Representative Jesse Jackson, Jr., reacting to reports in The Wall Street Journal has called for an investigation by the International Criminal Court into the reported killings of Black Libyans in the city of Tawergha.
Rep. Jackson also tells The Black Star News he will ask that U.S. assistance for reconstruction and transition to democracy in Libya be conditional. The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday that rebels from Misurata had torched the homes that belonged to the predominantly dark-skinned residents of the city of Tawergha, which is now abandoned.
A Journal reporter witnessed some of the torching and wrote that the words “slaves” and “negroes” were scribbled on the walls of the now emptied homes.
In an earlier news report The Wall Street Journal reported that rebels from the city of Misurata had declared that Tawergha would be “no more” and that the units were named “The Brigade for Purging Slaves, black Skin.”
Misurata rebels blame residents of Tawergha, which was used by the Libyan army under the government of Muammar al-Quathafi, as staging ground for the siege on Misurata. The Journal has also reported on long-historical feuds, that predate the Libyan civil war, between the “white” residents of Misurata and the predominantly Black ones of Tawergha.
The Wall Street Journal Tuesday also reported that the Transitional National Council’s (TNC) “prime minister” Mahmoud Jibril, referring to the reported atrocities in Tawergha by rebels, said: “Regarding Tawergha my own viewpoint is that nobody has the right to interfere in this matter except the people of Misurata.”
Rep. Jackson took exception to Jibril’s remarks.
“Racism in the form of ethnic cleansing, killing and genocide is wrong anytime, anyplace and against anybody in the world,” Rep. Jackson said, today. “And it appears as though the Rebel leader, Mahmoud Jibril, is using the American idea that the South used to protect the institution of slavery – the 10th Amendment in our Constitution – to say, in essence, ‘it’s a states’ right and local control issue.'”
He added, “Well it’s not a local issue and it’s a moral outrage. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.’ As a senior member of the Foreign Operations Appropriations Subcommittee, I intend to raise this issue with my colleagues and condition any financial support for the reconstruction of Libya and its transition to a democratic society.”
“I think it is absolutely necessary that the United Nations and the International Criminal Court in the Hague investigate what I consider to be crimes against humanity,” Rep. Jackson said.
A spokesperson for Rep. John Lewis, told The Black Star News that he opposes wars as a matter of
principle and had also objected to the U.S. involvement in Libya: “He does not agree with war because of its ramifications, because it leads to these moral compromises,” she said. “It puts you in a difficult position, where you have to commit the same crimes that you are intending to stop.”
A spokesman for the United Nations, Eduardo del Buey, declined to comment on Rep. Jackson’s call for an investigation and his characterization of the accounts reported by The Wall Street Journal as amounting to crimes against humanity.
A spokesperson for the U.S. State Department said the U.S. couldn’t comment by The Black Star News’ publication deadline. The U.S. hasn’t yet condemned the reported targeted attacks on Black Libyans.
The Journal reported that the road sign pointing to the city of Tawergha had been defaced and replaced with “New Misurata.” Some Tawerghans who had managed to flee to Tripoli were captured and taken to Misurata, the Journal reports.