Honoring a great manOctober 20, 2015
Visitors and readers of this blog, who solely rely on the opulent but unbalanced and insufficient diet of Western mainstream media, may shudder by the idea that one of the most defamed, demonized, ridiculed, and smeared world leaders could be regarded as a great man. Especially as this man was titled a military dictator, a “mad man,” an irrational, erratic, patronizing, and pompous despot with female bodyguards and golden toilets.
Why do people still believe the media lies? Why don’t people see the glaring discrepancies and contradictions in the official narrative? Why don’t people learn from disasters and why do they easily forget broken promises? Why do people still support a political system which fails them?
Anyway, the following text is meant only for readers who don’t uncritically believe Western media propaganda. Anybody else is asked kindly to ignore this post.
Today is the four-year anniversary of the NATO-instigated slaying of Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi. His barbarous torture and execution was the crowning of combined efforts by the USA and the European Union to destroy Africa’s then richest nation and with it the worlds most ambitious project to build a just and equal society free from colonial dictates.
Gaddafi’s shadow is still looming large. He called himself “Guide of the Revolution” and declared Libya a Jamahiriya or “state of the masses,” run by local committees. Contrary to Western propaganda, Gaddafi’s Libya was one of the world’s most democratic states.
The Jamahiriya vision
Under Gaddafi’s unique system of direct democracy, traditional institutions of government were disbanded and abolished, while the people decided directly through a multitude of committees and congresses on various levels.
Libya was highly decentralized and divided into several small communities that were essentially mini-autonomous States within a State. These autonomous States had control over their districts and could make a wide range of decisions, including how to allocate oil revenue and budgetary funds. Within these mini autonomous States, the three main bodies of Libya’s democracy were Local Committees, Basic People’s Congresses, and Executive Revolutionary Councils.
The BPC (Basic People’s Congress, or Mu’tamar shaʿbi asāsi) was Libya’s parliament, but it was not comprised merely of elected representatives who discussed and proposed legislation on behalf of the people; rather, the Congress allowed all Libyans to directly participate in this process. Eight hundred People’s Congresses were set up across the country and all Libyans were free to attend and shape national policy and make decisions over all major issues including budgets, education, industry, and the economy.
The fundamental difference between Western political systems and the Libyan “Jamahiriya’s direct democracy” was that in Libya all citizens were allowed to voice their views directly — not in one parliament of only a few hundred wealthy and detached politicians — but in hundreds of committees attended by tens of thousands of ordinary citizens.
On numerous occasions Muammar Gaddafi’s proposals were rejected by popular vote during Congresses and the opposite was approved and enacted as legislation.
For instance, Gaddafi several times proposed the abolition of capital punishment and he pushed for home schooling over traditional schools. However, the People’s Congresses wanted to maintain the death penalty and classic schools, and the will of the People’s Congresses prevailed.
Caring for the people
In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; by the time he was murdered, he had transformed Libya into Africa’s richest nation. Prior to the NATO bombing campaign in 2011, Libya had the highest HDI (Human Development Index), the lowest infant mortality, and the highest life expectancy in all of Africa.
Education and health care were free. Before Gaddafi only 25 percent of Libyans were literate, at the time of his death the figure was 83 percent.
If Libyans could not find the educational institutions or medical facilities they needed inside the country, the government paid the costs to go abroad, and also paid an allowance of 2,300 US$ per month for accommodation and other expenses. 25 percent of Libyans had a university degree. If a graduate was unable to get employment, the state would pay the average salary of his/her profession until a job was found.
A portion of Libyan oil sales was credited directly to the bank account of every Libyan citizen. There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya were state-owned and loans were given to all citizens at zero percent interest by law. Libyans who wanted to take up farming would receive land, a house, farming equipment, seeds, and livestock for free to start their farm.
Having a home was considered a human right, electricity was free for all. All newlyweds in Libya received 50,000 US$ to buy an apartment and start up the family. A mother who gave birth to a child received 5,000 US$.
