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Thread: Spare a Thought for Tawergha

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    Politics.ie Member Dubstudent's Avatar
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    Default Spare a Thought for Tawergha

    Tawergha was a town that had an estimated population of between 30,000-40,000 people (sources vary) in 2011 before the Libyan Civil War. The town was predominantly made up of Black-Libyans, the descendants of people who were once slaves until their emancipation. Misrata located about 50km from Tawergha had a history of being an entrepreneurial city that was heavily involved in the slave trade and in the oppression of the ancestors of the Tawerghan people. Similar to the southern states of the U.S after emancipation several former slaves still worked for their former masters with the men performing gruelling manual labour and the women acting as nannies to the children of affluent Misratan families (Elmazzi). This was a process that continued right up until 2011 with Tawerghans working in several menial jobs in Misrata (Hilsum).

    Tawergha : Only Through Acknowledging Our True History, Can We Move Forward

    Sandstorm - Lindsey Hilsum - Google Books

    It would be disingenuous of me to leave out that Tawergha was used by the Libyan Army during the 2011 Libyan Civil War as an operating base and supply station for operations to be undertook against the rebels in Misrata. The Battle of Misrata was one of the largest battles in the civil war (Feb-May 2011) and over 1000 rebels and civilians in Misrata are estimated to have lost their lives in the battle. It was claimed by Misratan militiamen that some Tawerghan soldiers had been involved in rape in Misrata, although the extent of this is unconfirmed and '’molestation’’ in certain Muslim cultures can be tearing a headscarf off a woman, something that of course would not secure a sexual assault conviction in the western world (Hilsum). There was also a lot of hysteria about '’African mercenaries’’ and captured black Libyan citizens were paraded on television as being an example of these mercenaries when in fact it was likely a fabrication in many cases (Campbell, 115). Aris Roussinos a journalist who had spent time with the Misratan rebels claimed that while several of the rebels had claimed to have seen videos on captured mobile phones of Taweghans raping Misratan women, when he asked for evidence of the videos they '’always said that the videos had been deleted’’ (Roussinos).

    http://books.google.ie/books?id=RRc2...slaves&f=false

    Nato's Failure in Libya: Lessons for Africa - Horace Campbell - Google Books

    Rebels: My Life Behind Enemy Lines with Warlords, Fanatics and Not-so ... - Aris Roussinos - Google Books

    After the tide of the war had turned, the town of Tawergha came under sustained assault in August when it was shelled with Grad and S5 rockets by the Misratan rebels. Much of the Tawerghan population was forced to flee because of this barrage of rockets and siege of their town, those who remained were warned to leave or face reprisal violence and imprisonment (Bassiouni, 617). In mid-August 2011 the remaining citizens of Tawergha were forced to leave and threatened never to return again (Bassiouni, 618). The city became deserted and was looted and burned by the Misratan rebels, Tawerghans stated to the UN-COI that the Misratan rebels had pillaged Tawergha as they took over the town (Bassiouni, 618).

    Libya: From Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and ... - Google Books

    On the 21st of January 2012 the UN-COI (commission of inquiry) first visited Tawergha. All the roads heading towards Tawergha had been obstructed by sand masses, the Misratan rebels admitted that the buildings of Tawergha were being used '’as target practice’’ while COI investigators also witnessed houses being set on fire. All of Tawergha’s buildings looked as if they had been attacked with weapons and some of them may have been bulldozed intentionally. The word '’slave’’ had been daubed on the towns school, hospital and other public buildings (Bassiouni, 618). Aris Roussinos describes the scenes he witnessed when he travelled to Tawergha after the town had been emptied by the Misratan rebels in August 2011. He described the town as being totally deserted except for the Misratan fighters who were'‘’busily looting the abandoned homes’’. He describes rebel fighters tearing up family photo albums, smashing up houses and rebels burning homes to the ground (Roussinos). Subsequently the UN-COI concluded in March 2012 that the Misratan rebels had committed crimes against humanity (including torture and murder) against the Tawerghan people claiming '’the Misrata thuwar have killed, arbitrarily arrested and tortured Tawerghans across Libya’’ (Campbell, 168). In late August 2011 an Amnesty International team claimed that black Libyans '’were at a high risk of abuse from anti-Gaddafi forces’’. The team while visiting Tripoli hospital had witnessed an injured black Libyan from Tawergha being dragged off by rebels and told he was being taken to Misrata for ‘’questioning’’, two other black patients were told that '‘their turn was coming’’ (Senauth, 127). Also in Tripoli a Tawerghan man gave an account of being thrown into a car by a group of armed men, being subjected to a mock execution at a detention facility and being subjected to whippings and being hit repeatedly with rifle butts. Another Tawerghan man was abducted from his home in Tripoli an abuse in a detention centre that was under militia control (Bassiouni, 786). Thomas Dehermann-Roy a representative of the European Commission-Humanitarian Aid claimed that '’many people joined the rebels for the sole purpose (of killing black Libyans). They are carrying out systematic attacks on black people. Sometimes in an arbitrary manner’’ (Senauth, 126).

