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SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE  August 2011

SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE August 2011

Subject:

Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City

From:

Chandler Davis <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sun, 21 Aug 2011 16:04:59 -0400

Content-Type:

MULTIPART/MIXED

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

TEXT/PLAIN (272 lines)

Let me amplify Mandi's point about Libyans not being
black Africans. Over the centuries, a few black people
from sub-Sahara have showed up in Libya as visitors,
or as slaves. In recent years, a few hundred Chadians
were mercenaries for the government. This has led some
Libyans to attack black Africans on the street recently
on suspicion of being mercenaries; which in turn has
led many black people to become refugees. By the way,
the Tuareg, desert nomads, are not very black-looking;
their languages and customs are Berber.
  Chandler


On Sun, 21 Aug 2011, Mandi Smallhorne wrote:

> I would also be wary of NATO.
>
> But while I would not consider myself knowledgeable about Libya, I understood it to have an unemployment rate of around 30% - which is pretty high (South Africa has a huge amount of unemployment, and our official rate is 25% give or take a percent) and much higher than Tunisia, Egypt etc. Also, it has a high per capita GDP but I understood that since most of that comes from oil/gas revenues not much trickles down to ordinary people – which would fit in well with that shocking unemployment rate, meaning the urban elites get the jobs and the money, but that doesn’t mean the poor have good quality of life. And Gaddafi’s regime has been notorious for censoring and surveilling its people.
>
> Finally, Libya as I understood it is way over 90% Arab or Berber – the only ‘black African’ people I have ever heard of in Libya are Tuareg, and their numbers must be very small indeed.
>
> M
>
>
>
> From: Science for the People Discussion List [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of S. E. Anderson
> Sent: 21 August 2011 08:37 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
>
> SftPFolks,
>
> (1) It is not a "knee-jerk" reaction when someone progressive suspects NATO as being a mere instrument of Imperialism. Just look at its current and past record. Where has it intervened on behalf of the workingclass (the majority of any nation) as opposed to some faction of a national bourgeoisie that's proWestern Capital?
>
> (2) Just who are the "rebels"? Are they true social equality/social justice/antiracists forces that will the struggle for the majority of Lybians to be in power of their nation and its natural resources? Or are they surrogates for Western Capital's pillaging of Lybia's human and natural resources? What do they envision for a PostGhadaffi Lybia? All we have heard were the empty slogans that even the Republicans and Democrats shout: Freedom! Democracy!
>
> (3) Just what did Ghadaffi do that was so horrible to his people? Were they not among the highest educated, highest employed, highest paid among Africans? Did they not have a free education system and a free healthcare system? Did they have one of the world's most advanced potable water systems that was also shared by neighboring nations?
>
> (4) Just what do my colleagues on this listserv and among the white left in general know about the complexities of the convergence of Arab, Islamic and indigenous African belief systems within Lybia and North Africa in general? And how are they playing out within the forces the Western press fondly call "Rebels.?
>
> I believe that in a few short weeks- whether we are following this on the SftP listserv or not, the world will see that the Lybian "rebel" leadership are merely capitalist surrogates... and that privatization of public resources will be their first set of policies to enact. and that will include the fresh water production... so vital to all of North Africa. That petty bourgeois element that has been left out of the Ghadaffi regime will eagerly make deals with France, Italy, England and the US to also be their surrogate army against antizionist forces... in the name of fighting "Islamist terrorists".
>
> I repeat in a more general way : Where has Western Capital intervened on behalf of the workingclass (the majority of any nation) as opposed to some faction of a national bourgeoisie that's proWestern Capital?
>
> In Struggle,
>
> Sam Anderson
>
>
> qkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqkqk
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Larry Romsted
> Sent: Aug 21, 2011 2:04 PM
> To: [log in to unmask]
> Subject: Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
>
>
> Michael:
>
>
>
> A simple request.
>
>
>
> Reproduce my earlier email that insisted that no one on the list takes the position of supporting Qaddafi. If you do that I will admit I am wrong. If you cannot do that, then stop mentioning me with anything that I have not written about and stop instructing me on what not to say.
>
>
>
> Larry
>
>
>
> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 19:27:01 +0200
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
>
> Wow, you really are a careless reader, Larry. Read it again. It says nothing about your personal position on these issues, only whether or not some list members support Qaddafi, and refers to earlier insistence by you and Herb that no one takes that position.
>
>
>
> MB
>
> On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 7:21 PM, Larry Romsted <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Michael:
>
>
>
> Sure you did right here in your often snarky style that continues to diminish you.
>
>
>