Libya had no external debt and its reserves amounted to 150 billion US$. Most of this money disappeared after Gaddafi’s death, stolen by the big Western banks.
Libya under Gaddafi built the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Manmade River project, to make water easely available throughout the desert country.
The HDI (Human Development Index), a composite measure of health, education, and income, was 0.760, which gave the country rank 64 out of 187 nations with comparable data. The HDI of Arab states was 0.444 in 1980 and 0.641 in 2011, placing Libya far above the regional average. Life expectancy was 72.3 years in 2009, among the highest in the developing World.
All these facts and data are confirmed by WHO, UNESCO, and other international organizations, they cannot be disputed.
Destroying the vision
After the devastating NATO bombing campaign, which killed an estimated 40,000 Libyans, and the destruction of the state institutions by Islamic militants, which were funded, trained, equipped, and coordinated by Western agents, the country descended into chaos. At the moment two governments are vying for power and various armed groups battle for control of the energy resources.
The former capital city of Tripoli is under the control of a government recognized by no other state. A militia alliance of Islamists overran Tripoli in August 2014 in a bloody war that ended with the destruction of the airport and many residential areas. The Islamists established a rival government and parliament, while the internationally recognized administration was forced to flee to Tobruk in eastern Libya. The country is now divided in two, with many regions beyond state control.
The local branch of IS (Islamic State) under the leadership of Abdelhakim Belhadj is metastasizing at an alarming rate. Belhadj was once courted by the US administration and he was an important Western ally in the quest to topple Gaddafi. In 2011, US Senator John McCain hailed Belhadj as a “heroic freedom fighter” and Washington gave his organization LIFG (Libyan Islamic Fighting Group) arms and logistical support despite its affiliation to Al Qaeda.
Less than two weeks ago, IS launched its most daring attack in Libya on a prison compound at Mitiga air base, a secure location in Tripoli.
Taking advantage of the chaos, IS has certainly gained a foothold, until now conquering three cities: Derna in the east, Subratha in the west, and Sirte in the middle. Sirte, Muammar Gaddafi’s hometown, was one of the last holdouts against the NATO bombing raids and it had to be completely destroyed in order to be liberated from Gaddafi’s rule. The remaining inhabitants of Sirte are now taken in by Bani Walid, another Gaddafi holdout which was badly damaged but miraculously managed to get rid of the Islamists. Bani Walid is now an oasis of social stability in a desert of chaos and crime.
Gaddafi’s vision is still alive in Bani Walid and in many other Libyan places, which cannot be named because this would attract attention by Islamic militias and Western agents.
While the south has become a no man’s land and a haven for terrorists and criminals, in the north opposing militias battle for territory and have set up a reign of terror in their areas of influence. Thousands of Libyans are still displaced inside the country and an estimated one million people try to escape the chaos, crossing illegally into Egypt and Tunisia. In the coastal areas people-smugglers are ferrying migrants to Europe on flimsy boats, causing thousands to drown.
Sporadic gunfire, roadblocks and power shortages have become routine. Most schools and universities have yet to open their doors for this academic year, and schoolchildren are spending most of their time outdoors playing in unsafe streets.
Robberies, evictions, arbitrary detentions, rapes, random murders, and general lawlessness characterize todays Libya. For instance criminal gangs from Al-Sayad and Al-Mamoura, who control the coastal road from Al-Sayad to Al-Mamoura in western Tripoli have abducted dozens of citizens from Al-Zawiyato for ramson, actions which will possibly cause an armed conflict between the Al-Aziziya and Wirshiffana tribes.
Benghazi, the second major city in Libya, has been almost completely destroyed in the ongoing war between the Libyan army of the internationally recognized government, based in El Bayada, and different Islamist factions concentrating mainly near the seafront north of the city.
All Western embassies and consulates in Libya closed after US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three CIA officers were killed in Benghazi. Egypt, Algeria, and Tunisia have sealed their borders with Libya.
The Libyan economy has collapsed. Turkey and Qatar, which invested massively in the hope that their local conspirators, the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood, would pave the way to economic domination, have closed shop, suffering painful financial losses.
