The Libya situation is worth looking at on several accounts. The enigmatic personality of Muammar Gaddafi intrigues me … maybe the way that he has been perceived is even more intriguing; Gaddafi is seen variously as monstrous, mythic and comedic. The nature of his death inevitably enhances his legend. Gaddafi’s legend shares something of the quality of Kennedy’s.
The NATO’s intervention in Libya was wrong in intent, execution and immediate consequence, however this does not mean that Gaddafi was a ‘good guy’. I’ve posted some pro Gaddafi stuff but wondered why he was so hated by many Libyans. This post from libyafeb17.com provides some answers and is more persuasive that the usual ‘Gaddafi was a dirtbag’ assertion:
Salaries in Libya are governed by law number 15 which sets the average salary of Libyans at 200 dollars per month. To make things worst it is customary to have this low wage paid intermittently.
Law number 4 caters for the confiscation of private and commercial property, practically passing such stolen properties to the members of his family and of its so called revolutionary committee members who are in charge of security.
The burning down of the land registry building in Tripoli to destroy any reference of legal ownership of property.
The continuous discharge of untreated sewage in the sea in close proximity to the cities Tripoli and Benghazi
The sudden unnotified change of Libyan currency practically confiscating all personal assets of Libyans
Civil infrastructure, healthcare and the education system have failed beyond disbelief in the last 40 years.
Private Libyan citizens yearly spend on average 5billion dollars in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt out of their pockets for medical treatment, because they have completely lost trust in the Libyan health care system.
Gaddafi committed some of the most brutal human right excesses in the late 70â€²s and early 80â€²s. Libyan students were hanged in universities, sport auditoriums and public squares simply for not adhering to the green book ideology.
Gaddafi has squandered unimaginable wealth on his propaganda machine; mainly managed by such figures like Mr. Ali Alkilani and Mr. Abdullah Mansour
For many years Gaddafi squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on terrorist organizations such as the IRA and the red brigades, and on separatist movements in Africa, the Far East and central and Latin America.
Gaddafiâ€™s agents killed WPC Ivon Fletcher outside the Libyan Embassy in London in 1984 and many other Libyan political dissidents through a campaign that he calls â€œEliminating Stray Dogsâ€
Gaddafi has also shot down a civilian Libyan airliner over Libya killing about 150 passengers. Bizarrely he had given the doomed flight a similar flight number to the Lockerbie airliner. This atrocity was also committed on the anniversary of the Lockerbie airliner.
Abu Sleem prison massacre where he ordered the killing of over 1200 political prisoners
The HIV infection breakout in Benghazi. Over 500 children where effected because the sterilization equipment were malfunctioning.
Gaddafi waged pointless wars in Chad and Uganda where over 20,000 Libyans died. In addition, Gaddafi supplied chemical weapons to the late Somalian dictator Ziad Berri which caused thousands of deaths.
The destruction of the mausoleum (in Benghazi) of Omar Mukhtar and the removal of his remains to be buried in a remote Oasis which was an act of desecration to the national pride.
The act of entertaining and handing out euroâ€™s to hundreds of selected young Italian women in Rome so he could preach to them the green book ideology and convert them to his version of Islam. To add insult to injury, upon his return to Libya Gaddafi publicly insulted and attacked a couple of Libyan women that he caught begging outside Tripoli central mosque (Moulia Mohamed) after the Friday prayer.
The declaration of war on Switzerland for arresting one of his sons and his wife for beating up the domestic staff.
The demolition of several historically listed buildings in downtown Tripoli such as the parliament and our foreign ministry.
The use of Libyan women as so called revolutionary nuns as personal bodyguards.
The total disregard of the teachings (Sunna) of the prophet Muhammad and his failed attempts at altering the Quranic text.
The forced military training of very young male and female students.
The peculiar unwritten law of forbidding the mention of the names of any Libyan official by the national media accept those of himself and immediate members of his family. In football no names of players were allowed to be mentioned except that of his son because Gaddafi regarded stardom as a political crime.
His continuous efforts to rewrite Libyan history according to his twisted personal ideology and personal grandiose.
The abolishment of the Libyan constitution (compiled by a team of leading international jurists) which symbolized the smooth birth of Libyan independence and its national sovereignty as voted for by the general assembly of the UN. Gaddafi continued to rule Libya without a constitution until the present day.
According to the UN development surveys and other international organizations publications Libyaâ€™s development indicators perform dismally.
Gaddafiâ€™s extensive liaison with colourful African witchcraft doctors and voodoo priests, arguably leading to his ultimate act of eccentricity proclaiming himself Africaâ€™s King of Kings. Commentators and political analysts continue to struggle to accommodate this with his brand of revolutionary socialism.
These children see Gaddafi as a monster ‘worst that Hitler’:
This girl sees him as a hero:
How is it possible to have such contradicting views of the same person?
It occurred to me today that there were parallels between the Gaddafi legend and what I remember of the story of Paul Muad’dib in Frank Herbert’s novels, Dune and Dune Messiah. Wondering if this thought had occurred to anyone else I googled ‘Muad’dib and Gaddafi’ and sure enough others had made the connection (the Internet is truly amazing ), someone had even gone to the trouble of making a video:
There several others videos that present this picture of the supposed madman as a visionary hero:
Compare that with this video:
It seem beyond dispute that the NATO intervention was at best wrong headed and disproportionate in its violence and at worst a cynical and murderous corporate takeover. What is problematic however is the matter of Gaddafi’s legends and legacy. There are two competing pictures, one of Gaddafi as a kind of James Bond villain and another of him as a near Messiah. The truth may lie in some complex interweaving of the legends but which legend becomes established is important because it will have totemic value for those who are for and those who are against the US strategy for ‘full spectrum dominance‘ and the establishment of a world corporate state.
James Fetzer has written an interesting article, Reason and Rationality in Public Debate: The Case of Libya, which sets the stage for a rational assessment of Gaddafi’s legends and legacy.