opinionBy Mahmoud A. Suleiman
From the outset it must not be understood that one condones or overlooks the atrocious happenings in Libya over the past days of unnecessary bloodshed and the death of innocent citizens and destruction of properties. What is intended in this article is to show that the position of double standards in situations where similar conditions prevail here and there, totally unfair as humanity needs to be considered sacrosanct whichever the origin or the characteristics of the individual.
Nevertheless, there has been criminalization of Africans in the atrocities, which affected the protests of the Libyan people at random, without proof, neither from the government nor from the opposition. While governments from across the world who care have been evacuating using charted flights their citizens trapped in the Libya following the protests, the National Congress Party (NCP) Islamism regime in Khartoum tries to incite hatred against its citizens resident and working in Libya by spreading lies, falsehood and rumors that the armed Darfur movements have been involved in the suppression of the Libyan people in support of the government led by Colonel Muaamar al-Gaddafi. This, if anything, shows the degree of moral decay that has reached by the government of the ICC indicted, fugitive, Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir in Sudan. In their hypocrisy the elements of this entity declared that they will apply more harsh Islamic Sharia Laws once the South Sudan separates as a new state on the 9th July 2011 without regard to presence of other faith denominations or not.
Arab intellectuals and some Arabic television channels kept chanting, ridiculously, of involvement of African mercenaries in the mass killings reported happening in Libya. Surprisingly, the Libyan government indicating that the Security Services arrested African mercenaries , the opposition and the Arabic channels (al-Jazeera and al-Arabiyya) used the same phrase blaming 'hired Africans' for carrying out genocide in Benghazi and Tripoli! The racial connotation of the word 'African' in this context is crystal-clear. There is evidence that around 50% of the Libyan population are black, in particular in the South of Libya. Moreover, many of those who are holding key positions in the Gaddafi's Regime are black too. As a matter of fact, Libya has got among its citizens dark-coloured native ethnic tribe known as the Tebo (spelt differently as Tebu, or Tibu, Tibo, Tibbo, or Tibbos), a group of tribes found along the southern side of the Harouj mountain and to the east of Fezzan, all the way to the Egyptian border, including the Kofra and Bezzima Oases, as well as south to the Tibesti Massif and across the border in northern Chad, Niger and as far as the Sudan (reference Libyan people and ethnic tribes). Furthermore, Libya's call for pan-African unity and a common currency, a second wave of immigrants, estimated at one million workers, began to arrive in late 1990s, mainly from other neighbouring African countries like Sudan, Niger, Chad and Mali.
Relatively higher Libyan wages, compared to wages in African countries, for unskilled workers, which reached nearly $300 a month, were also attracting a large number of immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa. The veteran General Abu Bakr Younis Jaber, Chief of Libyan Army since the late 1970's, long time Gaddafi ally, now rumoured to be under house arrest, has his ethnicity originates from the Tibbos.
It seems that the opportunist authoritarian racist National Congress Party (NCP) regime in Khartoum found joy and delight in the events in Libya favourable to grab political revenge against its archenemy the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) through statements issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that it does not exclude the participation of the Darfur rebels in the suppression of the popular mass demonstrations that taking place in all parts of Libya. The purpose behind this evil assertion was to incite sedition to create a rift between the people of Libya and the Just cause of the people of Sudan in Darfur. Moreover, the NCP official in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also aimed to make a serious break in the friendly relations between the Libyan people and the Darfur freedom fighters through inciting hatred and resentment. The despotic regime of the ICC indicted Omer al-Bashir is longing to see the JEM leader to be out of Libya into the middle of nowhere, the attempts it tried hard to achieve but abjectly failed. The National Congress Party (NCP) government, apparently, aims at trying to ensure, in the event of likely change of regime in Libya, it hopes the new administration takes a hostile position against the people of Sudan in Darfur. Bearing in mind that the NCP regime declared boastfully, not long ago, that there were no longer any Darfur rebels left as its Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) have crushed and exterminated them all!
