Reflections on Libya post the Killing of Muammar Gaddafi
Obi Egbuna Jr October 16, 2021
This trip down memory lane begins with a baby boy making his entrance on October 8th, 1969, one month after the triumph of the Libyan Revolution, that overthrew a puppet regime posing as a monarchy obedient and submissive to Italian colonialists. Because indigenous Africans were captured, dehumanized, and displaced by Arabs before Europeans, the 25-year-old leader of this revolution and his closest comrades knew that we the people that R&B icon Curtis Mayfield called Darker Than Blue would be extremely suspicious and distrustful.
One thing that these young revolutionaries had going for them, is that almost 15 years before, the Egyptian and Algerian Revolutionaries Gamal Abdel Nasser and Ahmed Ben Bella, showed people with an Arab biological and cultural makeup could carry out and colonialist and imperialist revolutions, and earn the respect of natural daughters and sons of the soils where they stood.
When the baby born in 1969 turned 5 years old his family moved from London to Nigeria. One day he was inquiring on the whereabouts of his father, whom he had grown accustomed to spending quality father and son moments with but hadn’t seen for a few weeks and as expected began to miss him very much.
Unbeknownst to little boy, his father was invited to Libya for a conference focusing on the role of media in the decolonization process. The highlight of his Father’s visit was a meeting with Colonel Qadaffi, who told him about his genuine admiration for the Black Power movement and Black Panther Party in London and was delighted that this gathering provided him an opportunity to sit down face to face with one of its key architects.
When the boy’s father returned to Nigeria, he sat his son on his lap and showed him a picture of Colonel Qadaffi and told him that he should remember his image and name, primarily because of the role he would play in changing Mother Africa’s landscape for decades to come.
Although the boy was just happy to have his father home under the same roof with him and his mother, many years later he still remembered his father talking with his mother about his visit to Libya, and how he had never envisioned going to a predominantly Arab nation is North Africa dominated by its revolutionary fervor and an irresistible devotion to Mother Africa’s liberation and redemption.
Two years later in 1976, the boy’s family moved to Iowa City where his father was invited to obtain a master’s degree from the University of Iowa, while being hosted by the internationally acclaimed Writers Workshop. After his father earned that degree, the next stop for the family was Washington DC, to enroll in a PH D program at Howard University, his father made the journey alone and was joined by the boy and his Mother in the fall of 1978. From 1978 to 1981, before the Reagan administration through the US State Department told the Libyan government to close their mission and leave the country, the Libyan diplomats would routinely check in on the boy’s family and make sure that their stay in Washington was as pleasant as possible. They even paid a courtesy phone call to the boy’s father, wishing him luck in pursuit of his Doctorate, and added that they hoped to see him in Libya one day soon this time with his wife and son. Sadly, the family never had the opportunity to that visit to Libya, however it is abundantly clear that during that first visit, he made an impression on Colonel Qadaffi and the revolutionary leadership of the Jamahariyah.
Five years later in 1986 the boy was an 11th grader at Calvin Coolidge High School in Washington DC, when the Reagan administration cowardly bombed Libya and claimed the life of Colonel Qadaffi’s two-year-old daughter. This sadistic and genocidal attack was based on a false report from US intelligence that a bombing of a disco in Berlin, West Germany, had been carried out by the Libyan Government.
One day after this crime against humanity was carried out by US Imperialism, the boy was asked by his US History teacher as part of a current affairs assignment, to use her words to talk about “Qadaffi the madman and why we had to show him who was boss”. Prior to that, this had been his favorite class in school, which is important to note because by now the boy had lost complete interest in school and cut classes often and that was when he even bothered to show up at all.
The boy came the next day and told his teacher and peers that Colonel Qadaffi was a friend of his family, his father had been to Libya and to celebrate the bombing of Libya was the equivalent of cheering for Tarzan to kill Africans in the jungle. The boy had a reputation as a class clown, therefore his teacher and classmates thought this was him attempting to gain a cheap laugh at their expense. When the teacher realized that the young man was serious, she was cold and distant towards him for the duration of the school year.
A few weeks later the young man went to the annual African Liberation Day rally, that was organized every year by the All African Peoples Revolutionary Party in Washington DC, the theme that year was Bombs in Africa, Could Get You Bombs in America. He listened to the Revolutionary Pan Africanist icon Kwame Ture who also was a friend of his family, speak glowingly about the Libyan people and revolution and became so moved and signed up to join the AAPRP but was never contacted.
Four years later near the end of 1990, a historic gathering occurred in Libya, in which an umbrella outlet called the WorldWide Anti Zionist Front(WWAAZF) was established, the aim of this front was to expose why in addition to the butchering of Palestinian people, Zionist Israel would one day have to answer for her countless atrocities against Mother Africa. This was on the heels of Madiba Nelson Mandela being interrogated by ABC news anchorman Ted Koppel, for traveling to Libya and responding that no nation in Mother Africa supported the struggle to eradicate Apartheid than Libya.
