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Libya's Tribal Cleansing: Why is the World Silent Now?

The Western powers came and went in Libya, and now some Libyans are being targeted due to their presumed loyalty to former leader Moammar Gadhafi, writes Mustafa Fetouri, an academic and journalist. He says the National Transitional Council cannot ensure a smooth transition, and wonders what has become of an international community that vowed to protect Libyan civilians.

Tawergha is a Libyan coastal town about 30 km east of Misrata on the road to Sirte. It is home to approximately 30,000 people, mainly black Libyans. When the revolt against the Gaddafi regime spread to Misrata, Tawergha became the de-facto front line between the rebels and the army fighting for the regime. Today Tawergha is a ghost town: its homes looted, farm land destroyed and some of its inhabitants forcefully displaced or simply vanished. A couple of thousand people fled to Bani Walid, while the rest dispersed to cities as far away as Benghazi or Tripoli.

However, that did not save them from humiliation and imprisonment where ever the rebels could reach them. The Internet is full of videos showing glimpses of the misery the people of Tawergha suffer even after they have fled their own homes. In some videos, black Tawergha men were forced to eat the flag of the former regime while others were forced to say "we are slaves" and other self-humiliating phrases. They are being called "n-----s" and all sorts of dehumanizing names. I saw a video in which 10 of those people, with their hands tied behind their backs, were shouted at, insulted, and then shot dead in cold blood.

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