The statements of the embattled NCP regime in Khartoum are bags of lies and the world is confident that Khartoum does not have a single piece of evidence of any presence of Darfur rebel troops on the soil of Libya. Observers find it ironic that the regime which declared day and night in its mass media that the rebel armed movements do not exist in Darfur, but at the same time alleges that the Libyan regime uses these movements in order to suppress the popular revolt in Libya! This is what is described as "fishing in troubled waters" or the doctrine of Machiavelli End Justifies the Means. It is clear that the elements of the (NCP) regime's hatred for the people of Sudan in Darfur has reached its climax to the extent that they wish, without battling, to shed more blood by proxy and continuation of the genocide against the people of Sudan in Darfur even if it was done in another country.
It is absurd that the Arabic media machinery now orchestrating the propaganda that African mercenaries have been killing the Libyan protesters without evidence while they kept mute and silent when the Arabism-Islamism government of Marshal Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir brought in mercenaries from abroad, especially from among the Arab Africans from Mali, Chad, Central African Republic, Niger and Mauritania to Suppress the revolt of the people of Sudan in Darfur. Those new Arab Africans have become settlers occupying the homelands of the indigenous Darfuri people who have been forcibly removed from their land to dwell in makeshift camps as Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and Refugees since2003.
.The racially motivated blame game that African mercenaries fight the people or their respective government is very common in Sudan. It reminds us of the positions of the Sudanese regime, when the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) carried out an unprecedented attack on the Three-Town Capital of Sudan through the battle codenamed the Operation Long Arm (OLA) on the 10th of May 2008, when the National security and intelligence Services (NISS) exercised the ugliest forms of racial discrimination against people of western Sudan in general and Darfur in particular in Khartoum. The atrocities committed against innocent Sudanese citizens from western part of the country on the basis of the colour of their skin or the accent of their speech was recorded by human rights groups. The victims were targeted in the pretext of being African mercenaries. Similarly, a brutal torture afflicted the foot soldiers of Darfurian origin who were arrested in the failed July 1976 invasion of Khartoum staged by the opposition parties under the name 'The National Front', which was a Frontopontile work in the form of a military operation led by Colonel Mohammed Nour Saad, to bring down the May 25 regime of President Jaafar Mohmed Nimeiri.
Ironically, the leaders of that attempt did not face any Sanctions or prosecutions, but some of them may have reconciled amicably with the Nimeiri regime. The 1976 Operation was labeled 'the invasion of mercenaries' in blatant racially driven contempt for the heroic role played by Sudanese soldiers of Darfurian origin in the invasion of Khartoum in order to reduce the value of their sacrifice. The statements of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry remain very damaging and would subject the Sudanese residing in Libya to reprisal. Their estimated number is about a million and a half million. There is potentially grave danger to their lives and property since there is no one can offer support to them in these difficult circumstances in which other foreign governments are evacuating their citizens from Libya, but the government of Sudan wants, callously and shamelessly, its citizens in Libya to become targets for attack by both the protesters and the Libyan government. The danger that faces the citizens of African origin resident in Libya is enormous and requires attention for their need for protect. They must have become caught up in this unfortunate 'cross-fire' for being residents in that country in such dire circumstances. And it is unfortunate that the Khartoum government playing the dirty role of being the judge and jury and verdicts against them.
As usual, the Government of Sudan has put itself in the matter not of its own; only to do harm to its citizens working in Libya of Darfurian descent. The irresponsible Sudanese government poked its nose into others affairs and tried to play a subservient role to the Libyans; but in reality it has got two disguised agenda: Schadenfreude (gloating) over the misfortune of leadership of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya first and then implicate Darfurians in the Libyan problems as scapegoats! Thus the génocidaires of the Islamism entity in Khartoum does not hesitate in committing sins in order to reach its objectives malicious evil stinking. Bearing in mind that Omer al-Bashir was denied the attendance of the EU-African summit in November 2010 when Libya's foreign minister Moussa Koussa said that Sudan's president, who is under indictment for war crimes, will not attend the European Union-African Union (EU-AU) summit in Tripoli, avoiding a possible walkout by the Europeans. It was also reported that a Spanish official had said that the 27 members of the EU had agreed to stand up and walk out if the Sudanese president appeared at the joint summit. Observers said at the time that the pragmatic and unusual stance by Libya, a strong backer of Bashir, caused uproar in Khartoum where the government directed explicit criticism at the EU and subtle one at the host of the summit. That incident and others continued to cause a hidden diplomatic rift.