    Libya: From Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and ... - Google Books

    Rebels: My Life Behind Enemy Lines with Warlords, Fanatics and Not-so ... - Aris Roussinos - Google Books

    Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya - Horace Campbell - Google Books

    http://books.google.ie/books?id=ShKA...page&q&f=false

    The Wall Street Journal reported that the NTC leader (at the time) Mahmoud Jibril when responding to claims of atrocities in Tawergha by the Misratan rebels claimed that '’regarding Tawergha my own viewpoint is that nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misrata’’ (Senauth, 125). A senior rebel commander from Zintan claimed that senior members of the NTC told them that they did not oppose attacks on black people who supported Gaddafi '’Shahman told us to do whatever we want with the black people who supported Gaddafi. This also applies for many others of the NTC’’ (Senauth, 126). Interestingly Aris Roussinos claimed that while he was in a discussion with a Misratan rebel named Hashem he claimed that the Benghazi rebels that were sent to Misrata were not involved in side by side combat with the Misratan rebels, but had been sent there for when the Misratan rebels took Zliten. Zliten was a pro-Gaddafi area, with a predominantly Arab-Libyan populace. Hashem claimed '’it’s a bit more complicated than that, they’re here (Benghazi rebels) for when we take Zliten. Maybe 80 per-cent of Zliten people support Gaddafi, so they keep Benghazi soldiers here to take charge of Zliten after we capture it. They know that we hate Zliten and Zliten hates Misrata. Otherwise it’ll just be a massacre’’ (Roussinos). It makes you wonder that if the Benghazi forces had taken this measure to protect the Arab-Libyan population of Zliten because of the dislike between Misrata and Zliten, then why considering the historical baggage associated with the Misrata-Tawergha relationship the same process was not in place for the Black-Libyan people of Tawergha. It would seem that the Black-Libyan population of Tawergha was viewed as less important and disposable in comparison to the Arab-Libyan population of Zliten.

    Rebels: My Life Behind Enemy Lines with Warlords, Fanatics and Not-so ... - Aris Roussinos - Google Books

    Rebels: My Life Behind Enemy Lines with Warlords, Fanatics and Not-so ... - Aris Roussinos - Google Books

    http://books.google.ie/books?id=ShKA...shaman&f=false

    Tawerghan community leaders reported that after the mass displacement of the Tawerghan population that 16,000 Tawerghans were located in eastern Libya while 12,000 were located in western-Libya mostly in Tripoli where they were more exposed to attacks. Most Tawerghans took refuge in towns and IDP (internally displaced persons) camps around Tripoli, Sirte, Benghazi, Al Jufra and Al Haysha. In these camps Tawerghans were subject to attacks involving widespread arrests, abductions and killings of civilians (Bassiouni, 618/9).

    Libya: From Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and ... - Google Books

    Attacks on Tawerghan people continue in Libya, poorly secured IDP camps are regularly raided by rebel forces who abduct, torture and sometimes murder Tawerghan people. It is three years since the entire town of Tawergha was forcibly displaced by the Misratan rebels. To this day they have not been allowed to return to their homes. This is a clear case of collective justice and is abhorrent. There is a growing movement of Tawerghans who want to return home this year, the 25th of June was set as a date (by the Tawerghan Council) for their return but due to fears for their safety due to possible targeting of them by Misratans many were dissuaded from returning and those that tried to were stopped by officials from Ajdabiya. It is still unclear if the Tawerghans will be able to return to their homes.

