Libya Rebels: Reject Violence, Terrorism, Give Rights to Minorities

The USG Open Source Center in conjunction with the BBC translates a broadcast of the Libyan liberation movement in Benghazi on Friday that emphasizes the rebels’ commitment to religious and ethnic tolerance: The Interim National Committee said in a communique, “The state we want rejects violence, terrorism and fanaticism, and respects human rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities…”

‘ FYI — Libyan Rebel Radio Airs Call Rejecting Terrorism, Promising Religious Tolerance
Voice of Free Libya
Friday, April 1, 2011 …

After two days of rather poor reception, on the evening of 31 March BBC Monitoring enjoyed better audibility of broadcasts from the rebel-controlled, Benghazi-based Voice of Free Libya, broadcasting on 675 kHz mediumwave.

Such variations in reception are commonly experienced with mediumwave radio signals. No jamming of the Voice of Free Libya was heard.

The radio continued its strong rhetorical tone in criticizing Mu’ammar al-Qadhafi and appealing to Libyans of all tribes to join the revolutionaries. For long periods, the radio aired songs and Koran readings.

A statement by the rebels’ Interim National Council rejecting terrorism and fanaticism, and promising respect for the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, was aired.

The station also carried an interview with the leader of a now-disbanded group that sought to represent members of the Tibu ethnic group in the south of the country.

“Soldiers in chains”

The following is a summary of the radio’s broadcasts between 1930 gmt on 31 March and 0230 gmt the following day.

At 1930 gmt, a presenter said: “Eyewitnesses in Al-Zawiyah and Misratah have told us that they found soldiers in chains inside pro-Qadhafi tanks seized by the revolutionaries, which indicates that they had been forced to join Al-Qadhafi’s security brigades. Another eyewitness told us that the security brigades force tribes, particularly the Tuareg tribes, to fight with them or face death.”

Interview with Tibu leader

At 2000 gmt, the presenter interviewed Isa Abd-al-Majid, who had led the now-disbanded Tibu Front for the Salvation of Libya, who is currently in Benghazi. The Tibu ethnic group lives mainly in northern Chad, but also in southern Libya, Niger and Sudan. The following is a summary of some of their exchanges:

Q: Why are you here in Benghazi?

A: I came to Benghazi to announce my support for the revolutionaries and the Interim National Council (INC). I held a press conference yesterday to dissolve the front. There is no need for it now as the INC has become the sole representative of the Libyan people.

Q: What was in your mind when you returned to Libya?

A: Many of my friends warned me against returning to Libya. When I entered Libya from the Egyptian border, mercenaries loyal to Chad President Idriss Deby tried to assault me when they discovered who I was, because I had said in an interview with France 24 TV that Deby had sent 1,200 mercenaries to help Al-Qadhafi. However, members of Al-Ubaydat tribe helped me get to Benghazi safely.

Q: Can you address a message to your Tibu tribe and African mercenaries?

A: I urge the African mercenaries who were deceived by Al-Qadhafi to return to their countries. The Libyans have no problems with dark-skinned people in Ghana, Chad and Sudan. Please, do not kill the Libyan people. The Tibu tribe is part of the fabric of the Libyan people. I want also to tell fellow Tibu to join the revolutionaries as soon as possible. Most of the Tibu people joined the 17th February Revolution before 13 March. I also have a message to my friends in the Tuareg tribes: join the free men of Libya.

Q: Would you like to send any personal messages?

A: Yes. I have a message for Colonel Ali Kannah, commander of Al-Tariq Brigade. Please abandon Al-Qadhafi. Musa Kusah (Libyan foreign minister) has run away, why don’t you do the same? I also ask Qurin Salih Qurin, Libyan ambassador to Chad, who played an important role in recruiting mercenaries from Chad, to jump from Al-Qadhafi’s ship before it is too late. I also urge Colonel Mas’ud Abd-al-Hafiz, governor of Sabha in southern Libya, to quit.

Lockerbie; INC policy statements

At 2300 gmt, the presenter asked: “What kind of weapons will you (Al-Qadhafi) use to prevent the revolutionaries from taking over the rest of Libya?”

He also criticized the West for putting on trial only two of Al-Qadhafi’s officials for the Lockerbie bombing, even though “you were quite sure that this act could not have been done without approval by Al-Qadhafi”.

At 2320 gmt, the presenter read out an old statement by the INC’s committee on political and international affairs about the “new Libya” that its citizens wanted. “The state we want rejects violence, terrorism and fanaticism, and respects human rights and the rights of religious and ethnic minorities,” the statement said….

(Description of Source: Benghazi Voice of Free Libya in Arabic — Opposition-run radio, began broadcasting on 20 February 2011. ) ‘

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2 Responses

  1. With the issue of Libya and Western / NATO / somewhat local supported intervention, I think there has been an overwhelming focus on ‘yes’ or ‘no’, but not examining what’s going on where in Libya, what it’s rooted in, and also detailed consideration of those likely developments to occur beyond ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

    Seems like most people didn’t think much beyond ‘Qaddafi slaughters’ and ‘rebels overthrow him’.

    How do people feel about a likely continued civil war, so common in North Africa of the last generation? Or a defacto, or recognized, partition of the country into different control? Which itself could be an unstable situation.

    There was so much I’ve been wondering about the situation beyond the two simple extremes of ‘yes’ or ‘no’ and/or the ‘Qaddafi slaughters & crushes freedom mvmt’ and ‘freedom mvmts win’.

  2. Juan
    On March 31, 2011 Wolfgang Weber published an article entitled,“Libyan rebels massacre black Africans.” The article appeared on numerous websites simultaneously. As the title suggests, Weber alleges that rebel forces have engaged in repeated massacres of black Africans. He provides no footnotes or other citations. He alleges that his primary source of information is an article by the German sociologist Gunnar Heinsohn from the March 22, 2011 issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. A search of that newspaper’s website yielded no such article, although several other Heinsohn articles on unrelated topics did appear. Nor did repeated google searches  produce evidence of such a Heinsohn article. And I have found no other references to it, which is strange because Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is a world-reknowned newspaper.

    Are these reports credible?

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