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Ethnic Hatred Taints Liberated Libya

UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice with Libya's NTCChief Mustafa Abdel Jalil (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)
UN Ambassador Susan E. Rice with Libya's NTCChief Mustafa Abdel Jalil (Mahmud Turkia/AFP/Getty Images)

In a blog entry at Racialicious, Simba Rousseau writes about the abuse of dark-skinned Libyans by independent militias after Muammar Qaddafi was overthrown and eventually killed in a coup d'état. The attacks are believed to be retaliation against an elite battalion of dark-skinned soldiers assembled by Qaddafi dating back to the 1970s.


… Tawergha — which lies some forty miles south of Misurata along the western coast of the Gulf of Sirte — was home to an estimated population of over 20,000 people. Now it’s become a ghost town.

According to some Libyans, the name Tawergha was given to the towns black population because they had dark-skinned features like the original Tuareg.


The Tuaregs, who inhabit the border area of Libya, Chad, Niger and Algeria, were historically nomads that controlled trans-Saharan trade routes and had a reputation for being robbers.

During the seventies, Gaddafi assembled the Tuaregs and other African recruits into his elite battalion known as the Al Asmar. Ironically, Al Asmar means “The Black” in Arabic.

Under Gaddafi's supervision, these militias were oftentimes sent on military expeditions into neighbouring countries and at the onset of the country’s revolt in February of this year many Tuaregs were unleashed on protestors.

As a result, racial hatred fuelled by unconfirmed rumours that African mercenaries had been hired by Gaddafi to squash discontent created another common enemy — dark-skinned Africans.


Read Simba Rousseau's entire blog entry at Racialicious.

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