media.

A dream of a better life turned into a living hell, the 21st century slave trade works by luring persons of African descent ready to risk everything to embark on what has been described by many as “the deadliest route on earth”.

They use small boats, canoes, and so on to be lured by smugglers to get them through unapproved routes hoping that they can cross the Mediterranean to Europe to seek greener pastures. These immigrants are from several countries across Africa and most claim they have fled poverty, war, and hunger.

Now, I feel so passionate about this because I strongly believe that the realities of Africa most often than not been distorted to suit white supremacy.

Unfortunately, our media landscape has also been influenced by the western media. Some of our media houses have not painted the entire picture. We have largely failed to tell our stories using our own lenses. I am particularly elated by a social media campaign I have come across recently by an African writer Ogochuckwu C. Nweke captioned “We need an African Media”. This is a clarion call for writers of African descent to champion and project what I call the African Agenda. If you will grant me little latitude, I will spill the beans on the real reasons why the slave trade is thriving in Libya.

The Hard Truth

Since Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi, commonly known as Colonel Muammar Al-Gaddafi was captured and killed in a battle in Sirte by the National Transitional Council (NTC) forces on October 20, 2011, Libya has been without a well-structured and functioning government.

After the death of the Libyan revolutionary, politician and political theorist, the number of black migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe has seen a sharp increase. My personal observations over the past few years reveal that the European Union fear that the influx of black migrants into Europe has the tendency to “contaminate” their population.

Some European countries have lots of prejudices against the black race and have kicked against the idea of Europe becoming a more diverse continent. We see rising intolerance, growing support for xenophobic and populist parties.

It is believed that the economic collapse which started in 2009, also created a perfect storm for racism to develop in certain countries in Europe. The US President, Donald Trump has been branded a shocking and shameful racist after it was credibly reported he had described African nations, as well as Haiti and El Salvador as “shitholes” and questioned why so many of their citizens had ever been permitted to enter America.

To reduce the exodus of Africans into Europe, it is believed that some of these first world countries are heavily funding militants in Libya to keep or prevent African migrants from entering Europe.

No one cares whether these migrants are hanged, enslaved, slaughtered, shot or even buried alive. Reports have it that black migrants are sold as low as 400 USD per person. They are bent on resourcing or paying these militants to keep Africans from entering Europe. Fear and prejudices are being spread across Europe mainly by nationalistic groups, who are exploiting the current economic meltdown and social despair.

Repercussions of Gaddafi’s Death

After Gaddafi was assassinated, most of the weapons that were manufactured and secretly stored by the Libyan military became somehow available to these militants and extremists for casual usage.

Without properly elected and well-structured and functioning government in Libya, these militia or terrorist groups have in their possessions dangerous weapons and virtually maim, slaughter and enslave innocent migrants. This is one of the reasons why so many Africans are being killed and enslaved.

It is important to note that before Gaddafi was killed, there were calculated attempts by the western media to tag him as a terrorist and create disaffection among Libyans. He was mostly described as a total menace to the African continent which was not entirely true.

The foreign media consistently spewed lots of falsehood and over-exaggerated the shortcomings of the Libyan leader. I am not in any way saying that Muammar Gaddafi was an angel. Of course, there were excesses in his regime just like many others around the world. He may not have been the most democratic leader in the world but Libyan citizens had arguably the best way of life in Africa.

His plan of action (without the human rights violations) would have been a blueprint for African development. There was too much propaganda to oust him from power to feed the selfish interests of the “powers that be.”

El-Gaddafi had strings of titles which included “The king of kings of Africa, The brother leader, The Guide to the Era of the Masses, and his most preferred was "The Leader of the Revolution."

