On Sunday August 21st, anti-Gaddafi forces entered Tripoli after six months of fighting. France 24’s Matthieu Mabin was with the rebels throughout this historic day on their final journey to the Libyan capital. This documentary filmed in extremely dangerous circumstances for it’s reporters will definitively be awarded for its exclusive insight into to battle against Gaddafi’s tyranny.
WARNING: The images in this documentary may be too difficult to watch for young or otherwise sensitive viewers.
The Tripoli Brigade – Includes Q&A with Matthieu Mabin:
As NTC’s Mustafa Abdul Jalil vows to establish a state based on moderate Islam, a report by amnesty international accuses the rebels of committing abuses in their conflict against Pro Gaddafi forces (see Amnesty’s full report).
Amnesty International concludes that the majority of abuses during the conflict have been committed by forces loyal to Col Gaddafi. They include :
“deliberate attacks on civilians, a widescale campaign of enforced disappearances, and arbitrary detention and torture – atrocities which could amount to war crimes”, it says.
But, it says, “those fighting Col Gaddafi have also been complicit in serious violations.”
I roughly read through this report which I welcome it as a warning to the rebels to avoid acts of vengeance some of which have been confirmed based on incidents at the beginning of the conflict but also more recently after violent attacks against captured soldiers, Sub-Saharan Africans suspected of being mercenaries, and former members of the security forces.
The Report say’s:
“Members and supporters of the opposition, loosely structured under the leadership of the National Transitional Council (NTC), based throughout the conflict in Benghazi, have also committed human rights abuses, in some cases amounting to war crimes, albeit on a smaller scale. In the immediate aftermath of taking control in eastern Libya, angry groups of supporters of the “17 February Revolution” shot, hanged and otherwise killed through lynching dozens of captured soldiers and suspected foreign “mercenaries” – and did so with total impunity. Such attacks subsequently decreased, although Sub-Saharan African nationals continued to be attacked on what have proved to be largely unfounded suspicions that they were foreign “mercenaries” hired by Colonel al-Gaddafi.
Opposition supporters targeted suspected al-Gaddafi loyalists and former members of some of the most repressive security forces.
Between April and early July, for example, more than a dozen such individuals were unlawfully killed in Benghazi and Derna (including at least three members of the ISA in Benghazi).
They also tortured and ill-treated captured soldiers, suspected “mercenaries” and other alleged al-Gaddafi loyalists.”
However I found Amnesty’s report to be an extremely biased on the reality on the ground considering that most reporters and international war correspondents in Libya ( including BBC, CNN, Al Jazeera to name a few) at the beginning of the conflict were all being politely held at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli and carefully guided through the Gaddafi held regions under close scrutiny of the Pro Gaddafi security personal.
If These well trained and confirmed Journalists could not confirm much of the accusations fed to them by Pro Gaddafi propagandists How the devil have Amnesty volunteers, pacifists and peaceniks been able to gather reliable information on these so called abuses ?
It seems to me that the Amnesty group has been writing the report from a safe haven at best after visiting in refugee camps in Tunisia and Egypt based on unverifiable testimonies.
Given that They were not even able to confirm much of the accusations of Rape and killing blamed on the Pro Gaddafi Forces ( for which there is considerable evidence) how the devil were they then able to confirm acts of Vengeance by the Rebels ? :
The report does not include information on allegations of sexual violence against womenduring the Libyan conflict. To gather information on such violations, Amnesty International delegates interviewed Libyan and foreign women in opposition-controlled territories, as well as women who fled to Tunisia and Egypt; medical professionals, including gynaecologists and psychologists; women’s groups activists and others; and reviewed some documentary evidence, including video footage of women being subjected to sexual abuse. The organization was not able to collect first-hand testimonies and other evidence to verify the claims, and is continuing its investigations.”
As usual Amnesty is great when it comes to shouting and screaming it’s outrage without necessarily verifying it’s sources but don’t count on them to come to your rescue when a modern day Caligula bombs you to smithereens, kills and rapes your children …
Gaddafi’s Son’s Nanny Burnt Severely :
Hannibal Gaddafi’s Lebanese Wife Aline Skaf accused of pouring Boiled water on Her Nanny, Tripoli, Libya(Aug. 29, 2011)
That said of course like in any conflict there must have been abuses in both camps in the heat of the fight and acts of revenge. They are not fighting with toothpicks after all …
I don’t think there is anything like a “clean” war nor ever was.
But the Amnesty report is pertinent to the degree that it looks more like a warning to the rebels not to carry out crimes in the future, but less as one which offers any credible proof to sustain it’s serious accusations against the Rebels.
The excellent documentary above by France 24’s Matthieu Mabin offers an excellent insight into what the battle in Libya looked like before the Capture of Tripoli and the price paid by the rebels in terms of personal sacrifice.
It may help foreign observers commenting from their safe haven to see the genuine challenges faced by the Rebels in the upcoming last Battles for Syrthe and other last towns still in the hands of Pro Gaddafi Forces.
It proves if needed that when reporting on a conflict images brought to you from the thick of the fight speak far more than “intellectual” commentaries by so called Middle East and North African “Experts” commenting from a safe distance on Campuses in Columbia or some other Prestigious University …
Fighting a War is Not a Child Game …
And this heterogeneous group of Brave Rebels composed of Western Educated University students, workers, former military, civilians, villagers and god knows what other volunteer are definitively not children anymore.
Regardless of what type of society these rebels hope to build for themselves in the future, and the values they uphold ( which may differ from ours) their battle however daunting against one of the most brutal tyrants in contemporary history is not only Just But It is also Legitimate!
A journalist should always try to maintain an objective and cold outlook on all events that take place in the world.
Yet the above report only confirms my sentiments and reinforces my admiration for the Libyan People in these challenging times.
May the future leaders of Libya live up to the legitimate aspirations of their people for Freedom and hopefully a happier future which would include some form of democracy or at least one which despite the “Charia Law” (supposedly to be included in their future constitution) will not stop it’s natural evolution towards a genuine democratic society free of the type of tyranny this brave nation had to endure for 42 years.
Challenges facing Libya’s NTC
- De-centralisation of the armed forces
- Tribal polarisation and vendettas
- Lack of democratic institutions
- Economic crisis
- Islamist question
Adressing These challenges may be easier said than done, but then it is also another debate independent of the current priority and daunting task ahead which is: Defeating Libya’s Nero …
So Good Luck To You Fellas and Inchallah !
A Coward Blogger From Paris France 13th of September 2011
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