Louis Proyect: The Unrepentant Marxist

July 23, 2013

The PSL School of Falsification: A Libyan Rebel Sets the Record Straight

Filed under: Libya — louisproyect @ 10:18 pm

The PSL School of Falsification: A Libyan Rebel Sets the Record Straight

 

Pham Binh’s “Libya and Syria: When Anti-Imperialism Goes Wrong,” published on The North Star sparked acrimonious debate on the question of imperialist intervention in the Arab Spring. Mazda Majidi’s response to Binh in the Party for Socialism and Liberation’s newspaper, Liberation News, contained a number of false claims about events on the ground in Libya during 2011. What follows is Tripoli Brigade member’s response to those falsehoods.

 

“Immediately after the rebels took control in Benghazi, numerous dark-skinned Libyans and migrant sub-Saharan African workers were lynched in city streets in a wide-scale campaign of terror.”

The “dark-skinned” Libyans who were lynched in Benghazi were two or three Ghadafi mercenaries caught in their full military fatigue while committing atrocities in the city. Migrant workers? That’s a lie. It is true that many were treated badly but no one was killed simply for being dark skinned. Many were indeed paid by the regime to commit certain acts, and I have no doubt that some may have been mistaken. But saying that they were killed simply for being black is a sick, disgusting propaganda attempt. We had several black Libyan rebels in our brigade, some even martyrs.

“The NTC was a right-wing force even before it served as the ground forces of the NATO invaders…”

Don’t make me laugh. I wonder how NATO benefited from “its” NTC forces on the ground. Where’s NATO in Libya now?

“…to reverse the remaining elements of the nationalist process initiated by the 1969 progressive coup, also called the Al-Fateh Revolution, led by Gaddafi.”

Progressive? Has Majidi seen Libya before the February 17 revolution? It was in a state of constant, systematic deterioration for 42 years despite trillions of dollars in oil revenues. The destruction was social and economic, and we are suffering its consequences even now.

“The NTC did not enjoy the support of the entire Libyan population…”

Of course it didn’t; nor did Jesus nor Mohammad. There’s no doubt that many people supported Qaddafi but the majority was undoubtedly for the revolution. Otherwise how do you explain the victory? NATO? Where is NATO in Libya now? If the majority didn’t want imperialism and its resulting government, where are the anti-NATO protests after two years??! Qaddafi loyalists now live with dignity with full freedom of speech and no one bothers them.

“On July 1, 2011, in the midst of the massive NATO bombing, hundreds of thousands—perhaps as many as a million people—rallied in Tripoli against NATO. The corporate media gave the protest scant coverage.”

“Massive NATO bombing”? Again, I have to laugh. Only a few empty buildings were hit in Tripoli. Big explosions true, but they were pinpoint accurate. That the tyrant organized such an event was testament to the fact that NATO never targeted civilians in Libya (contrary to Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places) and that was proven by numbers.

Ask anyone in Tripoli what was the response of Tripolitanians when the NATO bombs struck the tyrant’s compounds and they’ll tell you it was loud cheers, whistles, and “Allahu Akbar” (God is great). Most of the people in that rally were bussed in from other parts of the country, many not even knowing where they were going, some were forced to attend, and others were from tribes loyal to the tyrant. It was not a popular move in any way. And no, Libya’s population is not 6 million, that figure is 40 years old. Although unofficial, the number is closer 12 million today (thanks for the great census system setup by the “great” Al-Fateh Revolution).

“After the NATO bombing started, the Libyan leadership opened up arms depots in Tripoli to the population, urging everyone to defend the country against foreign attackers.”

This is a lie. The tyrant opened up arms depots as a media stunt. A few dozen AK-47s were handed out to people tied to the regime and their relatives and even those guns were closely monitored and controlled. That campaign lasted for just hours and the funny part is that many of those guns ended up being used against him in Tripoli. My cousin and many others were given those rifles by people who received them and used them to attack the tyrant’s forces. Many others were sold by the tyrant’s cronies to the rebels. That was a 100% media show and subsequent fail.

“…at least in Tripoli, the government enjoyed considerable popularity…“

Amusing. That’s why Tripoli was liberated by its people in one night on August 20 before any of us came in from outside. We found the city liberated and the tyrant’s thugs in shambles (devastated by IEDs, “galatina,” and snipers). His thugs were defeated and fled every part of Tripoli except for his compound and the loyalist (poorest, trashiest) neighborhood of Abu-Salim (those two places were where we [the rebels who came from outside] played an important role).

“Forces loyal to Gaddafi had been gaining control and rapidly moving towards Benghazi, having already made it past Brega.”

That’s true, but our respected author has forgotten that most of the ground they took in early 2011 was empty desert. The only significant populated region in the east is Benghazi and there was no way he would have taken it without flattening the whole city (which he was getting ready to do).

