Libya On My Mind

Posted on April 3, 2011 by


As we see the red, black and green banner being waved among the folks of Libya as they put their lives on the line against the continued governance of the Muammar Gaddafi regime, many of us wonder, “What’s up? Is there any connection between our red, black and green and that one?” Apparently not. (It has been posted in one of the IYPAD forums that the red, black and green was ancient Ghana’s flag (9th century), which inspired Marcus Garvey to bring forth that banner for the U.N.I.A.)

 The flag being displayed amongst the resisters, with the star and crescent distinguishing it from the   African American banner, was first flown in Libya under King Idris who is said to have been “put on the throne by the British when the country gained independence in 1951,” after having been an Italian colony since 1911. That flag’s composition draws from other flags of significance in that regions history. (See

The Idris monarchy fell in 1969, under a coup led by Gaddafi and others who felt that the monarchy was a sell-out and a front for British, U.S. and Italian interests, especially relative to the oil riches of the country.  Following the coup, the Idris flag was replaced by the red-white-black tricolor Pan-Arab Liberation flag, which was replaced by the Federation of Arab Republics flag in 1972.  On November 11, 1977 following the country’s official renaming as the Great Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (an Arab term generally meaning the state of the masses), the country gained the distinction of having the world’s only single-color flag — all-green, to symbolize Islam as well as Gaddafi’s “Green Revolution.”

In the view of at least one writer, “The flag of King Idris, which is flying again now in the civil war in Libya, is the banner of those who, by manipulating the struggle of those genuinely fighting for democracy against the regime of Gaddafi, plan to bring Libya back under control of the powers that once dominated it. Those forces, headed by the United States, are preparing to land in Libya under the cover of ‘peacekeeping.’”

(See — by Manlio Dinucci )


Another issue that touched our hearts was the reports of African mercenaries being imported to fight against those resisting the Gaddafi regime. But sources close to the action have reported that there were no Africans from outside Libya coming in as mercenaries. The large number of Africans living in Libya, having dual citizenship and significant loyalties to Gaddafi were more likely to be among those responding to his call. Additionally, it has been reported that there were Serbian and Croatian mercenaries responding to Gaddafi’s call – for handsome sums.

The poverty that plagues so many African nations has led as many as 1.5 million Africans over the years to seek and gain employment in Libya. Many of these folks found this the wrong place to be as the rebellion unfolded and reports of African mercenaries were circulated. It is reported that large numbers of them have been maimed, massacred and dismembered by enraged Libyan rebels whose reasoning is driven by anti-Black African racism, while Libyans who attempted to protect these Africans in their homes were themselves threatened with torture and death. 


Libya Attack: Lessons for Africa (a editorial)

The pounding of Libya with Western-ally-led tomahawk missiles is an indictment to African leaders, African Union, and Western powers. By ignoring the electorate, using them to rubber-stamp selfish whims and overturning their decision during voting, African leaders have opened a gap that the developed world uses to position itself as available for the ‘people.’ The West, though purporting to champion human rights, democracy, and rule of law always uses double standards. They have been quick to support Libyan ‘revolutionaries’ but paid a blind eye to Bahrain where the very conditions – or even worse – that Libya is accused of exist. Further, emphasis on “might is right” might scale up arms competition leading to a more armed world. This defeats democracy. 

African leaders must put their act together and manage themselves. If they don’t, they will be managed. The African Union’s act of fumbling in Ivory Coast, Somalia, Egypt and Tunisia and  failing to speak uniformly on continental and global issues subjects Africa to foreign divide and rule onslaughts. AU would do better to safeguard the interests of the African people and not hide behind formality to protect wayward political elites on the continent. It is time that African leaders paid attention to their citizenry, offered efficient services to them, invested in the policy of inclusiveness and innovation. Today, Western missiles are pounding Africa; whose missiles will pound the continent tomorrow?


To see and hear Bro. Dr. Cornell West discuss various policies and actions of President Obama’s administration, including the current Libyan rebellion, visit the following link:

                                                                                                                                    –Bro. Mxolisi