Oil production, the main source of government revenue, is down by three quarters, and the country now pumps less than half a million barrels a day, denying the treasury much-needed cash to pay the thousands of civil servants on its payroll. Government salaries are at least three months behind payment schedule.
All major infrastructure projects that were in progress before the NATO bombing campaign have been on hold since all major foreign companies left, leaving behind rusting building cranes dotting the Tripoli skyline.
Ordinary people struggle to make ends meet, with skyrocketing prices and little subsidized basic food available. Medical services are almost nonexistent, forcing people to seek treatment in neighboring Tunisia. Those with financial means trying to go to Europe for whatever reason find it even harder, since Western embassies are closed; in order to apply for a visa, Libyan citizens must travel to Tunis, Tunisia.
Seif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s favorite son and his rumored successor, was arrested a few days after his father’s death as he was trying to flee the country. Those who caught him were Thuwwar from the Zintan region, in Libya’s southwest. They paraded Gaddafi’s son in front of cameras and people, and it was rumored that they cut off his fingers to torture him.
But when Tripoli, then the only central government, asked for him to be handed over, the Zintanis refused. Even when the ICC (International Criminal Court) asked, his captors refused. Later, videos of him in jail were smuggled out, in which he seemed much calmer and even revered by his prison guards. In the years since Gaddafi’s death, Zintan evolved from a staunch revolutionary city to a pro-Tobruk stronghold. In Libya’s de facto split of 2014, Zintan became Tobruk’s enclave in the west, in the heart of Tripoli’s zone of influence.
The government in Tobruk itself is now considered by insiders as a covert pro-Gaddafi government.
When a Tripoli court sentenced Seif Gaddafi to death, it was in absentia and he was well protected in the Zintan jail. While Saif al-Islam Gaddafi is relatively safe, other high-level figures of his father’s Jamahiriya are not. The most notable ones in Tripoli’s prisons are Abdullah Senussi, the last prime minister of Libya, Baghdadi al Mahmoudi, and Gaddafi’s younger son, al-Saadi. The two old men have no chance to ever be freed or to escape and they are now awaiting execution, which may happen at any time. In August 2015 a video surfaced of al-Saadi Gaddafi being tortured by his jailers.
Wile the Islamic State is waiting for its chance to come, the fighting between the two rival governments doesn’t abate. Months of UN-brokered talks to achieve a peace deal and form a national unity government have run aground.
Despite weariness and exhaustion, the most powerful players vow to continue fighting. On Tobruk’s side, it is General Khalifa Hafter and his militia-turned-army which continues fighting and bombing in Benghazi and near Tripoli. On Tripoli’s side, it is mainly the Islamic militia from Misrata who coalesce behind Salah Badi’s al-Sumud Front.
A very short epilog
Among all the countless crimes which Western colonial powers committed against former colonies, the destruction of Libya was the most insidious and heinous one. The carelessness, the disregard of life, and the resulting unimaginable bloodshed were accompanied by a cynical and contemptuous propaganda war which turned every fact on its head.
In 2012 the European Union, which is practically the political wing of NATO, got its Peace Nobel Price on behalf of NATO for the destruction of Libya. UN president Barrack Obama couldn’t be nominated for the Peace Nobel Price, he got it already in 2009.
This is an Orwellian scene.
And yet, it doesn’t help to feel outrage, to be incensed and furious. It doesn’t help to be engulfed by hate against the monstrous war criminals in the Oval Office, in Downing Street 10, in the Elysee Palace, in Brussels, in the Bundeskanzleramt, and other Western power centers.
It maybe helps to calmly and steadily inform, tell the truth, sow the seeds of doubt. It helps to boycott and opt out, to give an example how to bypass the system and how to avoid becoming guilty.
Not listening to the lies, not colluding with the masters of destruction, not playing their game, building one’s little paradise and refuge, and thereby spreading the message.
Remembering and praising the great persons who fought against evil for the sake of humanity.
Colonel Muammar Gaddafi will always be our hero! Related: