"Herald Sun":Bashar al-Assad a monster but Syria alternative worse
By Rita Panahi:
WEST Africans are being openly bought and sold in slave markets like livestock and forced into labour camps under the threat of death. The slaves are worked mercilessly، mistreated and given nothing but meagre rations. Captured women are raped and forced into prostitution.
Those who resist are killed while others die from hunger and disease.
The lucky ones who have escaped their “masters’’ tell harrowing tales of abuse، extortion and brutal subjugation.
This isn’t a scene from the 1700s or 1800s، this horror is happening right now in Libya according to United Nations agency the International Organisation for Migration.
The US may have abolished slavery in 1865 but in other parts of the world it continues to flourish. “Migrants are being sold in the market as a commodity،” said Othman Belbeisi، head of the IOM’s Libya mission.
“Selling human beings is becoming a trend as the smuggling networks in Libya are becoming stronger.
“Groups of migrants are locked in a farm and controlled by an armed group … and (they’re) used for mainly forced labour، (they) are being sold against their will.
“Unfortunately when migrants are held hostage they are provided with a minimum amount of food، you may end up being beaten or even shot at if you create problems or complain.
“About women، we heard a lot about bad treatment، rape and being forced into prostitution.” The enslaved are typically captured attempting to reach Libya’s coastline in order to migrate to Europe by sea and are traded for about $300 to $600.
The buying and selling of slaves by members of the Arab population is allowed to continue in a country that has fallen into chaos.
“What we know is that migrants who fall into the hands of smugglers face systematic malnutrition، sexual abuse and even murder،” said Mohammed Abdiker، director of operations and emergencies at IOM.
“We are hearing about mass graves in the desert.”
Yet، you don’t hear much from activists، including Black Lives Matter، about this modern-day slave trade; it can’t simply be blamed on white imperialism and therefore does not fit their narrative.
However، the disaster that has engulfed Libya in recent years extends far deeper than the re-emergence of slave markets.
Libya should serve as a warning to every bleeding-heart، foreign-policy ignoramus screaming for the US and its allies to intervene in Syria.
Those who learnt nothing from Iraq post-Saddam Hussein cheered on as Muammar Gaddafi was deposed in Libya in 2011.
Not many were bothered that Gaddafi was tortured and killed on camera when captured by militia. The US، under president Barack Obama and secretary of state Hillary Clinton، helped orchestrate the removal of the dictator with NATO forces aiding rebels.
That was 5½ years ago and the country has since descended into chaos، lawlessness and poverty; Gaddafi was a tyrant but he was an infinitely preferable option than the alternative.
The same fools who applauded the so-called Arab Spring that also rolled through Tunisia and Egypt are still agitating for regime change in another country they do not understand، Syria.
Former prime minister Tony Abbott was mocked for describing the Syrian conflict as essentially “baddies versus baddies” but he was 100 per cent accurate and pinpointed why intervention is likely to be counter-productive in the short term and more than likely to be disastrous in the long term.
Donald Trump’s decision to bomb a Syrian air base after footage emerged of innocent civilians dying from a chemical attack was applauded by many including some sections of the media that have condemned his every move. The use of chemical weapons is of course a heinous abuse of human rights that rightly outraged the world but did it warrant a US air strike?
The Syrian conflict has been marked by repeated human rights abuses by all sides، including the supposedly “moderate rebels” the US and her allies have backed directly and indirectly.
The rebels are adept at propaganda but often get caught out by their own keenness to document their exploits.
Is beheading a child begging for his life somehow less abhorrent than using a chemical weapon to kill innocent children?
Why does one inspire global revulsion and immediate action from the US while the other receives scant coverage? Surely the mass torture and slaughter of men، women and children is also a “line-crossing” offence.
The killing of 80 children on the weekend by suicide bombers has received a fraction of the coverage in the Western media of the chemical attack.
Anti-government forces killed more than 120 innocent people being evacuated from al-Foua and Kfraya into government-controlled areas.
Those killed were Shiites who are considered infidels by many of the Sunni rebel groups including the al-Qaeda-affiliated Fatah al-Sham Front.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is a monster but the grim reality is that the alternative in Syria will be even worse.