“Is it that you are so concerned over the blood that is being shed in Libya when you look the other way when the Israeli Defense Force was bombing the innocent people of Gaza; unarmed men, women and children?”
Not everything that Louis Farrakhan said in his 10-minute tirade the other day was wrong. For instance, the fact that the U.S. doesn’t act entirely out of defending the defenseless, but intervenes in international conflicts based on U.S. national interests. However his using Israel as a case in point was way off base.
Certainly his view of Qaddafi as a human being couldn’t be more bizarre. Farrakhan paints the picture of a humanitarian who has sacrificed for the greater good of the Libyan people. He speaks of his “good friend”[i] in glowing terms:
“Do they (Libyans) have jobs? Yes.
“Do they have food? Yes.
“Has Qaddafi used the oil money to build Libya? Yes.
“Did Qaddafi use oil money and discover water under the Sahara Desert, and brought that water to the surface; and brought water from Benghazi all the way to the border almost of Tunisia? Did he impose farming in the desert so that they could feed their own people? Yes.
“Are there billions of dollars that he’s spending building homes, building apartments for his people? Yes.”
Here are a few more questions Minister Farrakhan might want to rhetorically ask:
Did Qaddafi order the terrorist bombing of a discotheque in Berlin that was frequented by U.S. soldiers? Yes.
Did Qaddafi order the bombing of Pam Am flight 103 over Lockerby, Scotland, which killed 270 innocent people? Yes.
Did Qaddafi have a close friendship with former Ugandan leader Edi Amin, the man responsible for killing hundreds of thousands of his own people? Yes.
Has Qaddafi hired foreign mercenaries (because the loyalty of his own military is in question) in recent weeks to use lethal force against his own people? Yes.
Is Libya essentially a police state where one in five people work for the Libyan security forces? Yes.[ii]
So, clearly Farrakhan either has Selective Memory Syndrome or he simply (and more likely) has no regard for the truth. And it was not his painting of a Mother Theresa version of the evil dictator that got this writer’s blood boiling. What do you expect from the ranting and raving of the Nation of Islam leader?
However when he brought Israel into the picture, saying that the west is being hypocritical because they turned a blind eye to Israel’s attacking of “unarmed men, women and children” in Gaza, I got angry—not merely because he is knowingly taking that situation out of context, but because millions of people will hear his diatribe unchallenged, like the smiley, seemingly impotent talk show host that was interviewing him.
He is comparing Qaddafi’s use of non-Libyan Arab mercenaries to kill his own people who are demanding freedom after decades of oppression to Israel’s action in Operation Cast Lead, which began in December 2008.
The first thing I would remind Farrakhan is that Israel reluctantly launched Operation Cast Lead only after a year that brought 3,000 rockets from Gaza into Israel by the hands of Hamas. That was just in 2008. They had sent around 6,500 since leaving Gaza in 2005. It was a last resort, as citizens in cities and towns neighboring Gaza were being traumatized at all hours of the day and night. At any moment the sirens could blare, telling people to take cover, as rockets were incoming. Imagine being seven years old. During any given night you are woken up several times and must go hide in a bomb shelter. One cannot function like that—and finally Israel defended herself.
Israel’s goal was to stop the rocket attacks coming from Gaza against her population centers and to destroy the infrastructure that enabled the smuggling in of rockets and other weapons.
During the war Hamas, the defenders of the Palestinian people, fired rockets from population centers in hopes that an Israeli response would kill and wound many of their own people. They would use this self-induced tragedy as propaganda against Israel. “Hamas gunmen used Palestinian children as human shields, and established command centers and Kassam launch pads in and near more than 100 mosques and hospitals during Operation Cast Lead in the Gaza Strip last year, according to an … Israeli report … that aims to counter criticism of the IDF.”[iii]
In a post-war report led by Reuven Erlich, a former intelligence officer, Elrich said, “By placing all of their weaponry next to homes, by operating out of homes, mosques and hospitals, by firing rockets next to schools and by using human shields, Hamas is the one responsible for the civilian deaths during the operation.”[iv] Strangely, the great humanitarian Louis Farrakhan cares about as much for those people, as he does for the Libyans that Qaddafi is killing.
In an effort to ease the suffering of the people of Gaza during the war, Israel, in an unprecedented move, helped the people with whom they were at war. Over 1,300 trucks full of Humanitarian Aid went from Israel into Gaza during the conflict. In addition, Israel attended to the Palestinian wounded as they evacuated 382 wounded Palestinians.[v]
It was widely understood that Hamas stole the humanitarian aids. They took the free supplies and sold them to poor residents. A captured Hamas terrorist said, “Workers for the Hamas administration received all the humanitarian aid sent from Israel to the Gaza Strip. Gazans who were supposed to receive the aid for free had to pay for it...it was easy to identify the aid that came from Israel because of the Hebrew letters on the packaging.”[vi]
A Gazan resident wrote, “the aid goes into Hamas’s stores. They sell it to poor civilians…who are forced to wear green berets [identifying them with Hamas] to be able to buy it. If you don’t wear a green beret, there is neither food nor drink for you in Gaza.”[vii] Another one wrote, “the Hamas militias take the aid that arrives and give it to movement operatives…Hamas sells the aid…at higher than normal prices.”[viii] These are the thugs to whom Farrakhan relates.
When Israel had intelligence that a certain area was being use to launch rockets or smuggle them into Gaza, they sent text messages to the people who lived there and sought to the call them by telephone to warn them to leave. When has an attacking army ever gone to such lengths to minimize civilian casualties? According to a former British officer, never!
The former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, Col. Richard Kemp stated before the U.N. Humans Rights Council that Israel, “did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare.”[ix]
Does that not say it all? And let’s not forget, Gilad Shalit still remains somewhere in Gaza in captivity.
There is enough information out there, that this article could become a book. Sadly, we don’t have the readership that Louis Farrakhan has, so even if we did continue to write, his words would most likely go unchallenged. Do what you can to get the word out.
[i] I don’t know exactly how much money the Libyan dictator has given to Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam, but we do know that only President Clinton’s interference kept the Libyan from giving him one billion dollars in 1996.
[ii] thesouthernliberal.com, War in Libya and the End of Muammar Gaddafi, “In Libya, Qaddafi has installed a brutally oppressive police state, in which one in five Libyans is employed by the security apparatus (something akin to North Korea), foreign languages have been outlawed, dissidents are hunted down and murdered (globally), and executions are publicly televised.”