2 March 2011 — MRZine
Al Jazeera reports that Black African workers now live in fear in the rebel-held territories in Libya. Some of them have been attacked by mobs, others have been imprisoned, and some of their homes and workshops have been torched. “Many African workers say they felt safer under the Gaddafi regime,” says Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from Benghazi.
Before this video report, there have already been warning signs: “Among the spray-painted graffiti in Beida, some denounce foreign workers and call Mr Qaddafi a Jew,” as noted by The Economist a week ago for instance.
“What we are looking at here,” says Rowland, “is the ugly face of the revolution.” Al Jazeera reports on this “ugly face” as if the channel had nothing to do with its emergence, chalking it up to “racism” that “when law and order break down . . . can rise to the surface.” However, it is none other than Al Jazeera, together with Western corporate media, that, conveying Libyan rebel testimonies without independently verifying their accuracy, has been working hard to spread the very rumors that it now pretends to deplore: “Eastern Libya is rife with rumors about African mercenaries brought in by Gaddafi to put down the uprising.”
If Al Jazeera now sees an ugly face in Libya, it is only looking at the face of a monster for whose birth it served as chief midwife, passing off a neoliberal pro-imperialist civic-military coup d’état against a neoliberal pro-imperialist regime — aka the sorriest of bourgeois faction fights — as a “revolution”1 and inciting people to join it. That is very clever of the Gulf Arab ruling classes, whose interests now clearly shape what Al Jazeera says and what it doesn’t say. There is certainly no better way to disfigure the Arab Revolt, which is now threatening them at home.
1 It will probably take some time before the rest of the Left catches on to the fraud perpetrated on us.
Yoshie Furuhashi is Editor of MRZine.