A continuing legacy: Europe’s hold over cheap labor from Africa

Gregg Reese OW Contributor | 2/1/2018, midnight
The Middle Passage is well known as a factor in the development of “the New..

A polarizing figure even today, Gaddafi incurred the disdain of the outside world (especially the U.S.) through his embrace of Pan Arabism, and patronage of controversial groups including the Black Panther Party, the Irish Republican Army, the Nation of Islam, Nicaraguan Sandinistas, the Palestinian Liberation Organization, and his opposition to the state of Israel. For a time, he was even linked to the Blackstone Rangers, a Chicago street gang.

Even so, under his watch conditions improved for the Libyans as a whole. The literacy rate skyrocketed, and the standard of living soared. Most tellingly, as reported by Foreign Policy Journal:

“Money from oil proceeds was deposited into every Libyan citizen’s bank account.”

These blessings were over shadowed by constant reports of human rights abuses. Real or not, these accusations prompted NATO, with the consent of are President Barack Obama, and his then Secretary of State and Presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton to mount a military intervention in 2011. Coupled with the civil war conducted by native rebels, including the National Transitional Council (NTC) Gaddafi’s loyalists were and the Colonel was either shot or stabbed.

To recap, the nation Gaddafi inherited as one of the poorest in Africa surged to the one with the highest life expectancy and Gross National Product, and with his death it plummeted to (according to the Canadian non-profit media organization, Global Research) “…a failed state and its economy in shambles.”

Resurrecting a shameful legacy

Recent headlines have documented a resurgence of slavery in North Africa specifically in Libya after the country went into chaos after Gaddafi’s overthrow. At this point in the millennium, economic hardship in vast segments of Europe fostered the need for plentiful, cheap labor, which was the prime motivation behind the launch of the Atlantic slave trade centuries before.

Droves of impoverished expatriates from East and West Africa have flocked north not just in search of gainful employment, but to escape the endless cycle of civil war, ineffective and oppressive governments, and instability that are a staple of much of the continent. Scores of news outlets have streamed videos of Africans being sold at open-air auction blocks, similar to those that existed during the Antebellum South. In some respects, this parallels the problems of illegal immigration that plague the southern borders of the United States today.

This, in turn, has sprouted the usual speculation and accusation about who is responsible of this influx of migrants. Among those implicated are Americans Obama and Clinton (see “Africans are being sold at Libyan slave markets. Thanks Hillary Clinton,” from the Nov. 27, 2017 issue of USA Today).

These conditions were absent under the previous regime. “…whatever faults Gaddafi had, (more) Blacks were treated as equals in Libya than in most Arab countries,” former Ghanaian President Jerry Rawlings declared in the news organ GhanaWeb.

Global speculations

David Horne, professor of African studies at California State Northridge, suggests France as the primary culprit. Gaddaffi threatened to cut off the country’s oil supply, which prompted French opposition to his regime. Therefore, Secretary of State Clinton convinced Obama to get involved (via NATO intervention) for humanitarian reasons. Following this line of reasoning, Gaddaffi was assassinated by proxy (wherein a person acts on behalf of another), with the killers guided by the French Secret Service.