That young man was a student/youth organizer by now and the organized formation he belonged to was one of two US based student/youth formations who joined the WWAAZF.
The following year that young man’s organization helped organize a press conference to give supporters of Libya an opportunity to respond to the accusation of the Bush administration that the Libyan Government masterminded the bombing of a PAN AM airline plane in Lockerbie, Scotland.
The press conference was followed by a rally in front of the White House, the young man was the only student/youth who spoke on that day .
Unfortunately, the WWAAZF was short lived primarily because many of the organizations were only hoping to get financial support from Libya, not close ranks to smash Zionist Israel. The positive aspect of the WWAAZF, was that it created a political climate and milleu that saw a global condemnation of Zionism years later at the US Conference on Racism, Xenophobia and other related intolerances. Even though this was a step in the right direction, the motivation was President Bush warning that if Reparations, Palestine and the kidnapping and displacement of our ancestors (chattel slavery) were on the agenda his administration would boycott the meeting, which represented the never ending lover’s quarrel between Democrats and Republicans on the US domestic political scene.
In a private meeting with Kwame Ture the young man was told that Colonel Qadaffi was losing support inside Libya’s Revolutionary Command Council called the Mathaba, and it was pressing on our part to defend him more than ever before. The young man replied how challenging that would be, especially since the loudest voices against Zionist Israel were either afraid to join the WWAAZF, or just comfortable with political showboating because it would garner worldwide attention.
As the years went by the young man had become the first US correspondent to Zimbabwe’s national newspaper in the Southern African nation’s history and was physically present when Colonel Qadaffi addressed the United Nations General Assembly for over two and a half hours. The primary focus of his speech was assassinations.
Before that appearance at the UN as far back as 2006 Colonel Qadaffi appeared to be under internal pressure to normalize relations with our former colonizers and captors, which resulted in a face to face with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. To the surprise of many, Colonel Qadaffi opened a Libyan Interests Section in Washington DC at the Watergate Hotel.
While his demands to unite the African continent had intensified, it was glaringly obvious that he saw the writing on the wall, and he behaved as he knew his days on earth were numbered. Shortly after a clash between the African Union’s Peace and Security Council(PSC) and the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab League.
The Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab League no longer recognized Colonel Qadaffi’s Government while the AU initially opposed foreign military intervention.
When the governments of Gabon, South Africa and Nigeria acquiesced to US Imperialist pressure, this put the African diaspora on notice that Neo Colonialism was the dominant expression at the governmental level and validated the assertion that the OAU had proven to be an experiment gone bad.
The young man, just like all Africans everywhere who embraced Colonel Qadaffi wholeheartedly, found himself through the organized formation he belonged to, listening to nonsensical rhetoric on a multitude of levels. The most underdeveloped were those who use the classic book The Destruction of Black Civilization by Dr. Chancellor Williams which highlighted the role of Arabs in Settler Colonialism and our physical displacement. The young man and his comrades with counter with how Gamal Abdel Nasser saved Brother Malcolm’s life, Brother Malcolm’s meeting with Ahmed Shukary and the PLO and how the African Pioneer Nationalist Movement Icon under the leadership Carlos Cooks based in Harlem, celebrated Gamal Abdel Nasser Marcus Garvey day on an annual basis. The icing on the cake was mentioning how Frantz Fanon’s book the Wretched of the Earth, which inspired their generation arguably more than any other writing, was about his role in the Algerian revolution.
The young man realized propaganda of this sort had one calculated aim which was that in case US-EU Imperialism would invade a North African nation, Africans would be hesitant to defend them because of the predominantly Arab presence. This angle was ruthlessly exploited by President Obama and the white supremacist NATO alliance, especially with the false images of Libyan forces slaughtering their indigenous population.
Because of the way President Obama gloated after the slaughtering of Colonel Qadaffi, the notion of the late comedic icon Dick Gregory who stated that Obama wasn’t nigga enough was put to rest, because anyone with African blood who could authorize bombing our mother continent in that manner is certainly as niggerish as one could be. This will serve as a reminder to all the integrationists in our community who want to use a war criminal as an example of what they call Black Excellence.
The image of Colonel Qadaffi being tortured and assassinated Africa’s enemies, conjured images of Patrice Lumumba after he was captured or the image of Che Guevara in Bolivia, however these giants died as honorably as Jesus Christ on the Cross.
What Qadaffi understood was embracing the African revolution was kissing Arab Privilege goodbye, and instead of going to Cuba, Venezuela or Zimbabwe to live in exile, may have preserved his life, but Mother Africa will be better off because the way he died left Africans everywhere grappling with a very crucial question. If one who could have been an outright beneficiary of our exploitation and dehumanization, died to smash this ruthless cycle, what the hell I’m I doing still alive?
The young man and his comrades have this question in the back of their minds everyday they struggle for our total liberation and redemption.
Obi Egbuna Jr is the US Correspondent to The Southern African Times and the External Relations Officer of the Zimbabwe Cuba Friendship Association.