10 years on from the war in Libya, the intervention of the west has been an unmitigated disaster – Barbara Ntumy, Black Liberation Alliance

“We must be the generation that secured an era of peace, equality & a planet that was habitable for future generations, not one riddled with pandemics, conflict & climate catastrophe.”

Barbara Ntumy

The Black Liberation Alliance believes in the political alliance of the global south and it’s diaspora across the world in order to achieve liberation and freedom for all who are oppressed.

The attacks facing our communities range from the impact of covid, namely access to vaccines as vaccine apartheid grows, to racism in all its manifestations and imperialism.

10 years on from the war in Libya, the intervention of the west has been an unmitigated disaster. This is clear from the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee Report into the collapse of Libya. This committee is chaired by a Conservative MP and is composed mainly of Conservatives. It states that the war was not informed by accurate intelligence and it has resulted in: political and economic collapse, inter-militia and inter-tribal warfare, humanitarian and migrant crisis, widespread human rights violations, the spread of Gaddafi’s regime weapons across the region and the growth of ISIL in North Africa. 

It cites former Prime Minister David Cameron as ultimately responsible for the failure to develop a coherent Libya strategy. Before the war, in 2010, the United Nations aggregate measure of health, education and income ranked Libya as the 53rd most advanced country in the world for human development and as the most advanced country in Africa. By 2015 it had declined to 94th place. In that same period its GDP was comparable to European countries which was halved after the war 

Since the war, the oil revenues were then turned over to militias. The UN estimated that 3 million people, around half the population, were impacted by the war and ensuing political instability.  

The west, a combination of France, Britain and the US, were motivated not by humanitarianism, but a drive to control oil – to profit from it, to increase their standing on the world stage, and in turn chose military intervention over less harmful political options.

This intervention was costlier and deadlier and in keeping with an imperialist mindset. Our government spent at least £234 million on the disastrous war which resulted in: a collapsed state, the propagation of extremist militias, a refugee crisis, modern day slave trade and harrowing footage of sub-Saharan Africans being put in cages, force fed the Libyan flag by some of the so-called rebels, that our government intervened on the side of.

Having militarily intervened and created half a million displaced people by 2016, Fortress Europe revealed its motives were anything but humanitarian. Italy cancelled its search and rescue program in the Mediterranean sea. The death rate of refugees drowning off its coast increased by 30 times. This is why we need to ensure our message is clear, we are in opposition to war and we welcome refugees

Our government is creating the condition in which people find themselves as refugees when it invests money into wars. This is why I would urge you to join the online event marking UN Anti-Racism Day on 20th March called by Stand up to Racism.

This meeting today is important because The Global South which comprises the continents of Africa, Asia, South America, Oceania and the people of the Caribbean and Middle East have been subjected to colonialism, imperialism, destruction and exploitation by not only Britain, Europe but the US too over the past centuries.

I am proud to be on this platform with so many voices who have had a consistent approach to oppose war, and who are often vilified for doing so.  

History will show that you were on the correct side

Now let’s talk about those who are on the wrong side.

From Obama, to Cameron and all the politicians who supported and continue to support imperialist wars, history will remember you for being on the wrong side.

There have been many sites of resistance in The West and in The Global South, from the global Black Lives Matter movement which defeated Trump, to the campaign by Black Alliance for Peace to shut down AFRICOM – united states Africa command which was established in 2007 and is a military intervening force on the continent.

Last year’s UK BLM protests, which saw demonstrations taking place in more than 260 towns and cities in June and July, were the largest anti-racism protests in Britain for decades

From the refugees fleeing the west’s policies in the global south who end up dying in the Mediterranean Sea, to those in our communities being hit disproportionately by Covid, to Mohamud Hassan who died after police contact in Wales.

We must rid the world of racism that has been built into our relations with each other, by the west so that we can live in peace.

And the call to oppose war and imperialism is more pressing than ever. 

Boris Johnson is boasting about the billions he has allocated to the military. A historic high. Just as we face multiple crises: We need to invest in a zero covid strategy to suppress the virus and protect the thousands more who could die as a result of failing to put public health first. We need to invest in building back better and greener post Covid, to tackle the oncoming economic crisis and to stop climate change. 

Instead, however, the west continues with its sabre-rattling in the middle east and is gearing up to create a new cold war with a military build up towards China. We can see the results of what devastation the West leaves behind with its so-called ‘humanitarian interventions’: from Nagasaki and Hiroshima, to Iraq, to Libya.

Jeremy Corbyn was the most anti-racist and anti-war leader the Labour Party ever had. It is no surprise that the labour party membership grew under his leadership. 

In closing I will end by saying, The left and the labour movement in Britain must stand up and say with conviction: it is morally wrong for Britain to keep waging wars and destabilizing countries across the world, this is not how we would like our taxes to be used, we would like them to be used on paying NHS staff a wage line with inflation not 1%

We must be the generation that secured an era of peace, equality and a planet that was habitable for future generations, not one riddled with pandemics, conflict and climate catastrophe.

  • Follow the Black Liberation Alliance at https://twitter.com/_blackalliance
  • This was based on a speech given at the Arise event 10 Years on From the War on Libya – Why Labour Must Be Anti- War. Watch the full video here.

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