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African Refugees Trapped In Gaddafi’s Libya

4 March 2011 4 March 2011 Tags: One Comment Print This Post Print This Post

by H. Vincent Harris, Netherlands


Caption: Libyan militia members from the forces against Gadhafi escort a man whom they suspect to be a mercenary. Photo: AP

Dutch Foreign Affairs Minister Uri Rosenthal reacted to the Libyan crisis with two goals:

“Let’s get Dutch citizens out of Libya safely, and, make sure no more immigrants reach Europe.”

Meanwhile, the Italian government’s reaction, focused on the “threat of massive immigration from Libya.”

The UN recently published a report on racism in Libya against the two million Sub-Saharan migrant workers.

In that context, we read about the fate of thousands of stranded African refugees inside Libya. Adding to their hopeless situation is Gaddafi’s cynical use of African Mercenaries. The mercenary story has of course been widely published, and will soon be circulating at high speed throughout the African blogosphere. Ethiopian, Eritrean and Somali bloggers have already geared up in a desperate cry for help.

Yusuf Dirir Ali, a Somali blogger writes:

“Many angry mobs are targeting Black Africans after reports that the government was using ‘African mercenaries’ to repress the revolt was transmitted by Western media.”

Another Somali blogger, Somali For Jesus, repeated this cry for help.

Europeans will try very hard to keep this story out of the news. They want us to see, instead, pictures of “our” pilots flying European and American citizens to Crete or Cyprus. Somalilandpress reported the lynching of four Somali immigrants in Libya. In all likelihood these lynching were a response to the stories of mercenaries killing Libyans in the street of Tripoli.

Europe has a heavy responsibility for the well being of refugees in Libya. I say this for obvious reasons. European governments, like the Netherlands, helped Libya to create a buffer against Southern African immigration to Europe. Who does not remember Gaddafi’s recent visit to Italy? It seemed funny to see one of the most xenophobic presidents in Europe receive Gaddafi, but in reality, the visit was in line with European policy to use Libya as a buffer zone to counter immigration.

UNHCR issued this statement: “UNHCR fears for the safety of refugees caught in Libya’s violence.”

Anthony Loewenstein writes that Germany trained Libyan forces:

“Schroeder was fixing up a deal whereby elite German commandos would train the Libyan security services.”

I encourage my fellow bloggers and all my readers to start blogging this story, just like migrants at sea, as well as mutually sharing the story through social media.

“African refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia and Eritrea have told us that just being a Black face in Libya is very dangerous at the moment,’ spokeswoman Sybella Wilkes told Reuters….”

A week after Vincent Harris’ post to Colored Opinions, Aljazeera English TV broadcast this report, and posted to the Youtube:

YouTube Preview Image


H. Vincent Harris, writer and new media consultant, Colored Opinions blogger and host of Colored Opinions Blog Talk Radio, a talk show about the Great Lakes Region of Africa, emphasizing Rwanda, Congo and Burundi.

One Comment »

  • Ralph E. Stone said:

    When Qaddafi took power in Libya he deported close to 30,000 Italian settlers. Why this animosity towards Italians? Probably, as revenge for three decades of brutal Italian colonial rule, which ended during WW II. Perhaps, Italy is reluctant to accept Libyan refugees as a sort of revenge.

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