We are black, it is true, but tell us, gentlemen, you who are so judicious, what is the law that says that the black man must belong to and be the property of the white man? ... Yes, gentleman, we are free like you, and it is only by your avarice and our ignorance that anyone is still held in slavery up to this day, and we can neither see nor find the right that you pretend to have over us ... We are your equals then, by natural right, and if nature pleases itself to diversify colours within the human race, it is not a crime to be born black nor an advantage to be white.
This excerpt is from a letter written in July 1792 by the leaders of the revolution of Haitian slaves. The letter has been republished in the collection of writings of the black leader Toussaint L'Overture, The Haitian Revolution, which includes also the correspondence between him and Napoleon Bonaparte. In the late eighteenth century, Toussaint L'Overture and his supporters established the first black republic in the world.
In the United Kingdom, October is Black History Month. The celebration was originally introduced in 1926 on the initiative of Carter G. Woodson, the editor of the Journal of Negro History. In 2007, no fewer than 6,000 events were held in the UK as part of its programme. Here are some key Verso titles past and present that are relevant to the study and celebration of African and Caribbean history.
Writing for the Al Jazeera English website, Mahmood Mamdani examines the way in which UN resolution 1973 came about, and what this means for the conflict
The second thing notable about the UN process is that though the Security Council is central to the process of justification, it is peripheral to the process of execution ...
Having authorised the intervention, the Security Council left its implementation to any and all, it "authorised Member States, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements."
As with every right, this free for all was only in theory; in practise, the right could only be exercised by those who possessed the means to do so. As the baton passed from the UN Security Council to the US and NATO, its politics became clearer.
Mamdani goes on to look at the freezing of Libyan assets held in the US & Europe, noting that:
Libyan assets are mainly in the US and Europe, and they amount to hundreds of billions of dollars: the US Treasury froze $30bn of liquid assets, and US banks $18bn. What is to happen to interest on these assets?
The absence of any specific arrangement assets are turned into a booty, an interest-free loan, in this instance, to US Treasury and US banks.