The women of Benghazi

With their husbands, sons and brothers at the frontlines, the women of Benghazi are busy supporting them with meals and supplies, preparing thousands of sandwiches and warm meals daily.

Hoda Abdel Hamid reports from Benghazi, where the uprising began.

4 thoughts on “The women of Benghazi”

  1. another side of Benghazi:
    No Tahrir in Benghazi: A Racist Pogrom Rages On against Black Africans in Libya
    by Glen Ford

    American progressives and peace forces have been in a state of joyous delirium in recent weeks as they experienced vicarious, televised popular victories in Tunisia and Egypt. Watching unarmed crowds achieve tentative victories against entrenched, U.S.-backed regimes produced a kind of giddiness on this side of the ocean — an otherworldly feeling that, somehow, the foreign outposts of the U.S. empire might suddenly disintegrate by popular demand. But now, the U.S. naval war machine lies off the coast of Libya, and it is time for the American anti-war movement — such as it is — to remember who is the biggest enemy of peace on planet Earth: U.S. imperialism.

    It is certainly not Muamar Khadafi, no matter what you think of him. And the conflict that is raging in Libya seems in important ways very much unlike the events in Tunisia and Egypt. The anti-Khadafi forces were armed from almost the very beginning of the uprising and included elements of the military. Unlike the opponents of Egypt’s President Mubarak, we know very little about who these rebel Libyans are — except that they have been getting lots of material help from the Americans and the French and other Europeans. It is also becoming clearer by the day that a vicious, racist pogrom is raging against the 1.5 million sub-Saharan Black African migrant workers who do the hard jobs in Libya, work that is rejected by the relatively prosperous Libyans. Hundreds of Black migrant workers have already been killed by anti-Khadafi forces — yet the U.S. corporate media express absolutely no concern for their safety. One Western report noted that large numbers of Black Africans were seized in Benghazi and were assumed to have been hanged. That is a war crime, whether these men were soldiers or migrant workers, but the Western correspondent seemed unconcerned. One suspects there are many atrocities occurring in the rebel-held areas of Libya, especially against people that are not members of the locally dominant tribe. Benghazi is not Tahrir Square in Cairo.

    How convenient that most of the Libyan voices we hear on corporate media call for armed western intervention. How in synch with the increasing American and European threats of “no-fly zones” and amphibious naval actions — all, of course, for humanitarian reasons, rather than having something to do with the fact that Libya is a major producer of some of the world’s sweetest crude oil.

  2. there may well be a small racist backlash as a result of qaddafi’s use of african mercenaries against the people. there is no proof of a pogrom however. as so much rubbish coming from the wilder and more ignorant fringes of the left, this is slanderous. as for the rebellion being armed – this started with peaceful demonstrations which were immediately met by the most extreme violence. I fully support the right of the libyan people to take up arms to defend themselves agaisnt this violence.

    as for the nonsense about the revolution being allied to imperialism – that’s based on the ridiculous assumption that qaddafi is an anti-imperialist. and so he is, if torturing rendered prisoners for america is anti-imperialist action.

    Qaddafi – “even the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists.” So he compares himself to Israel and the Libyan people to Palestinians, who are ‘extremists.’ Another example of his anti-imperialism.

    the leftists who believe qaddafi propaganda are like those who thought the soviet occupation of afghanistan was progressive, or that saddam hussein was a socialist, or that russian interventions in east europe in 56 or 68 were a good idea. such people are, at best, making themselves entirely irrelevant. they should grow up, or at least have the good grace to shut up while heroes and heroines are fighting and dying.

  3. it is true that we don’t know much about the leaders of the revolution, that many ex-qaddafi high-ups are in the transitional council. this is worrying. yet we have to respect the reality of what is happening. the oppression is libya was worse than in tunisia (a much richer population in tunisia, although tunisia doesn’t have libya’s oil) or egypt (where there was some space for independent media and political organisation). the people had no chance to discuss politics or organise before the revolution, and sionce the revolution started they’ve been under fire. when the genocidal tyrant has gone there’ll be time for different political streams to emerge and compete.

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