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The Racist Libyan Lynch Mobs You Probably Haven't Heard About

While the war in Libya continues, some anti-Gaddafi rebels have begun enacting oppression of their own.

While the war rages on in Libya, many news outlets reporting from the region are putting forth the same narrative: Brutal Gaddafi loyalists clash with righteous, freedom-loving rebels. That, however, is only part of the story. While there is indeed an element of deliverance to what is happening in Libya, there is also chaos, violence, and brutality, and that's on both sides of the battle. To wit, the rebel lynch mobs that have begun attacking black Libyans with reckless abandon.

It's an established fact that Libya, which is home to more than 100 different tribes, could descend into tribal warfare following the current civil war. What's not as well known is that a frightening racial element has started augmenting tribal tensions. That's partially due to the fact that southern Libya, which is largely black, is seen as being very pro-Gaddafi, but also because Gaddafi hired African mercenaries to fight rebel forces at the start of the conflict. Gaddafi is now gone, but many of the mercenaries remain, and some Libyans are taking out their aggression and anger on anyone with dark skin.

Writing from Libya, Wall Street Journal reporter Sam Dingha noted, "On the road between Misrata and Tawergha, rebel slogans like 'the brigade for purging slaves, black skin' have supplanted pro-Gaddafi scrawl." Far worse is an incident that took place last month in Benghazi, where, according to the website Human Rights Investigations, a black man was tortured and then strung up and decapitated by an angry mob. HRI has a video of the incident, though be warned that it is obviously very graphic.

None of this is to say, of course, that the Libyan uprising is all bad or wholly racist. Gaddafi, a brutal dictator, has been deposed, and there's certainly some good in that. But it's important to remember how quickly revolution can turn into the same insanity people were revolting against in the first place.

photo via (cc) Flickr user B.R.Q.

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