Slavery in Libya: What Is Government of Liberia Doing?


IT IS ALMOST ONE Month since Cable News Network (CNN) unearthed the gruesome enslavement of black African migrants in Libya. Footage of the inhuman treatments including the sale of the helpless migrants have also swamped social media, prompting calls for investigation and the repatriation of the migrants. 

THE ACRIMONY OF THIS despicable 21st CENTURY slavery became even more palpable amongst Liberians when Franklin Teah, a young Liberian who managed to escape from Libya, recounted his dreadful experience to one of our staffs. He narrated his dreadful experience in a Libyan prison while trying to cross over to Europe to seek greener pasture. Teah’s ordeal, as narrated by him, paints a horrible picture that corroborates international news reporting about the dreadful situation Africans migrants are enduring in the North African country. 

THE ENTIRE AFRICA CONTINENT is often rocked by deaths of hundreds of migrants on the Mediterranean Sea while en route to Europe via North Africa, but to witness the maltreatment of Africans by their fellow Africans has sparked more outrage. 

IN FRANCE, THERE have been street protests calling for the government to push for an investigation of these brutal incidents and punishment of the culprits. 

NEVERTHELESS, WE THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT action should be the repartition of these migrants back to their respective countries? Some African governments have already moved to rescue their stranded citizens and took them back home. Ivory Coast has joined other nations like Cameroon to rescue their citizens from the dungeon of these callous and lawless monsters. 

THE GOVERNMENT OF LIBERIA remained taciturn, refusing to comment or exert efforts to bring back its citizens. This, we believe impacted a recent protest by mostly young Liberians.  

THE RECENT PROTESTS at the doors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Libyan Embassy in Monrovia were criticized by some members of the public, but we see it as a significant move to raise alarm over government’s insensitivity. It is absolutely baffling that the MOFA still remained unmoved even even after the public outcry takes a new dimension while our brothers languish in appalling condition. 

“The government will always say there are no Liberians in that country whenever it is time for them to bring the citizens home; but we know many of our friends, who traveled to Libya and are stranded there,” said Melinda B. Joss, leader of the protesters. 

WE JOINED THE PROTESTERS to reecho the plight of our stranded compatriots by calling on the Liberian government to take more vigorous actions to ensure they are brought back home. Working with the Libyan embassy in Monrovia would be a good start but we warn against any form of lip service or blind-eye tactics toward the prevailing situation. 

THE GOVERNMENT or its surrogates may argue that these young Liberians choose their own debacle by threading a horrendous route to Europe, but we too have a counter-argument: The incompetence of governments to maximize the wealth of resources of their respective countries in order to provide opportunities for the citizenry prompts such AUDACIOUSLY perilous economic migration. 

WE DO NOT DEFEND illegal migration, but as pragmatic as it must be stated, we know that destitution leads to desperation, which has massive tendency of leading to ridiculously daring motives or actions. This is the case of those stranded migrants and we would not ignore all the contributing factors that influenced their venture of seeking better opportunities.  

NOW THAT THE OUTCOME of their sojourn does not appear pretty, we can’t just leave them to rot in some heartless Libyan prisons. We know that it is the responsibly of any government to protect its citizens based on the social contract both sides – a citizens and a government – signed when a government is elected. 

WE ARE THEREFORE CALLING ON the MFA to speed up any efforts it is making to intervene. Now that the situation is a reference of slavery in this dispensation of mankind, we cannot have our government paying deaf ear or a wait-and-see syndrome. The laissez Fair attitude must stop, government must perform its responsibility.

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