by Tasbeeh Herwees
With a white scarf around her shoulders, and the familiar green banner scrolling across the screen, Cynthia Mckinney appeared on Libyan State TV on Saturday. What a triumph for the sinking ship that is the Gaddafi regime--as NATO and the international community continue their efforts to force Gaddafi from power. Here is their shiny white knight: an American ex-Congresswoman who's willing to defend them against the Western-Imperialist-Al Qaeda-rats.
She's the worst sort of person to be involved in the Libyan conflict: not only incredibly uninformed but deluded as well, having fully swallowed the lies of the Gaddafi regime as unalienable truths. Mckinney continues to defend Gaddafi as a "hero' of African rights (we'll talk about this more below) and refuses to acknowledge the crimes of his regime. Her justification for doing so indicates a stunning ignorance on her part. Even as damning evidence of the Gaddafi regime's unspeakable cruelty mounts against it--countless videos, photos and eyewitness accounts of citizens, journalists and others--Cynthia Mckinney stands by Gaddafi, recently making an appearance on Libyan State TV from Tripoli as part of an NGO "fact-finding" mission.
There are many like her, among them, Louis Farrakhan, whose support of Gaddafi hinges on the fact that Gaddafi has funneled millions of dollars into the Nation of Islam and consequently into Farrakhan's pocket. Farrakhan too has chosen to turn a blind eye towards the undeniable atrocities that the Gaddafi regime has perpetrated upon it's own people (not just since February 15th but for 42 years) and instead has parroted government propaganda, painting the regime as some kind of perverted harbinger of peace to the African continent.
It was bad enough when Mckinney extolled the nonexistent virtues of Gaddafi's "Jamahiriya' as an idealized form of "direct democracy.' Then, McKinney lauded The Green Book as some kind of paragon of democratic philosophy. Even Saif Al-Islam Gaddafi, his own son and former heir apparent, admits that the jamahiriya is no democracy.
Her appearance on Libyan State TV is a slap in the face to the Libyan people. Here, a former Congresswomen standing by the man who is responsible for the deaths of thousands of Libyans and on the same channel that has repeatedly aired footage of Gaddafi promising to "cleanse" Benghazi of dissidents, house by house and closet by closet.
Libyan State TV is a "a psychological weapon,' a relentless propaganda machine. This is the same outlet that called rape survivor Iman Al Obeidy a "prostitute' and accused her of lying about being captured and repeatedly raped and tortured by Gaddafi forces. Not to mention, the now infamous lies about Nescafe pills and al Qaeda terrorists and the denial of the deaths of what some reports suggest may be more than 30,000 Libyans.
Cynthia Mckinney says she's in Tripoli because she wants to "understand the truth." And yet professional journalists who've been stationed there for months say that the truth, in Tripoli, is impossible to find. "If there is a hell for journalists," wrote Sky News' Emma Hurd, "It will probably be a lot like the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli." Journalists in Tripoli have been denied their freedom to report, restricted to the gilded prison walls of the Rixos Hotels, and forced, at times, to report the propaganda they are they fed by Musa Ibrahim, the Libyan regime's snakelike spokesperson.
What does Mckinney expect to find? Here's what she won't find:
Mckinney says Gaddafi is a champion of African rights, but Gaddafi's actions on the African continent suggest otherwise. His plans for a United Africa seem to coincidentally insist that he be Africa's figurehead. Gaddafi condescendingly calls himself the King of Kings of Africa, manipulating pan-African sentiments and handing out millions through Libyan development funds to fuel his delusions of grandeur. His record in Africa is mixed at best, dishing out much needed capital to poverty-stricken and indebted African nations to support his self-interests and feed his megalomania, while fostering rifts and fomenting war between rival groups and nations. Despite the regime's heralding of the construction of a hospital here or a hotel there, not a single one of Libya's (African) neighbors has been spared his destructive touch, constant meddling and absurd arrogance.
He has denied citizenship to Libya's marginalized Tabou tribes, and exploited disenfranchised peoples, handing them weapons and money to go to war during Libya's aggression on its southern neighbor, Chad. During that time he created and financed the Janjaweed, the brutal Sudanese militia who perpetrated the massacres in Darfur. The Janjaweed militia not only killed thousands, but also used rape as a "systematic weapon of ethnic cleansing."
African immigrants in Libya are treated with hostility by the Libyan government and exploited for cheap labor. A Human Rights Watch report from 2006 found: "Foreigners in Libya reported police violence and due process violations, including torture and unfair trials." The report also describes the dismal conditions under which Africans are held in detention camps for migrants. During the current crisis in Libya, the Gaddafi regime has been accused of using African migrants as weapons in the face of European hostility, cramming thousands of African migrants into boats by force. Hundreds have died in over-loaded boats that capsized en route to Italy.
Not to mention, the war crimes committed against Libyans, who are in fact Africans.
Gaddafi has openly and brazenly financed known war criminals in Liberia and Sierra Leone. Liberia's ex-president and warlord Charles Taylor has a rap-sheet that rivals Gaddafi's. He now stands trial on "11 counts of war crimes, crimes against humanity, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law." Taylor and Sierra Leone's rebel leader, Fonday Sankoh, were both trained in Libya and financed by Gaddafi-- the two are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths in Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia, not to mention the rape of hundreds of women and their indiscriminate use of child soldiers.