The are colour photos. There are videos. There is indisputable documentation that there is a growing slave trade of African refugees in Libya. This is not from hundreds of years ago. Human beings are currently being auctioned, bought, sold, used, abused and discarded. While the major news media has only covered this story since the final months of 2017, the practise has been growing since in the massive 2011 NATO-led bombing which destroyed the country's government and resulted in the murder of Libya’s then-President Muammar Gaddafi. With no real government emerging afterwards, absolute chaos took over. When combined with the destruction caused by other imperialist wars in the region, and their refusal to deal with the resulting refugees in a humane way – slavery, among many other horrors, re-emerged into Libya.
So while politicians in the US, UK, France, Germany and Canada all express supposed shock and dismay at what is happening in Libya – their tears mean little given their primary role in creating the situation in the first place.
In March of 2011 a NATO-led coalition began a massive military intervention in Libya. Their justification was the enforcement of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which authorized “the international community” to establish a “no-fly zone” and to use “all means necessary” short of foreign occupation to “protect civilians”. Veto-power having permanent members the US, UK and France all voted in favour. China and Russia abstained, allowing the vote to go forward.
In 7 months, according to NATO's own summary, “NATO and partner air assets had flown more than 26,000 sorties, an average of 120 sorties per day. Forty-two per cent of the sorties were strike sorties, which damaged or destroyed approximately 6,000 military targets. At its peak, OUP involved more than 8,000 servicemen and women, 21 NATO ships in the Mediterranean and more than 250 aircrafts of all types.”
“Sorties” are bombings, and Canada played major role. 7 CF-18 fighter jets performed hundreds of bombings and 440 armed forces personnel took part. The Conservatives, Liberal and NDP all supported the bombing, NATO claimed to be supporting a popular democratic uprising in Libya, but it is difficult to reason how such a “popular” uprising would need the help of such a massive bombing campaign by outside forces. Their criteria for “military targets” also must have included schools, hospitals, water treatment facilities and civilians - because all of them were hit many times by NATO bombs.
When Libya's President Muammar Gaddafi was captured, beaten and murdered by Libyan “rebels” at the end of October, NATO declared victory and ended its operations. The West celebrated and world leaders all flew in for a few hours to celebrate the new “democracy” their bombs had brought. Hillary Clinton famously bragged in an interview, “We came, we saw, he died!”
But that's not the end of the story. Since 2011 Libya's descent into chaos and civil war has been incredible and gut wrenching. There is no central government, only several different armed factions which rule over smaller parcels of land. Libya, which had been well known for its free healthcare, education and the highest Human Development Index in all of Africa, has seen all of those things go up in flames. Oil production, which had previously supported the country's infrastructure, is less than quarter of what is was in 2010.
This coincided with waves of refugees fleeing war torn countries such as Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan – most of them headed to Europe. Many more refugees also fled incredible poverty in other African countries as well. Libya, with its close proximity to Europe and its destabilized borders, became a primary route for those seeking refuge in Europe by sea. According to conservative figures from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN’s migration agency, over 150,000 refugees a year have made the dangerous crossing across the Mediterranean Sea from Libya. At least 3,000 people a year have died while attempting the journey.
Instead of focusing on ending the primary cause for these refugees – unlivable conditions created by imperialist wars and occupations, or establishing comprehensive programs to help them settle, the EU has focused on supporting the Libyan Coast Guard in cracking down on boats bringing migrants to Europe. With hundreds of thousands now stuck in Libya, horrific detention centres are overflowing. Robbery, rape, murder and slavery have emerged wholesale as the most vulnerable are taken advantage of.
What is plain for all to see is that anything these imperialist countries and their armies touch goes up in flames, and they never hold themselves accountable for the consequences. Wars, bombings, occupations, refugees, poverty and slavery are all their collective legacy. The US, UK, France, Canada and Germany have all been primary actors in the sick story, and must be held responsible. We must demand that they immediately end all their wars and occupations, and that they accept all refugees fleeing the suffering they have caused. There will be more than enough money for all of this when they are forced to stop wasting trillions every year on war.
Imperialists Out of the Middle East and North Africa!
Open All Borders to All Refugees!
Let the Refugees Stay!
Follow Thomas Davies on Twitter: @thomasdavies59
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