    An International Criminal Court report from April 2014 stated that the displacement of the entire population of Tawergha from their homes:
    ''appears to meet the elements of deportation or forcible transfer of the civilian population as a crime against humanity under Article 7(1)(d) and as a war crime under Article 8(2)(e)(viii) of the Rome Statute.''
    http://www.icc-cpi.int/iccdocs/otp/u...y-2014-eng.pdf

    I have started this thread because I believe that the western media for the most part has forgotten these people. The Gaza situation and the plight of the Palestinians for example has (rightfully) gotten massive media attention but the plight of the Tawerghans has been conveniently left mostly hidden for the past three years. It is something that has irked me for quite a while, but as I had some time on my hands I decided to write this post and start this thread so perhaps the plight of these people might get some more exposure (at least to a limited audience in Ireland). This thread is not intended as any sort of points scoring exercise over the Libyan Civil War (which I’ll admit I opposed) but it is intended to raise discussion on what these people are enduring in Libya.


    Bassiouni, Mahmoud Cherif, Libya: From Repression to Revolution: A Record of Armed Conflict and International Law Violations, 2011-2013 (2013)

    Bensouda, Fatou, Seventh Report of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court to the UN Security Council Pursuant to UNSCR 1970 (2014)

    Campbell, Horace, Global NATO and the Catastrophic Failure in Libya (2013)

    Elmazzi, Abdullah, Tawergha: Only Through Acknowledging Our True History, Can We Move Forward (Tripoli Post 11/01/2013)

    Hilsum, Lindsey, Sandstorm (2012)

    Roussinos, Aris, Rebels: My Life Behind Enemy Lines with Warlords, Fanatics and Not so Friendly Fire (2014)

    Senauth, Frank, The Making and the Revolution of Libya (2013)
    Last edited by Dubstudent; 31st July 2014 at 07:27 AM.

  2. #2
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    Thanks for that.
    I never cease to thank God for my lot in life.
    I would like. to believe that education and civilisation would teach us better ways.But the actions of the educated civilisations has proven this to be a false hope.
    it seems we are destined to destroy ourselves.

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    Politics.ie Member Eire1976's Avatar
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    You wont hear a word from Cameron etc on this.

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    There are two reasons this type of genocide is not reported in the western media. Firstly the massacres were perpetrated by those the west backed and armed. Secondly no media was in Libya except behind government lines as the Islamic fundamentalists are so volatile journalists would not be safe.

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    Politics.ie Member Eire1976's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levellers View Post
    There are two reasons this type of genocide is not reported in the western media. Firstly the massacres were perpetrated by those the west backed and armed. Secondly no media was in Libya except behind government lines as the Islamic fundamentalists are so volatile journalists would not be safe.
    You can bet your bottom dollar that they have plenty of satellite videos of all events.

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    Politics.ie Member Analyzer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eire1976 View Post
    You wont hear a word from Cameron etc on this.
    Now I understand the meaning of the term "heir to Blair".
    Coveney's ambition is the be Ireland's next EU Commissar and Ireland will pay a price as he builds his CV to position himself sufficiently loyal to the nEU empire.

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    Politics.ie Member Kommunist's Avatar
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    This is the wonderful Libya that NATO helped bring about by the removal of Gadaffi.

    Yep.
    "The great appear great because we are on our knees: Let us rise." James Larkin.

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    Politics.ie Member Dubstudent's Avatar
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    Refugee camp attack in Tripoli sparks outrage | Middle East Eye

    Libya Dawn an alliance of Libyan ''rebel'' groups linked with the Misratan rebels carried out an attack on an IDP camp housing Tawerghans who fled from ethnic cleansing. One person was killed, four were injured with another four's whereabouts unknown after being abducted.

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    Politics.ie Member SAT's Avatar
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    Having urged the public to support the destruction of yet another country our Valkyrie reporters have now lost interest in Libya. With that crusade accomplished they have all moved on to their next target - Syria.

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    Politics.ie Member former wesleyan's Avatar
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    Having spent ten years working in Libya I was always surprised by the coverage of the Libyan revolution. Ethnicity, class and clan were rarely mentioned, everyone being lumped into the catchall term Libyan, or at most a brief mention of the Tripoli/Bengazi conflict.
    "What Michael Collins accepted in '22,De Valera accepted in'27 and Gerry Adams accepted in '98.Sooner or later they all come around to accepting the Treaty"

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