"We left behind our friends from Chad. We left behind their bodies. We had 70 or 80 people from Chad working for our company. They cut them dead with pruning shears and axes, attacking them, saying you're providing troops for Gadhafi. The Sudanese, the Chadians were massacred. We saw it ourselves." (A Turkish oilfield worker who fled Libya, speaking to the BBC and quoted in NPR's "In Libya, African Migrants Say They Face Hostility," 25 February 2011)
"I am a worker, not a fighter. They took me from my house and [raped] my wife," he said, gesturing with his hands. Before he could say much more, a pair of guards told him to shut up and hustled him through the steel doors of a cell block, which quickly slammed behind them. Several reporters protested and the man was eventually brought back out. He spoke in broken, heavily accented English and it was hard to hear and understand him amid the scrum of scribes pushing closer. He said his name was Alfusainey Kambi, and again professed innocence before being confronted by an opposition official, who produced two Gambian passports. One was old and tattered and the other new. And for some reason, the official said the documents were proof positive that Kambi was a Kadafi operative. . . . All I know is that the Geneva Convention explicitly prohibits prisoners of war from being paraded and questioned before cameras of any kind. But that's exactly what happened today. The whole incident just gave me a really bad vibe, and thank God it finally ended . . . . [O]ur interpreter, a Libyan national, asked [LA Times reported David] Zucchino: "So what do you think? Should we just go ahead and kill them?" (Luis Sinco, "Journalists Visit Prisoners Held by Rebels in Libya," Los Angeles Times, 23 March 2011)
To what extent is the revolt in Libya a continuation of earlier race riots against the presence of migrant workers from Sub-Saharan Africa? Where do members of the Gaddafi regime, some of whom were apparently responsible for setting security forces against those migrants, fit in with the current rebel leadership? How does the calculated cultivation of racial fear and racially selective xenophobia tie in with calls for foreign military ("humanitarian") intervention?