It is worth mentioning that the only evidence of the alleged involvement of African mercenaries in the Libyan protests was a U-tube footage on the screen of the racist al-Jazeera TV channel of a picture of a man with brown skin, under an arrest, and his face was smeared with blood after he was been assaulted by a mob of protesters. Ironically, the man spoke Arabic in Libyan accent, begging the crowd to leave him alone. The furious protesters were shouting "mercenaries, Africans"! Apparently, the unfortunate black 'Africa' shown on al-Jazeera channel may be the only one being caught on camera and became a hate figure and a scapegoat, preyed on by angry violent crowd. It seems that the man's bad luck brought him on the side of the street where protesters were chanting and have fallen prey to that very angry crowd who was looking for a scapegoat! Aljazeera converge to the ongoing events in Libya have a lot of serious short-comings. For instance, Aljazeera television channel, consistently labeled those who are supporting Gaddafi as 'African mercenaries', it didn't say the same thing about the non-Libyans Arabs who are supporting Gaddafi against the protestors. Such a raciest coverage can turn the angered protestors against the innocent Sudanese who make around 2 million in Libya as well other black people who live there.
In the wake of the political turmoil in Libya number of voices from Arabs and their television channels were heard calling for the International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to prosecute the leader of Libya, Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi for what is happening in Libya. Ironically, the very voices have refused the referral of the Darfur case to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the same reasons that called The Hague to intervene in the Libyan case! Not only that, but the Arab League had distanced itself from the ICC rule on Darfur case against the incumbent head of the NCP regime, Omer Hassan Ahmed al-Bashir on 10 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide to become the first sitting head of state to be to be indicted by the ICC. The League's member state allowed al-Bashir to travel around their countries without being apprehended! Hypocrisy and racist double standards are the force driving this attitude. On the other hand, the plot which the NCP regime has hatched is to settle chronic political grievances between Khartoum entity and the Libyan government and in the end the Darfur issue to become the victim. Eventually the Arabs admitted that there is a role for the International Criminal Court and offered complete recognition to the ICC!
The people of Sudan in Darfur consider what is happening in the brotherly Libya is an internal affair and wish stability, peace and prosperity for the Libyan people. We also regret the blood shed and loss of life of people. Libya has been for decades a save haven for many Darfurian Sudanese who were looking for work and livelihood both of which had been in short supply or being denied in their own homeland, Sudan. The Sudanese people were welcome by the Libyan people. The people of Sudan in Darfur are certain that the Libyan people are capable to overcome this ordeal soon. They also consider the statements of the Sudanese Foreign Ministry on the situation in Libya, an insult on injury to the Sudanese people in Libya. While one is stressing on these issues, the Sudanese people categorically disapprove and condemn the statements attributed to the representative of the Foreign Ministry of the NCP despotic regime.
Hypocrisy, ambiguity and double standards seem to be rife in the region more than anywhere on the globe. That very existence is the cause of all the societal ills that underlie the misery of the populations residing there. This is more crystal clear in those who allegedly claimed that they bear in their minds, hearts and souls the 'Cultural Project ideology with Messianic Orientation' in the Fundamentalist Islamist Sudan but, as the proverb goes "The Mountain gave birth to a mouse" and sadly, lies and tyranny have plagued badly the people of Sudan! Nevertheless, People's Power is underway soon as winds of freedom and change are sweeping the 'Arab World'.
Dr. Mahmoud A. Suleiman is the Deputy Chairman of the General Congress for Justice and Equality Movement (JEM).