WATCH: Libya–Race, Empire, and the Invention of Humanitarian Emergency

“What struck me the most about the Libyan case was the acute degree of correspondence and the nature of near simultaneous timing in the messages spread by defecting Libyan diplomats, political leaderships in the U.S. and Europe, the emphases of presentations at the UN, and the work of various NGOs and human rights organizations. I am not sure that I personally have ever before witnessed such a phenomenon, as if I were hearing from a single person who had the ability to instantaneously shape-shift and move from one location to the next almost invisibly….” –  Maximilian Forte

Zero Anthropology

23 October 2012


Based on the author’s latest book, Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War On Libya and Africa (Baraka Books, Montreal, 2012), and nearly two years of extensive documentary research, this film places the 2011 US/NATO war in Libya in a more meaningful context than that of a war to “protect civilians” driven by the urgent need to “save Benghazi”. Instead it counters such notions with the actual destruction of Sirte, and the consistent and determined persecution of black Libyans and African migrant workers by the armed opposition, supported by NATO, as it sought to violently overthrow Muammar Gaddafi and the Jamahariyah. This film takes us through some of the stock justifications for the war, focusing on protecting civilians, the responsibility to protect (R2P), and “genocide prevention,” and examines the racial biases and political prejudice that underpinned them. The role of Western human rights organizations, as well as misinformation spread through “social media” with the intent of fostering fear of rampaging black people, are especially scrutinized.