> "(and please, Herb and Larry, don't say that these positions do not exist, or do not exist on this list, they do; and at any rate that is Hugo Chavez's position, and that of some Counterpunch commentators.)"
>
>
>
> You use my (and Herb's) names and suggest that we will claim that the positions do not exist. So subtle.
>
>
>
> Larry
>
>
>
>
>
> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
>
> Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 18:27:04 +0200
>
>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
>
> Larry, please read my comments more carefully, I said nothing about your own position on this.
>
>
>
> MB
>
> On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 5:58 PM, Larry Romsted <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Michael:
>
>
>
> Please quit with your presumptions. I have written virtually nothing about Libya because I do not understand who the rebels are. For all I know they have already promised oil rights to NATO countries if they succeed. I do get what NATO and the US are doing. Wait until I take a position before commenting on it like a good scientist should.
>
>
>
> Larry
>
>
>
> From: Michael Balter <[log in to unmask]>
> Reply-To: Science for the People Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
> Date: Sun, 21 Aug 2011 15:01:35 +0200
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Subject: Re: Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
>
> I'm not sure if specifying three sides instead of two amounts to a "more in-depth analysis," but it does complicate the picture--which, nevertheless, actually consists of two sides at the moment inside LIbya itself: Qaddafi and his supporters, and the rebels and their supporters. Like it or not, leftists do have to choose between those two camps.
>
>
>
> There are indeed some on the left who, in knee-jerk fashion, have decided that we should support Qaddafi just becase NATO is on the other side (and please, Herb and Larry, don't say that these positions do not exist, or do not exist on this list, they do; and at any rate that is Hugo Chavez's position, and that of some Counterpunch commentators.)
>
>
>
> My own position, of course, is that we should support the rebels despite their shortcomings and despite the fact that NATO is supporting them.
>
>
>
> MB
>
> On Sun, Aug 21, 2011 at 2:43 PM, David Westman <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>
> Just to clarify a more in-depth analysis than Mr. Balter gives, there are actually THREE sides to this struggle - the side of Qaddafi, the side of the NATO imperialists, and the side of the rebels. The NATO imperialists are not acting out of any humanitarian or altruistic impulse, but they are calculating that they can gain influence with the rebel government for their own purposes.
>
> David Westman
>
>
>
> On 8/21/2011 4:18 AM, Michael Balter wrote:
>
> It could be the beginning of the end for Qaddafi; which side are we on, comrades?
>
>
>
> MB
>
>
>
> http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/21/world/africa/21libya.html?hp
>
>
>
> August 20, 2011
>
>
> Heavy Fighting Reported in Tripoli; Rebels Encircle City
>
>
> By <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/f/kareem_fahim/index.html?inline=nyt-per> KAREEM FAHIM and <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/k/david_d_kirkpatrick/index.html?inline=nyt-per> DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK
>
>
> ZAWIYAH, Libya — For the first time in months, witnesses in Tripoli reported heavy fighting across the capital late Saturday night, even as rebel forces claimed to have encircled the city by taking major towns to its east, west and south.
>
> Rebel leaders in Tunis and eastern Libya hailed the beginning of a new uprising in the capital against Col. <http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/q/muammar_el_qaddafi/index.html?inline=nyt-per> Muammar el-Qaddafi’s rule. And after months of rebel offenses that crumbled or stalled despite heavy support from a NATO airstrike campaign, it was the first time since the uprising began in February that the rebels threatened Colonel Qaddafi’s ultimate stronghold.
>
> “We are coordinating the attacks inside, and our forces from outside are ready to enter Tripoli,” said Anwar Fekini, a rebel leader from the mountainous region in western Libya, speaking by telephone from Tunis. “If you can call any mobile number in Tripoli, you will hear in the background the beautiful sound of the bullets of freedom.”
>
> Phone calls to several Tripoli residents from different neighborhoods confirmed widespread gunfire and explosions. And there were reports of frequent NATO jet overflights and airstrikes — a common accompaniment to the drumbeat of the rebel advance in the past week.
>
> But in an audio message broadcast on state television, his second in a week, Colonel Qaddafi rejected claims of rebel gains, saying his forces had beaten back the Tripoli uprising within hours and announcing military successes in the same cities rebels had claimed to seize on Saturday. He gave the date and time several times to confirm that he was speaking as events were unfolding.
>
> “The rebels are fleeing like rats, to the mountains,” Colonel Qaddafi said.
>
> But even as he described a “collapse” among rebel fighters and NATO forces, he railed at world leaders who were supporting the uprising, accusing them of giving rebels “weapons to destroy our air-conditioners!”
>
> He gave no indication of where he might be speaking from, a topic of increasing speculation in recent days as rumors have swirled of his preparing to flee, or perhaps having already left Libya.
>
> If Colonel Qaddafi’s location remained unknown, it became increasingly clear Saturday that even his most senior aides were making exits of their own.
>