“Libyan rebels did not just receive military training and advice, but functioned under the operational command of NATO…”

Another blatant lie. The truth is that we were upset NATO was doing nothing to the dozens of rocket launchers that were wreaking havoc on civilians (mostly in Misurata and the Wwestern mountains). NATO only acted when we advanced, not the other way around. And the only coordination that went on was us giving NATO coordinates of regime command and control centers, mostly in Tripoli. There was no direct collaboration in battles; we drew up our own battle plans and acted upon them as we saw fit. NATO did its own thing much of the time, mostly bombing ammo dumps and heavy machinery (which was mostly old, rusty equipment that was of no use to the regime in the first place).

“NATO provided aerial support – that is, murdering pro-Gaddafi forces by bombing…”

Another big lie. The great majority of the tyrant’s convoys, compounds, and military formations were repeatedly warned by NATO to clear their positions, leave their convoys, and disengage. They were constantly informed of exactly when the strikes were going to take place and they always fled before that. We picked up the same warnings over our radios and knew exactly where and when NATO was going to strike. Very few of the tyrant’s forces were killed by NATO; I’d even venture to say that more rebels were killed by NATO than regime cronies.

“The pictures of the destroyed city of Sirte are worth a thousand more words than Binh’s reassurances.”

This stooge was obviously not following the battle of Sirte when it happened. Those buildings were destroyed one by one by the rebels themselves due to the presence of regime snipers in every corner.  Those holes are all from rocket-propelled grenade holes and 14.5mm AA fire, not NATO munitions. NATO’s role was extremely limited in Sirte. I visited the city and all the battle spots in July 2012 and saw one large building hit from the air which was was to take out a sniper (I have pictures of it actually).

“The Binhs of the future will undoubtedly look back and condemn the Libya intervention as a historic crime…”

The Mazdas of the future will look at how great of a nation Libya had become and regret their ignorant, paranoid, simplistic approach to analyzing the events and outcomes of the February 17 revolution.

In short, we never wanted NATO and we wanted no foreign intervention. We simply asked for our long-confiscated freedom and were met with savage slaughter. We could not sit and wait as the regime wiped out whole cities (as it threatened to do) and kill one-half of the population. We sought the aid of neighbors and of the Arab and Muslim world. They couldn’t help themselves let alone help us. We turned to the United Nations with a final plea and got the support we needed. Despite the imminent slaughter, we accepted only an air campaign and refused ground intervention from the first day. In a show of appreciation, we waved the flags of all the nations who stood with us, some of whom were undoubtedly imperialist powers. But in this case, and contrary to what they do best, the imperialist powers helped save hundreds of thousands of Libyan lives and we are ever-grateful for that. What did the imperialists get in return? Oil? They were already getting that and for very cheap. Military bases? Over our dead bodies. A puppet regime? This government is barely able to work due to the people protesting anything they believe does not represent the core values of the revolution. Plus we, the “rebels,” can take this government down at any moment, and there’s no imperialists in Libya to help it.

These anti-imperialists, although their cause is noble, have allowed their paranoia to blind them and wage an ignorant campaign that is exploited by tyrants to this hour. It is a sad reality but I hope my experience sheds some light on these issues.

 

5 Comments »

  1. “Progressive? Has Majidi seen Libya before the February 17 revolution? It was in a state of constant, systematic deterioration for 42 years despite trillions of dollars in oil revenues. The destruction was social and economic, and we are suffering its consequences even now.”

    Before US-NATO Invasion, Libya Had The Highest Human Development Index , The Lowest Infant Mortality, The Highest Life Expectancy In All Of Africa

    http://www.countercurrents.org/cramer040511.htm
    http://globalciviliansforpeace.wordpress.com/2011/11/09/the-standard-of-living-in-libya/
    http://hdrstats.undp.org/en/countries/profiles/LBY.html

    Don’t spread imperialist propaganda. No one will buy them.

    Comment by Bankotsu — July 24, 2013 @ 4:25 am

  2. Yeah, well, in 2009 just before the revolution began, Libya was ranked number 55 in Human Development Indicators. But Mexico was ranked higher at 53. Been to Mexico lately? This anarcho-punk zine takes on the myth of prosperous Libya pretty well–no wonder so many young people are identifying with anarchism when “Marxists” like Bankotsu are running this kind of jive.

    1. It is true that Libya under Gaddafi was economically prosperous country with high living standards?

    No, this is not true. Although Libya has the largest oil production on the African continent, while having a relatively small population (6.5 million), the economic indicator of country are at a low level by world standards. While in Libya, lived better than in Ethiopia, but worse than in the revolution-ridden Bahrain.

    full: http://punkway.net/?p=210

    Comment by louisproyect — July 24, 2013 @ 3:42 pm

  3. Bankotsu doesn’t provide the relevant post-revolution figures so it’s impossible to tell if things have worsened or improved according to his own metrics. Pathetic.

    Comment by Pham Binh — July 26, 2013 @ 1:21 am

  4. Yes, post Gaddafi Libya is more prosperous and standards of living is much higher than under Gaddafi, just like Egypt. Tell me another one.

    Comment by Bankotsu — July 26, 2013 @ 4:40 am


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