Abayomi Azikiwe, editor of the Pan-African News Wire, addressing the "African-Americans Speak Out for Palestine" forum on January 31, 2009 in Detroit. (Photo: Alan Pollock), a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
International Solidarity With Libya Grows
Rallies attract more support in US while Latin America and Africa condemns imperialist war
By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Even though the entire corporate and government-controlled media in the United States and other countries have bombarded the airwaves with propaganda against the Libyan people and their government, international solidarity with this North African state is building on a daily basis. Since the bombing campaign which was initiated on March 19 by the Pentagon and NATO has not weakened the resolve of Tripoli, the false reports of rebel advances on the ground have become even more absurd.
On August 5 the rebel Transitional National Council issued a statement saying that the youngest son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in a NATO airstrike. Younis Gaddafi, who is reported to be in charge of one of the leading military brigades in the war against the imperialist states and their allies, was not harmed in the recent wave of attacks by the shrinking number of western governments involved in the war.
Inside the U.S. where the Obama administration and its diminishing supporters in Congress have sought to shape public opinion in favor of the war against Libya, rallies and mass meetings across the country have grown in attendance and militancy. In Los Angeles on August 5, over 300 people came out to hear Cynthia McKinney--who recently visited the war-ravaged country--along with John Parker of the International Action Center and Rosie Martinez of the trade union movement in southern California.
The audience was composed mainly of people from the oppressed African American and Latino communities in L.A. This meeting confirms the widespread opposition to the war on Libya by key sectors of the electoral base of the Obama administration and the Democratic Party.
In Detroit the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War & Injustice (MECAWI) in conjunction with other organizations are working to build a citywide meeting on August 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 former US Congressperson Cynthia McKinney on the illegal war being wage against this oil-rich African state that has been a longtime proponent of continental unity and development.
MECAWI has been invited to participate in the 29th Annual African World Festival being held on the Detroit River at Hart Plaza August 19-21. The anti-war organization will marched in the festival parade on the morning of August 20 and a MECAWI speaker will address the crowd on the need to end the U.S.-NATO war against Libya.
Other organizations that have agreed to co-sponsor the Detroit meeting are the National Conference of Black Lawyers Michigan Chapter, the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Freedom Road Socialist Organization, the Green Party of Detroit and Michigan and Workers World Party Detroit branch. Since the beginning of the western-backed rebel war against the Libyan government on February 17, MECAWI has held two demonstrations and a community speak out.
Inside the United States, the support for the war on Libya stands at only 30 percent of those polled. 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 filed several weeks ago citing the Obama administration for violating the War Powers Act which says on paper that the White House cannot wage war without the approval of the House or Senate. Conyers has been invited to attend the August 27 meeting with Cynthia McKinney in Detroit.
International Solidarity With Libya Continues
Although during July the so-called “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 the country, various organizations and governments have continued to express their support for the Libyan people in their struggle against this imperialist war.
In Cuba President Raul Castro Ruz on August 4 received Libyan Minister of Finance and Planning of the General People’s Committee of the Great Socialist People’s Arab Jamajiriya, Abdulhafid M. Zlitni, in Havana. Zlitni carried a message from Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi which detailed the government’s plans to battle the campaign of isolation fostered by the U.S.-NATO states.
According to an article published in Granma International on August 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.” (Granma, August 4)
In addition, the newspaper article pointed out that “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 six months ago.
Following the same line on Libya, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on August 1 that the Bolivarian Revolution would not recognize the rebel groups claiming to be the legitimate government in Libya. He defended Muammar Gaddafi as the legitimate leader of Libya and urged the government to stand firm against the rebels and the imperialist forces attempting to overthrow the state.
In reference to Gaddafi, the Venezuelan president said “I respect him a lot. He’s resisting there. Long live Libya. Live and be victorious. We’re with you.” (alarabiya.net, Aug. 3)
An al-Arabiya article said that “President Chavez-one of Latin America’s most outspoken critics of Washington’s foreign policy—has repeatedly condemned what he calls ‘indiscriminate bombing’ by the United States and its allies in Libya, saying their military attacks are unjustified and will only unleash more bloodshed.” (Aug. 3)
On August 8, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe again 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.
Mugabe said that “Zimbabwe must be in a state of preparedness. It is clear that NATO wants to topple Gaddafi. It is not protecting civilians as it claims.” According to Mugabe the U.S.-NATO forces are “vampires” and the war is only designed to seize the largest oil reserves in Africa. (Deutsche Press-Agentur, August 8)
In London a leading media organization, the International News Safety Institute (INSI), has called for an investigation into the NATO attacks on Libyan television--whose satellite was bombed in an attack during the first week of August. The INSI has asked the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to assess whether the airstrike on the satellite, which reportedly killed 3 people and injured 15, was a violation of the 2006 Security Council resolution that prohibits attacks on journalists.
In another response to the attacks on Libyan television, the International Federation of Journalists on August 3 condemned the bombing and requested an investigation. NATO said that the attacks on media outlets are in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 1973 that has served as the pseudo-legal rationale for the war.
Nonetheless the INSI director Rodent Pincer said that 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, August 5)
Also during the first week of August, a delegation of fashion models from Italy visited Tripoli as an act of solidarity with the government. Allessandro Londero, who is the owner of the modeling and hostess website Hostesweb, led the delegation to the North African state that is a former Italian colony.
Londero told the international press that “As we came to Libya before, we wanted to come again in this moment that is so critical, and then to go back to Italy and tell them what we saw with our own eyes. We have many friends here in Libya and friendship is about demonstrating you are close to somebody in difficult moments.” (FoxNews.com, August 1)
NATO and Rebels in Disarray Over Libya
Even within NATO countries criticism is building against the war. In a recent article published in the Gulf News, Simon Jenkins points out that “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. (gulfnews.com, August 8)
Another British journalist Richard Norton-Taylor says that “The armed forces of the world’s mightiest military alliance, NATO, have failed twice now to win a war. American, British, French, and other foreign troops are preparing to withdraw from a combat role in Afghanistan, the first war in which NATO deployed ground forces, while the U.S., Britain and France also appear to be on the point of giving up the fight in Libya, saying Gaddafi can stay there after all, provided he gives up power.” (Guardian.UK, July 26)
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 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 its incapacity to provide the basic needs for the people residing in both the industrialized states as well as the developing countries.