Unfortunately, the labels pinned on him by the west tended to stick the most. Former US President Ronald Reagan called him "the mad dog of the Middle East”. Former President Anwar el-Sadat of neighboring Egypt until his assassination on October 6, 1981 called him "The crazy Libyan”. Even in his last days, he refused to countenance the fact that the country he had governed for years had turned against him. In one of his numerous interviews, he said "All my people love me". In one of his last messages, issued as a fugitive, he revealed that his downfall was a Western conspiracy that could be reversed only by his Libyan supporters. "The people of Libya, the true Libyans, will never accept invasion and colonization. We will fight for our freedom and we are ready to sacrifice ourselves" he said. Colonel Gaddafi was a 27-year-old junior officer when he led a bloodless coup that deposed Libya's monarchical government in 1969.

Over the years, most African journalists have failed to properly differentiate the fact that Colonel Gaddafi was a leader who wielded power and did not necessarily oppress his people as was depicted by the international media.

He was a revolutionary who had the passion to empower the ordinary Libyan and Africans at large beyond foreign aid. This was to resist over-dependency and oppression from the west.

It is now an open secret that, Gaddafi’s plan to quit selling Libyan oil in U.S. dollars and demanding payment instead in gold-backed “dinars” (a single African currency made from gold) was the real cause of his death. The regime, sitting on massive amounts of gold, estimated at close to 150 tons, was also pushing other African and Middle East governments to follow suit. His dream literally had the potential to bring down the dollar and the world monetary system. Former French President, Nicolas Sarkozy reportedly went so far as to call Libya a “threat” to the financial security of the world. The west apparently panicked over Gaddafi’s plan. So yes, that would certainly be something that would cause his immediate from power.

If Qaddafi’s plan had succeeded, the United States of America and Europe would have been forced to buy oil and minerals in the gold backed currency, thus tipping the scales. This was a horror the West dared not experience. Gaddafi’s plan would have strengthened the whole continent of Africa. But it would have been especially devastating for the U.S. economy, the American dollar, and particularly the elite in charge of the system.

One secret western politicians and media pundits kept was the fact that, the Central Bank of Libya was 100% State-owned under Gaddafi’s regime. A fact world’s globalist financiers and market manipulators had abhorred with passion. So they marshalled forces to dethrone him, bringing an end to Libya as an independent nation.

Gaddafi was a known advocate of one unified African continent with one leader. He pushed for the creation of the United States of Africa at the 2000 African Union Summit in Lome, Togo. He went on to even provide financial incentives to encourage agreement with his ideas. He eventually improved the level of education among Libyans.

My research revealed that Gaddafi also used the oil money to expand the Libyan economy by building massive infrastructure for the Libyan economy to be self-sufficient. Under him, the Libyan government created its own money, the Libyan Dinar, through the facilities of its own central bank. One major problem for globalist banking cartels was that, in order to do business with Libya, they had to go through the Central Bank and its national currency, a place where they had absolutely no authority or power-broking ability. It is evident that because of him, Libya became one of the most progressive countries in Africa.

However, imperialist nations dislike African leaders whose ideas and policies differ from theirs. They will do everything possible to overthrow and dismantle any government they consider as a threat.

For instance, it is largely believed that jeopardizing governments in the Middle East makes it easier for the west to firmly establish influence, control, and most importantly, get access to their rich oil supply without a hassle.

In conclusion, there is more to the slave auctions in Libya than what has been reported by the international media. The abuse of Africans in Libya is as a result of the power vacuum created by the assassination of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

That is the hard truth. The west is now in total control of the oil resources and exploiting militants to do their bidding. In many ways, I find it quite hypocritical whenever I hear the west criticizing and condemning the barbaric acts of Africans.

Unfortunately, modernity has indeed compelled Africa to embrace so much of Western culture. As a matter of fact, Africans need to re-orient their perception, dignity, the pride in order to emancipate themselves from mental slavery.

As some of us advocate for a new direction in media reportage, it is incumbent upon journalists in Africa to go beyond the headline stories and do due diligence. African must rise beyond pettiness and tell our stories the African way.

I rest my case!