Featured Image Luc Ngago/Reuters
I won’t lie. If a country on any other continent had been caught selling Africans as slaves, I would have words for days. I would know exactly what to say and how to feel. Right now, I’m just pissed and confused. Libyan smugglers are out here selling people like we’re in 1720 instead of 2017. The situation brings up some uncomfortable feelings and I struggle about how to discuss it without sounding divisive. I ask myself if Libyans are Africans, Arabs or both. Don’t judge me. This is an important question because my approach depends on the answer.
If Libyans are Africans, my anger would be layered with a coat of disappointment. I would want to asses what Africans are doing to unite Mama Africa. How can this situation be a catalyst to help us come together and recognize our strength in unity? The fact that these migrants have to leave the whole continent for something better is bad enough. On top of that, the smugglers who were supposed to help them, ended up selling them into slavery. How could Libya miss this? When will African countries stop failing African people?
“When will African countries stop failing African people?”
If Libyans are Arabs, my anger would be accompanied with entitlement. I would feel as though the Libyan government owed Africa something. The conspiracist in me would believe Libya knew about these crimes and saw it as an unpleasant solution to their refugee crisis. I would want justice. I would want reparation. I would want some type of hashtag.
“I would want some type of hashtag.”
In both cases, wrong is wrong and a lot needs to be done. I’m curious to know how the African Union, ECOWAS and other international agencies will deal with the issue. Most importantly, I’m watching to see how Libya deals with this affront to humankind.
African/Black Americans have this hypothetical cookout that we invite and un-invite people to. I’m not trying to be forward, but Libya is pushing its luck. Ever since the Gaddafi situation, they have been slipping and they are about to lose their invitation to the African barbecue. No peppered chicken for them. Either fix the situation or be voted off the continent.
*Side note: Human trafficking is a serious problem and we all need to be alert of the people in our surroundings. If you see something, say something. Those families are in my prayers.