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Anti-war, defend Libya protest scheduled for Friday

Nayaba Arinde | 7/6/2011, 5:25 p.m.

"When Africa called, Libya answered," declared Omowale Clay for the December 12th Movement International Secretariat.

Following their emergency forum on Libya last Friday, the December 12th Movement International Secretariat and the Coalition to Defend Libya and Africa are hosting a "U.S. Hands Off Libya and in Defense of Africa" rally Friday, April 1 from 4 to 6 p.m. at the United States Mission to the United Nations in Manhattan.

Clay slammed the mainstream media's unchallenged reportage of the unprovoked U.S. intervention in Libya. Terms such as "massacre," and "rebels" and are being bandied about with no real context, analysis or genuine fact checking, said the long-time activist. "Colonel Gaddafi is demonized by the West. They have been waiting for an opportunity to bring about regime change in Libya."

Said Clay, "Under the banner of 'Col. Gaddafi is killing his own people,' the U.S. and European armed forces are bombing another developing country: Libya. Once again, the Western fourth estate, the well-organized and financed corporate media, is telling a one-sided story. So today, many people who had little independent knowledge about Libya are now experts, trained and licensed by the New York Times, Daily News, NBC, etc. Even many who had supported Libya are now vacillating under the influence of the media blitz and America's first Black president."

As he organizes Friday's anti-war rally, Clay told the AmNews, "I think it is important to frame the country and its leadership in the words of South Africa's first Black president and a freedom fighter, Nelson Mandela, who called Muammar Gaddafi 'one of this century's greatest freedom fighters,' and insisted that the eventual collapse of the apartheid system owed much to Gaddafi and Libyan support. Mandela said that in the darkest moments of their struggle, when their backs were to the wall, it was Muammar Gaddafi who stood with them."

"Obama is wrong. The United States should get out of Libya," Councilman Charles Barron boomed at a rally held on Tuesday at the Adam Clayton Powell State Office Building in Harlem, just before President Barack Obama hit the village to attend a $1.5 million fundraising dinner at the Red Rooster and an event at the Studio Museum. "How dare Barack Obama come to Harlem for a $30,000-a-plate fundraiser? Harlem's median income is $30,000; the poverty rate in Harlem is nearly 30 percent."

Dozens of folks came out to 125th Street to express dissatisfaction about a number of issues, including America's involvement and subsequent taxpayer expense of the various wars and conflicts that the nation has put itself in versus severe nationwide cuts and reductions in social services, plus the high level of unemployment.

As he prepares to attend Friday's anti-war rally, Barron said, "Black people did not vote for Barack Obama for him to bomb an African country, Libya. They elected him to stand up like a man against the forces of imperialism. They voted for him to bail out Harlem, where there is 50 percent Black male unemployment, like they bailed out Wall Street.