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Toward African freedom in Libya and beyond

MOLEFI KETE ASANTE | 4/12/2011, 4:45 p.m.

The fundamental stimulus of the attack on Libya is greed, not the protection of the Libyan people. In fact, the people of Libya have suffered more during this bombardment by Western powers and their allies than during the entire 41 years of the leadership of Muammar al-Gaddafi.

There are several rationales that have been advanced in the public for the reason for the assault on Libya. The attackers have said that Gaddafi has used force against his own people. They say that they are trying to prevent revenge attacks on the people who have risen against the leader of Libya. They also say that Gaddafi's government has lost its legitimacy. None of these arguments make much sense in reality, and they conceal the attempt at exploitation, appropriation of Libyan petroleum and colonial incursion to demonstrate the will of the West in Africa.

We have yet to have a clear view of the attacks made upon the Libyan people by their government. If anything, the actions of the Libyan government in Tripoli appear restrained despite the agitation caused by a vocal minority. In the United States in 1965, when I was a young college student, I witnessed the actions of the National Guard on the streets of South Central Los Angeles. Nearly 40 people were killed in a confrontation with American government authorities.

Governments fight to maintain their legitimacy; this is the law of sustaining power. When President Bush reached the lowest point of his popularity among the American people, he was still considered the president. Gaddafi has not lost any legitimacy because groups of his people, influenced by social media, went to the streets to demonstrate against him. Popularity has rarely been the standard by which governments must be overthrown.

Furthermore, there were no African mercenaries fighting against the people of Libya as reported by the media; the Black people that the Western media experts saw were Libyans.

Although we can and should argue about the need for what Ron Daniels calls the "act of internal criticism" in African governments, there can be no argument about the necessity for Africans to solve their own problems. We must be clear that the attack on Libya is an attack on Africa. One of the reasons that the French, the Americans and the British could not reach an agreement with the African Union to bomb Libya is because the political intelligence of African leaders has grown tremendously since the crises in Sudan, Cte d'Ivoire, Tunisia and Egypt. The African Union knows that Gaddafi's leadership on questions of African unity is among the most prominent.

Few African leaders have been as active in assisting the continent economically and administratively as Gaddafi. He has used his country's wealth to create a strong economy in Libya as well as to support civil servants in other African nations. We must not be beguiled by the Western media in its rush to remove one of the strongest African leaders from his post.

Gaddafi has minced no words about his support for and belief in the United States of Africa. Indeed, he knows that if Africa is divided between Northern and Southern states, or if Africa keeps existing as 54 independent states, the Western nations and the North American nations of Canada and United States will eat each part of Africa alive. They will not be able to swallow a continent that is united, firm in its convictions, and dedicated to the liberty of its territory.