Libyan rebels accused of targeting blacks
Rights groups say African migrant workers and black Libyans face beatings and detention by rebel fighters who suspect them of being mercenaries hired by Moammar Kadafi to put down the rebellion.
Reporting from Benghazi, Libya —
About a dozen African men stood lined along a hallway of the courthouse in the eastern city of Benghazi. The men were suspected of being mercenaries fighting on behalf of Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi and had been rousted from their homes in the morning, turned in by residents responding to a rebel campaign urging them to report “suspicious people.”
We are construction workers, one of the men said, pleading his innocence to a Times reporter visiting the courthouse, which now serves as the headquarters of the rebel government.
But the interview was abruptly ended and the group of Africans were led away to detention by Muhammed Bala, who described himself as a security officer for the rebel government.
“We’re out looking for mercenaries every day,” Bala said.
This recalls another article I read last month, written by a Black American Muslim, talking about his visits to Egypt.
Sub-Saharan Africans, who have fled as refugees to Egypt from Sudan, Ethiopia and Eritrea, are routinely targeted for periodic security roundups in Cairo. In December 2005, Egyptian riot police brutally attacked a camp of Sudanese refugees in Cairo who were protesting their treatment. In front of TV cameras, at least 28 and as many as 100 refugees were killed, and hundreds of others were injured, arrested, imprisoned or deported. There was little public protest. READ MORE
There’s also the question of the treatment of Christians in predominantly-Muslim Egypt.
The [Muslim] Brotherhood, a strictly Islamic political party, is the country’s most organized opposition group. Some Christians fear that if it gains more influence, it would impose Shariah, or Islamic law, and forbid them from practicing their faith.
“Neither Christians nor Muslims like them, because they are a group with their own ideas, but the rest of the Muslims are good with Christians,” said Eid Ibrahim, 41, also a driver and a Christian.
Just makes me think of how things are rarely as simple as the media makes them out to be. Overthrowing one crazy old dictator doesn’t remove all of a country’s problems (as we’ve seen in post-Saddam Iraq). Who knows how all of this will really turn out?