American Responsibility For Global Refugee Crises
By Margaret Kimberley
May 01, 2015 "Information
Clearing House" - "BAR"
- All over the world people risk and sometimes lose their lives
escaping poverty or war fare in their native lands. Throughout human history
migrants have sought out places that are safer or more prosperous but they are
seldom greeted with open arms. Xenophobia, racism, and fears of scarcity prevent
desperate people from being integrated into societies that might accept them.
However, the urge to escape violence or hunger never abates.
The most visible of the world’s refugee crises today is taking
place in the Mediterranean sea. Thus far in 2015, it is estimated that 1,724
people have died on unseaworthy vessels as they try to reach southern Europe
from Libya. These refugees come from many African nations, from Syria and from
countries as far away as Bangladesh. On April 18, 2015 a vessel holding an
estimated 850 people capsized with only 28 survivors.
This humanitarian crisis is the direct result of the United
States and NATO decision to effect regime change in Libya in 2011. Presumptive
democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton infamously said of Libyan
president Gaddafi, “We came, we saw, he died.” Not only was Gaddafi killed by
the conspiracy between NATO and jihadists in his country, but Libya never
recovered from the intervention.
The most well known individual victim was the American
ambassador, killed in Benghazi by the same forces which the United States
supported. Very few people in this country are aware of their government’s
complicity and those who do know don’t want to discuss it. The republicans who
were as eager to intervene as the Obama administration want to make embarrassing
political hay but don’t want to talk about the ongoing humanitarian crisis which
the United States created.
Citizens of many African nations routinely went to work in
Libya, an oil rich nation which had jobs for migrants. Libya was an example of
the prosperity all Africa nations might be able to experience before it was
turned to rubble by NATO’s machinations. Internecine warfare has turned it into
a failed state. There is no legitimate government and it is so dangerous that
there are no international flights going into that country. Libya can’t even
effectively extract or sell the oil resources that it has.
States and its allies lied to the world when they claimed a dubious
responsibility to protect Libyans. ”
chaos makes it a perfect place for human traffickers to do business.
Africans make a dangerous journey across the Sahara desert from Senegal, Gambia,
Nigeria, Niger and Mali. Further east from the horn of Africa come the
Ethiopians, Somalians and Eritreans, all of whom suffer from American instigated
destruction in their lands. So many Syrians have fled the NATO attack on their
nation that neighboring countries Lebanon and Jordan prevent them from entering.
Now Syrians fly first to the Sudan and wait to be smuggled into Europe through
Libya, whose long coast is a magnet for smugglers and would-be migrants hoping
to enter European nations as refugees. (*link maps)
The hand wringing among the Americans and the European Union
countries is entirely hypocritical and ought to be pointed out as such.
Thousands of Libyans were killed or displaced by the NATO intervention and a
brutal race war was directed at black Libyans and African migrants. Libya would
not be the point embarkation point for so much misery had it been left alone.
The world’s corporate
have a seemingly infinite capacity to produce hours of footage and thousands of
words without ever getting to the inconvenient truth. In this case the truth is
that the United States and its allies lied to the world when they claimed a
dubious responsibility to protect Libyans. They were interested in nothing of
the sort. The only goal was to attack yet another country too weak to thwart
their plans for imperial expansion. They succeeded in getting rid of Gaddafi and
in creating another crisis for humanity.
Then again Libya isn’t much different from
Central American countries like Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. US
backed coups, interventions, and drug policing have created violence and chaos
in those countries. When unaccompanied children began arriving in the United
States there was little discussion of our government’s culpability. Political
discourse, such as it was, was focused on political battles in congress about
immigration policy and not about how this particular crisis was American made.
We now see another sorry spectacle of suffering people and
powerful nations who could help but refuse to do so. It is all the more
disgraceful because those countries created the problem in the first place. Let
the NATO nations take in every refugee fleeing on a leaky boat. It is the least
they could do to make restitution for the suffering they created.
Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR,
and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as
well as athttp://freedomrider.blogspot.com. Ms.
Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at