last update Dec. 27
<< The Tripoli Massacres
The Evidence for Women and Children
Adding to the previous record on the carnage at Abu Salim Trauma Hospital, a CNN news report from Alex Thomson I'd missed before (thanks to Petri Krohn's Abu Salim hospital playlist - his whole channel is amazingly informative)
Grim Face of War in Libya
Posted by Ikon590 on August 26, 2011
What's unusual here is the dark tone of the report, and the faint suggestion (at 1:25) that rebels might be responsible for what happened at the Hospital. What's altogether new to me is the information at 2:15, about the executed black would-be refugees dumped next to the hospital (covered somewhat here). Previous reports said 19 or 20 bodies were there, all men. This says there were 22 victims, including "two women, two children, but most were men of fighting age."
It's not entirely clear what Thomson's criteria were for saying"children." He could have meant teenager, and actually seen a 20-year-old man who's just a bit small. Even gender cannot always be adduced correctly from decomposing bodies laid in strange postures. But Thomson has more experience than usual judging by his Channel 4 bio, covering as many war zones as anyone else around. I'll givehim credit here, especially as it's supported.
Andrew Simmons for al Jazeera was the first journalist at the hospital on the 26th. For an interview with National Public Radio, he confirmed women at least were among the dead.
BLOCK: Were these men, women, children, Andrew?And The BBC's John Simpson, who called the scene at the hospital "one of the most terrible incidents of the revolution," was among those reporting "more than 200 decomposing bodies" and the BBC report specified that he "found corpses of men, women and children on beds and in the corridors of Abu Salim's hospital," in addition to the ones on that pile outside (or was this a minor error of presumption?).
SIMMONS: We could make out men and some women, only a few. We didn't see any children. And we weren't really in a position to be forensic over this.
There are other points of ambiguity with the total number of dead on-site. Was it 75, or "more than 200" at its highest point? Did the number fluctuate, and if so, why? Did anyone else report or even show women and children among these ambiguous dead? Because their killing - often on-site and by the blade - is the real problem, rather than their being left "unattended" afterwards. And one side rife with sword-waving, unaccountable, spoiled-rotten, uncontrolled, Islamo-nihilist slaughter jackals stands out as both culprits and as the nation's new rulers.
What it Means (a Guess)
If women and children were among those executed and abandoned at the hospital, the obvious question is what it means. It doesn't really look like a policy of anyone's to kill the populace indiscriminately. By all evidence, the numbers of kids and women are too low to be the main plan. But something unusual was at work here, putting families in whole at a risk that was too great in at least a few cases.
My best guess builds right off what I've already observed. Near these dead are quite a few blankets, which are often handy enough when dead are concerned, but also pillows and clothing, cardboard boxes and plastic bags. Those planning to flee from rebel "liberation"might carry the former inside the latter, piled in the car. They might go as families, hoping to escape in time. Dozens of cars were left abandoned all over that area, rammed off the road, doors flung open, hoods popped, disabled.
The drivers of these cars of Abu Salim are presumably arrested or dead. Most of the dead we've seen dumped about are adult males, but like anyone else, they had families, and some perhaps had them right there. One man shot near his car (victim #9, graphic photo, listed and placed with others here) wore a wedding ring, and had a baby blanket left nearby. One could presume from this the rebels had a policy of physically sparing women and children as usually done. But they seemed to quite freely execute daddies who tried to flee suspiciously.
It's not too hard to imagine in this climate a few women and older children, the spirited ones, refusing to be parted from their husband/father, refusing to leave their assailants eyes intact, and having to be, unfortunately,"put down" alongside their main target. It's not the only option, nor the best, they'd be aware. But is the quickest. If so, they'd be dumped with the rest, no problem. It's a bad guy thing, so the bad guy "Gaddafi regime" will be blamed. Let those who flee and kill at the same time be blamed as the killers of these attempted refugees and go down as child-killers and women-killers that the humanitarian rebels were always just barely too late to save the country from..
Update December 26:
And an update on investigations into who carried out the slaughter of men, women, and children, inside and around this hospital full of wounded loyalists: Nothing I can find. The only new story in a news search is about 100 surgeons who had a workshop at the trauma hospital in mid-December.
Officially, it seems, loyalist snipers wounding people, a cowardly loyalist staff who ran from those snipers, and simple neglect still explain the gunshot executions, throat-slitting, and beheadings that occurred inside this one among many black holes of "Free Libya's" emerging new history. And anyone there who knows, who escaped, who can see and care, will be scared shitless to say anything about it. At the moment, Tripoli's doctors - those found disloyalist or neutral enough to remain free, alive, and working - are still trying to get guns as banned from their hospitals as cigarettes.
This comes after a hospital worker strike, following months of repeated incidents like this minor battle, and more recently thuggish behavior in broad daylight that hasn't quite been fatal yet, per the BBC's report anyway. The concerned health workers might be among those aware of the staff at Abu Salim's onetime inability to prevent guns and swords being used there, dozens of times over, turning the place into a veritable slaughterhouse, one with even less government oversight or concern than there would be if cattle were killed there.