> The Tunisian state news agency reported Saturday that Libya’s oil minister, Omran Abukraa, had defected to Tunisia, after leaving Tripoli on what was ostensibly a business trip abroad. If confirmed, his defection would be the third of a senior government official in the past week.
>
> Abdel Salam Jalloud, a former Qaddafi deputy, was reported to have defected Friday. A senior security official, Nassr al-Mabrouk Abdullah, flew to Cairo with his family on Monday.
>
> Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, the chairman of the rebel government, the National Transitional Council, said that he hoped Colonel Qaddafi and the rest of his inner circle would follow. “That would be a good thing that will end the bloodshed and help us avoid material costs,” he said. “But I do not expect that he will do that.”
>
> After reports of the Tripoli fighting began, some residents said that a group of rebel fighters had infiltrated the city from the east and were spearheading the uprising, surprising the pro-Qaddafi forces who had fortified for an attack from the western approach guarded by Zawiyah. Residents added that in recent weeks rebels had also smuggled weapons into the city by boat to the beaches east of Tripoli to prepare. Their claims could not be independently confirmed.
>
> Meanwhile, rebel forces closing in on the capital made important gains on Saturday. By afternoon, the rebels had driven Colonel Qaddafi’s forces out of Zawiyah, the strategic oil refinery town 30 miles west of Tripoli. After a week of heavy fighting there, residents began to celebrate in the main square.
>
> The Arab news network Al Jazeera reported that Zlitan, a crucial Qaddafi barracks town east of Tripoli, also had fallen to the rebels. They captured Gharyan, the gateway to the south, last week.
>
> Farther east, the rebels claimed to have seized the residential areas of the oil port of Brega, a prize that has changed hands many times since the uprising began.
>
> A senior American official said Colonel Qaddafi’s days “are numbered.”
>
> “It is clear that the situation is moving against Qaddafi,” Jeffrey D. Feltman, an assistant secretary of state, said after meeting rebel leaders in Benghazi, the rebel capital. “The opposition continues to make substantial gains on the ground while his forces grow weaker.”
>
> Rebel leaders were optimistic. “The end is very near” for Colonel Qaddafi, said Mr. Abdel-Jalil, the leader of the rebel’s governing council. “We have contacts with people from the inner circle of Qaddafi,” he said. “All evidence is that the end is very near, with God’s grace.”
>
> Amid worries from the West and humanitarian groups that rebel fighters might seek revenge against Qaddafi supporters, the rebels’ National Transitional Council said Saturday that it was reissuing a booklet reminding its mostly novice fighters about the international laws of war.
>
> But the battle was hardly over. In the past six months, the rebels have frequently proven unable to hold captured territory, sometimes keeping it no longer than a few days. Government forces were still fighting fiercely outside Zawiyah, and in Brega they controlled the oil refinery.
>
> Tripoli, while under new pressure, remains a Qaddafi stronghold, as does Surt, a coastal city to the east, and Sabha to the south. Government officials continued to insist that they would fight to the end.
>
> Still, with rebels virtually surrounding the capital and NATO bombing the city from positions in the Mediterranean, residents were feeling increasingly under siege. The main supply routes were closed, making electricity and fuel scarce. Crime is increasing and garbage is piling up in the streets.
>
> There were also reports that Qaddafi loyalists were blocking off streets in Tripoli and setting up sniper positions in preparation for battle.
>
> In recent days, members of the so-called Tripoli Brigade, a group of rebel fighters tasked with securing the capital after the fall of the government, were seen heading to a base in Zawiyah. On Friday, a brigade commander said the unit of roughly 1,000 fighters had been training in the western city of Nalut and expected to be deployed in the coming days.
>
> In Zawiyah, even as Qaddafi forces continued to shell the city from the outskirts, residents began to emerge from their homes and took in the remains of their city, devastated by the battle for the central Martyrs’ Square.
>
> Three bodies, identified as Qaddafi soldiers, lay covered in blankets at the edge of a plaza. “Mercenaries,” some residents said, but that was far from certain. The tall grass in the plaza was strewn with green and white government forms that had blown out of rocket holes in a nearby administrative building.
>
> That building, as well as a bank and a hotel, had been used by the Qaddafi soldiers as snipers’ nests, the rebels said. The white park benches and paths below were marked with their bullets. On the grounds of the buildings, piles of military gear were left in a sign of a hasty retreat: a green flak jacket, a wooden trunk full of food and a toothbrush.
>
> In a store, the Qaddafi soldiers had scrawled a message: “Libya wants Muammar el-Qaddafi.” All over the square, they left green flags.
>
> The rebels, backed by NATO warplanes, had taken almost a week to drive the snipers out. The hotel, the Jewel, was singed black from a fire on the upper floors. The top of the administrative building had collapsed under the force of a NATO bomb.
>
> In the late afternoon, young men drove into the square and spun their cars around in tight circles, their screeching tires echoing off shattered buildings.
>
> A man watching shook his head in stunned disbelief. “I swear to God,” he said, “freedom is beautiful.”
>
> Kareem Fahim reported from Zawiyah, Libya, and David D. Kirkpatrick from Cairo. Steven Lee Myers contributed reporting from Washington.
>
>
>
>
>
>

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