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