By his own admission, President Barack Obama declared in a 2016 Fox News interview with Chris Wallace that the worst mistake of his presidency was “probably failing to plan for the day after what I think was the right thing to do in intervening in Libya.” Obama told The Atlantic that “it didn’t work” and in spite of careful planning on the front end, “Libya is a mess.”
Since the overthrow and assassination of Col. Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has been in complete and utter turmoil. There is no unified government and many have argued that the upheaval has created a breeding ground for violence, corruption, and the open slave trade. Obama shared the blame for the aftermath with “the Europeans,” meaning France and Britain, for not “being invested in the follow-up.”
Reflecting on Obama’s admitted culpability, Gerald A. Perreira concurs. The chairperson of both the Black Consciousness Movement Guyana (BCMG) and Organization for the Victory of the People (OVP) has also called out CNN for its depiction of the slave trade as “Libyan crimes against humanity.” In addition, Perreira sees French President Emmanuel Macron’s call for an emergency U.N. Security Council meeting as “clear hypocrisy and insincerity.”
“The destruction of this most prosperous and just African country was led by France, who now dares to call for a special meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss the crimes committed against African migrants ‘by Libyans,'” Mr. Perreira said. “Where was CNN and the French government when these same gangs of demons were committing the atrocities described above?”
In a message posted on Libya 360, Dr. Salem Zubeidy, a longtime member of the Libyan Revolutionary Committees Movement, questioned the authenticity of CNN‘s reporting of the slave auction and the American-based news outlet’s motives for releasing the footage.
“No one stopped to question the validity of this report, and where is the market? When did this happen? Where do the (alleged) slaves go?” Dr. Zubeidy asked. “Then, no one asked how the channel got to the supposed market and how it was able to video the ‘auction’? What is the purpose of the American channel to broadcast such a program that distorts an entire people, and accuses them of committing a heinous crime that is not accepted by a reasonable mind and not approved by any logic?”
What is curious is that CNN‘s story was not the first report about the slave market in Libya. The Guardian ran a story in April, 2017, where Mohammed Abdiker, the head of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) operation and emergencies division, offered testimony of the problem.
“The latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages [in Libya],” said Abdiker. “The situation is dire. The more IOM engages inside Libya, the more we learn that it is a vale of tears for all too many migrants.”
The Guardian piece documented many accounts from IOM officials and migrant survivors of capture and enslavement. The IOM insists that the problem is real and worsening due to the lack of a stable infrastructure. While the CNN story has drawn attention to the problem sparking worldwide outrage and protests of Libyan embassies, African and other world governments are now scrambling to address the issue.
Libya, under Col. Qaddafi’s regime was, by far, more stable than it is today.
[Featured Image by Oli Scarff/Getty Images]