Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Solidarity With Libya Grows

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Aug 14, 2011 10:34 PM

Although the corporate-controlled media in the U.S. has been full of propaganda against the Libyan people and their government, international solidarity with that North African state grows daily.

Since the bombing campaign initiated on March 19 by the Pentagon and NATO has failed to weaken the resolve of Tripoli, false reports of rebel advances have become even more absurd.

On Aug. 5 the rebel Transitional National Council (TNC) claimed Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi’s youngest son was killed in a NATO airstrike. However, Khamis Gadhafi, in charge of one of the leading military brigades against the imperialists and their allies, was unharmed in the recent wave of attacks.

Solidarity meetings draw crowds across U.S.

Inside the U.S., where the Obama administration and its diminishing congressional supporters have sought to shape public opinion in favor of war against Libya, rallies and mass meetings across the country are growing in attendance and militancy.

In Los Angeles on Aug. 5, more than 300 people came out to hear Cynthia McKinney, who recently visited the war-ravaged country with the Dignity delegation. John Parker of the International Action Center and Rosie Martinez of the southern California trade union movement also spoke.

The audience was mainly people from the oppressed African-American and Latino/a communities. This meeting confirms widespread opposition to the war on Libya by key sectors that have been the electoral base of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.

Boston held a similar meeting on Aug. 6, at which people from the African-American, Haitian, Cape Verdean and Latino/a communities joined with labor unionists and anti-war forces in packing a hall to hear the former Georgia congressperson describe the resistance of the Libyan people to NATO’s bombs.

In Detroit the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice is building a citywide meeting for Aug. 27 at the University of Michigan Detroit Center. The event has generated excitement since it will provide people with an opportunity to hear directly from McKinney on the illegal war being waged against this oil-rich African state that has long supported continental unity and development.

The Michigan Chapter of the National Conference of Black Lawyers, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Green Party of Detroit and Michigan, and Workers World Party Detroit Branch are co-sponsoring the Detroit meeting.

Inside the U.S., polls show only 30 percent support for the war on Libya. The U.S. House of Representatives and Senate have failed to pass any resolutions endorsing the war, even though both legislative branches have approved funding for its continuation.

U.S. Congressperson John Conyers Jr. of Detroit is a co-plaintiff in a lawsuit citing the Obama administration for violating the War Powers Act, which says the White House cannot wage war without the approval of Congress. Conyers has been invited to attend the Aug. 27 meeting.

Cuba, Venezuela, Zimbabwe condemn NATO

Although in July the Libya Contact Group, a coalition of NATO states and their allies committed to regime change, recognized the Western-backed TNC opposition forces as the legitimate political force inside Libya, a growing number of organizations and governments are expressing support for the Libyan people in their struggle against this imperialist war.

On Aug. 4 Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz received Libyan Minister of Finance and Planning Abdulhafid M. Zlitni in Havana. Zlitni carried a message from Gadhafi detailing the government’s plans to battle the campaign of isolation fostered by the U.S./NATO states.

According to Granma International on Aug. 4, “Raul reiterated Cuba’s most energetic condemnation of the NATO military aggression against Libya, in particular the bombings of civilian facilities resulting in the death of innocent people. He also demanded an immediate cessation of these acts in order to facilitate moves toward a peaceful solution, with full respect for the country’s independence, territorial integrity, sovereignty over its natural resources and the self-determination of the Libyan people.

“The Cuban president also expressed his support of efforts being made by African Union leaders to achieve that.” The African Union has opposed the rebel insurgency and the U.S./NATO bombings since the beginning of the war.

On Aug.1 Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez said the Bolivarian Revolution would not recognize the rebel groups claiming to be the legitimate government in Libya. He defended Gadhafi as Libya’s legitimate leader and urged the government to stand firm against the rebels and the imperialist forces.

The Venezuelan president said of Gadhafi: “I respect him a lot. He’s resisting there. Long live Libya. Live and be victorious. We’re with you.” (, Aug. 3)

An al-Arabiya article reported, “President Chávez — one of Latin America’s most outspoken critics of Washington’s foreign policy — has repeatedly condemned what he calls ‘indiscriminate bombing’ by the U.S. and its allies in Libya, saying their military attacks are unjustified and will only unleash more bloodshed.”

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe on Aug. 8 blasted the U.S./NATO war against Libya, calling the alliance a “terrorist organization.” The president of this Southern African state, whose ruling party fought a war of national liberation for its independence from British settler-colonialists during the 1960s and 1970s, noted that his country must protect its people and territory in light of imperialist aggression on the continent.

“Zimbabwe must be in a state of preparedness,” said Mugabe. “It is clear that NATO wants to topple Gadhafi. It is not protecting civilians as it claims.” According to Mugabe the war is only designed to seize the largest oil reserves in Africa. (Deutsche Press-Agentur, Aug. 8)

Journalists hit bombing of Libya TV

In London a leading media organization, the International News Safety Institute, called for an investigation into NATO attacks on Libyan television satellite dishes, which were bombed during the first week of August. INSI asked U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assess whether the airstrike, which reportedly killed three people and injured 15, was a violation of the 2006 Security Council resolution prohibiting attacks on journalists.

On Aug. 3 the International Federation of Journalists also condemned the attacks on Libyan television and requested an investigation.

NATO claims the attacks on media outlets are in line with U.N. Security Council Resolution 1973, which has served as the pseudo-legal rationale for the war. INSI director Rodent Pincer said these bombing operations could not be justified “on the basis that you disagree with the point of view of the news organizations. NATO forces in Libya are acting under a Security Council mandate to protect civilians and journalists are civilians.” (Associated Press, Aug. 5)

In early August, a delegation of fashion models from Italy visited Tripoli as an act of solidarity with the government. Libya was formerly an Italian colony.

NATO & rebels in disarray

Criticism against the war is also building within NATO countries. In a recent article published in Gulf News, Simon Jenkins notes, “Britain’s half-war against Libya is careering onward from reckless gesture to full-scale fiasco. As it reaches six months’ duration, every sensible pessimistic forecast has turned out true and every jingoistic boast false.” (, Aug. 8)

Whether the imperialist states withdraw sooner or later from Afghanistan and Libya, their failures in these theaters of war have exposed the contradictions in the military strategy of the U.S. and Europe. Facing the worst capitalist economic crisis since the Great Depression, the Western alliance seems incapable of moving beyond its political dilemma.

It will take an international movement of the working class and oppressed to end all imperialist wars and to rebuild the economies of the world. Capitalism is proving incapable of providing the basic needs of the people in the industrialized states as well as the developing countries.
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