The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Libya:
Local Thugs Hunt Immigrants ... with the Complicity of the Big Powers

Sep 19, 2011

In Libya, black African immigrants have been the victims of a series of attacks, carried out by the militias of the new regime. Black men and women are being attacked in the streets, in their homes and even in the hospitals.

According to witnesses, their attackers claim the Africans are all mercenaries in the pay of Qadaffi. In reality, Libya employs around two million workers from sub-Saharan countries, as well as from Tunisia and Egypt. Primarily they work in construction, but also in repair work and other jobs. These immigrant workers make up 30% of the country’s population.

Under Qadaffi they lived in extremely insecure conditions, at the mercy of the police and armed gangs. In September 2000, racist riots killed about 100 immigrants. The victims served as scapegoats for discontent about increased unemployment. Three years later, when Qadaffi began to renew relations with the big powers, immigrants became an object of negotiations. Qadaffi proposed, in return for money, to use his police to hold back immigrants who tried to seek refuge in Europe. For its part, the European Union, according to the human rights organization Amnesty International, “shut its eyes to the terrible balance sheet with respect to human rights.”

In August 2008, a “friendship treaty” was signed between Qadaffi and the Italian government of Berlusconi, representing the old colonial power which had dominated Libya. Italian capitalists got access to a new market, while the dictator agreed to participate in the “struggle against terrorism and ... illegal immigration.” Joint naval patrols were organized in the Mediterranean. This obviously didn’t make immigration to Europe stop, but moved it further east, in even more dangerous conditions.

Today the new regime – put in place with the help of the imperialist powers – carries out the same attacks. The representatives of the imperialist world who pillaged Africa while sowing misery are at the origin of an incalculable number of tragedies – as much for those who remain in Libya as for those who risk their lives to cross the Saharan desert and then the Mediterranean.