[Marxism] The Tawergha are black African groups? Really?

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Jan 23 07:35:40 MST 2014

Mr. Draitser, in your Counterpunch article on Libya today you state:

"Groups such as the Tawergha and Tobou ethnic minorities, both of which 
are black African groups, have endured vicious attacks at the hands of 
Arab militias with no support from the central government."

I understand that your primary goal in writing this piece is to promote 
the idea that a movement is afoot to restore the Qaddafi dictatorship 
but you really need to be a bit more scrupulous if you want people to 
take you seriously.

The Tawergha are also known as the Tuareg but they refer to themselves 
as Imuhagh. In fact, they are members of the Berber nationality that 
rose up against the Qaddafi dictatorship. The Berbers, it should be 
added, refer to themselves as i-Mazigh-en and have benefited from the 

It is unfortunate that the Tuaregs have been marginalized by the new 
government but I doubt that a restoration of the Qaddafi dictatorship 
sans Qaddafi family members would do them much good.

Qaddafi's links to the Tuaregs was based on realpolitik. He needed men 
who could be called upon to defend his dynasty and the economically 
marginalized young men were tempted by a $1000 bonus to join the Libyan 
army, 20 times their normal income.

Today the Tuaregs are being hounded by the Mali and Niger militaries as 
part of a "war on terror" orchestrated by the Obama White House. As you 
probably know, the "anti-imperialist" network you are part of is wholly 
committed to this "war on terror" as long as the shock troops are clad 
in the Baathist uniform. When Qaddafi was around, he relied on the 
Tuaregs to play the same role against the Libyan rebels he characterized 
as "al Qaeda" elements. My guess is that the Qaddafi loyalists in Libya 
who have taken up arms against the new government remain committed to 
this policy and will likely make common cause with imperialism against 
the Tuaregs if they take power. Fortunately, this has about as much 
chance of succeeding as Qaddafi has in being resurrected like Jesus Christ.

My suggestion to you is to do a little background research on the 
Tuaregs before embarrassing yourself again. I would start with the 
excellent article titled "The Causes of the Uprising in Northern Mali" 
that appears in Think Africa Press:

During the 1990s and 2000s, Gaddafi uttered many fine words about being 
a nomad and a spiritual brother of the Tuareg. He spoke of how the 
Sahara should be a borderless region, free to all his native sons and 
daughters. In truth he played double games with aplomb, funding Tuareg 
dissent with small occasional gifts whilst investing enormous sums of 
money in the energy and water industries and tourism infrastructure of 
Mali as a whole. “Gaddafi never helped us,” a veteran of the 1990 
rebellion once said to me. “He never did anything for the north. All the 
money he spent went to the south. We helped him, not the other way 
around.” When Gaddafi finally starting losing the Libyan civil war, the 
greatest demonstrations of support for his regime did not occur in the 
northern parts of Mali, among the Tuareg, as some might have expected. 
They occurred in the heart of the capital Bamako, where tens of 
thousands of southern Malians took to the streets to voice their 
approval of the Libyan dictator and their hatred of the USA, Britain, 
France and the United Nations.

Gaddafi and the Tuareg were never really good friends or faithful 
allies. They were never more than partners in a game of coincidental 
self-interest. True, there were many Tuareg fighting on the Gaddafi side 
in last year’s Libyan civil war. But they were often obliged or paid to 
do so. It was a matter of expediency rather than belief. Through times 
of drought and marginalisation in the 1980s and 1990s, and even right up 
until last year, anything has often seemed preferable to a life of 
poverty and starvation back in the Malian desert, including a stint the 
Libyan army. And it must also be remembered that a sizeable number of 
Tuareg also fought for the National Transitional Council (NTC) against 
Gaddafi. So did many Imazighen or Berbers, a fact that is often 
forgotten by both Western powers and die-hard Arab supremacists in Libya.

In an extraordinarily frank and revealing interview given to the 
Algerian newspaper El Watan just a few days before his death, Ag Bahanga 
didn’t mince his words about Gaddafi: “[his fall] is good news for all 
the Tuareg of the region,” he said. “The aims of the colonel [Gaddafi] 
have always been opposed to our aspirations. All he ever did was try to 
use the Tuareg for his own ends and to the detriment of the community. 
His departure from Libya opens a new path to a better future and allows 
us to progress in our political demands… Gaddafi was a barrier to every 
solution of the Tuareg question.”

full: http://thinkafricapress.com/mali/causes-uprising-northern-mali-tuareg

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