[Marxism] To Franklin Lamb
lnp3 at panix.com
Fri Sep 9 17:27:43 MDT 2011
Lamb, how in fuck's name do you write a Counterpunch article fretting
over whether Palestinians will enjoy equal rights after the overthrow of
Qaddafi without referring to his threat to expel them in 1995? It is bad
enough that William Blum wrote the same nonsense without seeing it
repeated in the same week.
There are two possibilities, either of which do not look good for you,
that explain this omission. Either you are uninformed about this key
event or being informed prefer to sweep it under the rug. In either
case, you are giving radical journalism a bad name.
In case you are simply uniformed, here is something for you to chew on:
Gaddafi vows to expel a million
Robert Fisk reports on a threat that could dwarf the Palestinians' plight
Thursday, 19 October 1995
Beirut - If the story of Palestine is symbolised by ships - carrying
those who wish to live there towards or away from the promised land -
then the voyage of the Countess M fits neatly into the tragic saga.
With 650 Palestinians on board, more than half women and children, the
old car ferry was riding the swell five miles off Larnaca last night
with its homeless passengers unable to land in Syria but equally unable
to return to Libya. As part of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's latest enforced
exodus, the last place they were likely to find shelter was the land
that their parents and grandparents left in the dying days of the
British mandate of Palestine.
To blame for their immediate plight was Colonel Gaddafi, whose promise -
to expel a million expatriate workers across the desert if they are not
allowed to leave by air - threatens to diminish even the Palestinians'
The United Nations sanctions committee chairman said last night that the
deportation of a million civilians would be a human catastrophe; Colonel
Gaddafi, of course, wants UN sanctions on Libya - imposed because of its
alleged role in the Lockerbie bombing - lifted so that international air
links with Tripoli and Benghazi can be restored.
The victims of the colonel's cynical pragmatism remained uncomplaining
on board their ship off Larnaca last night, with the Cypriot port
authorities as unwilling to allow them to land as the Syrian immigration
officers at Latakia had been a few hours earlier. Driven out of their
homes in Libya, the Palestinians in the Countess M were given food and
water, while their Greek captain refused to leave Cypriot waters until a
port had been found to accept them.
Almost all the refugees hold papers which allow them entry into Syria;
their ship had docked in Latakia when immigration authorities decided to
send them back on to the vessel and refuse them entry. No explanation
was forthcoming from Damascus yesterday, although Colonel Gaddafi's
simultaneous announcement of the expulsion of a million men may have
influenced the Syrians. Why should they, after all, appear to approve of
his cruelty by accepting 650 of his victims?
Late last night, the Syrians intimated that they would accept about 500
of the stranded Palestinians who possessed Syrian documents; the
Cypriots later suggested they may be flown to Damascus by air. But there
was no apparent solution for the 150 or so Palestinians on the boat who
held no such papers.
But does the colonel really intend to throw a million people out of
Libya? This is the same man who threatened national unity with Egypt and
Syria, who predicted the overthrow of the United States, the destruction
of Israel and the collapse of the Gulf sheikhdoms, the same man who
offered to give his seat on the Arab League to Yitzhak Rabin's
government on the grounds that the rest of the Arab world had become
allies of Israel. Certainly, Colonel Gaddafi - once one of the most
honoured nationalist revolutionaries - is worried about a real
revolution, that of the growing Islamist movement which opposes his
deeply corrupt regime.
Intelligence sources, quoted in the latest issue of Tres Tres Urgent,
the French intelligence community's favourite house magazine, believe he
was the target of an assassination attempt in Sirte on 17 September,
when two men were reported to have opened fire on the Libyan leader when
he stepped out of his armoured Toyota. Both were captured by his
bodyguards. The shooting followed at least two clashes in Benghazi
between Colonel Gaddafi's security men and Islamist militants.
His suspicion that some of the 500,000 Sudanese living in Libya - none
of them holding official work-permits - may have been involved, led
almost at once to the expulsion of thousands of members of the
Hundreds of Palestinians were sent to the Egyptian border and 13,000
Sudanese were trucked south.They were expected to arrive at the Sudanese
frontier by the end of this week.
The UN has rejected Libya's request to repatriate 1,067,000 "illegal
infiltrators" by air. The figure includes not only the half-million
Sudanese but 300,000 Chadians, 250,000 from Mali, and others from
Nigeria, Niger, Ivory Coast, Benin, Senegal, Ghana, Guinea and
As for the 650 Palestinians off Cyprus, they were visited by a
Palestinian diplomat yesterday, while a pregnant passenger was flown by
a British military aircraft to Larnaca hospital for the birth of her child.
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