Sunday, March 6, 2011

Gaddafi's Libya, African refugees, and European xenophobia

KPFA Weekend News, 03.06.2011:
Audio url:

Vincent Harris reported that European governments
collaborated with Gaddafi to prevent migrants from
departing from making their way to  Europe from Libya's
long Mediterranean coastline.
KPFA Weekend News Anchor David Landau:  Black, Southern Africans in Libya are in peril consequent to both racism and Western media reports that Muammar Gaddafy is using quote unquote "African mercenaries," meaning Black, Southern Africans, to put down the Libyan uprising. Pleas for help have gone up on blogs in North Africa and both NGOS and multilateral organizations are seeking access, resources, and the relaxation of immigration restrictions, so as to evacuate those endangered.   KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Aljazeera English recorded the voice of this Nigerian, who goes by the name of Courage, after he escaped an attack in Libya this week: 

Courage:  When I was coming from my work, I looked on my back.  There were car after me, chasing me.  They said I should stop.  I can't stop because they were holding cutlass and dangerous weapons with them.  I was running for my life.  If they had caught me that would have been the end of my life.  

Vincent Harris,  Dutch
creator of the blog Colored 
Opinionsand host of Colored 
Opinions Great Lakes Blogchat 
on Blog Talk Radio. 
KPFA:  Vincent Harris, creator of the Netherlands-based blog Colored Opinions, spoke with KPFA about what he calls xenophobic, anti-immigrant politics in Europe. He says European governments have a history of collaboration with Gaddafi to maintain a buffer zone meant to restrict African immigration to Europe by boat from the Libyan coast. Harris said that constraining African immigration is a high priority of most European governments and that, in exchange for his help with this goal, Gaddafi received military training for his army, and acceptance in European capitols,:

Vincent Harris:  They needed Gaddafi to solve this perceived problem, that Africans were crossing into Europe, from Libya.  They worked together to make sure that no Africans go into Europe. 

Harris added that North Africans are nevertheless likely to meet more xenophobia than Southern Africans in Europe because Europeans perceive North Africans as Muslims and Black, Southern Africans as Christians.  He also reported that on March 3rd, the European Council on Refugees and Exiles, urged the European Commission to appeal to EU member nations to help evacuate and offer protection to 4,000 sub-Saharan refugees who are currently trapped in Libya.  Harris’s report, “Africans trapped in Gaddafy’s Libya” can be found on and

For Pacifica, KPFA and Afrobeat Radio, I'm Ann Garrison.  

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for a completely new and different perspective on the situation in Libya. When I lived there for three years thirty years ago, even then there were poor people from all over flocking to the menial jobs provided by oil wealth. Gardeners, housekeepers, streetsweepers, whatever. From Somalia, Chad, Mali, Eritrea. Nothing changes.