The mainstream media must immediately stop to support the “African mercenaries” myth in Libya

Posted on 27 August 2011


Evidence is that since the rebel offensive on Tripoli started seven days ago, a large number of Black civilians and soldiers have become victims of racist massacres and unlawful killings in Libya’s capital. [The Independent] [AP]

Bodies of pro-Gaddafi fighters lie on the ground with their hands bound together with plastic handcuffs. Abu Salim, Tripoli, 25 Aug. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

The mainstream media is covering up the racist killings by continuing to deliberately spread the “African mercenaries” myth. However, its stories are becoming more and more shaky.

From the beginning, rebels have claimed that Gaddafi uses mercenary troops from Central and West Africa against them. However, this claim has long been refuted by Amnesty International’s Donatella Rovera, who worked in Libya for three months after the start of the insurgency. Rovera said: “The politicians kept talking about mercenaries, which inflamed public opinion and the myth has continued because they were released without publicity.”

Since the start of the conflict, we’ve seen many videos on YouTube documenting the rebel’s racist atrocities. We’ve seen Blacks in “liberated Libya” beaten, lynched, castrated and decapitated. One video shows a massive audience cheering while a Black man is being chopped into pieces with a machete.

Gadaffi supporters: Bodies of civilians lie on the ground inside a field hospital. One person has been murdered in his hospital bed. Another appears to be that of a teenager. Abu Salim, Tripoli, 25 Aug 2011. (Reuters/Anis Mili)

Up until today, these evidences of crimes against humanity have been boldly ignored by the Western mainstream media. CNN, Sky, Al Jazeera and friends have instead chosen to portray the rebels as freedom-and-democracy loving young people.

The mainstream media as well as Amnesty and HRW fight back against a bad rebel image by reinforcing the “African mercenaries” myth in their copies. Saturday’s BBC article originally titled “African ‘mercenaries’ flee Libya” went even further and suggested that all Black refugees in Libya might be mercenaries, effectively clearing the way for more racist hate crimes. The article starts like this:

The United Nations has called on all sides in the Libyan conflict to prevent acts of revenge. It follows reports both of killings by pro-Gaddafi forces and of attacks on African troops who fought on the government side. African soldiers recruited by Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi have begun streaming home.

This disinformation campaign has to stop NOW because it puts in jeopardy the lives of many Black Libyan refugees, residents and prisoners of war.

Charred bodies of pro-Gaddafi soldiers lie on the ground. At least one of them had their hands tied behind the back. Abu Salim, Tripoli, 25 Aug 2011. (Reuters/Zohra Bensemra)

Our appeal

The mainstream media must immediately stop to support the “African mercenaries” myth, or it makes itself guilty of what amounts to accomplice to racist mass murder.

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Posted in: Africa, All posts, Libya