In mid-February 2011, the human species’ information channels suddenly became filled with references to the hitherto largely ignored country of Libya. Reports of unrest were followed by reports of massacres, followed by news that the government of Libya had lost control over the eastern part of the country.
Then the events took a course extraordinary and paradoxical. While the talk of the initial massacres receded without any disclosure of viable evidence, the world’s reaction to that talk amplified, to an extent and with speed never before seen in history.
For example, the United Nations issued a resolution allowing a virtually unlimited military intervention in Libya. * Many powerful world leaders started saying that the Libyan most famous leader – their hitherto partner – “must go.” * That was said in the name of the Libyans, though most Libyan people did nothing to express such will. * The offers made by the Libyans to make their will known through a referendum and general elections were silently refused. * By now there were four offers and fours refusals (I think, I’ve lost count).
* So, the country was bombed, killing men, women and children; and the bombers recently announced that the next targets will be the infrastructure much of which is necessary for the population’s survival.
None of the mainstream world media addressed these – how should we call them? – Abnormalities.
Some of us who witnessed the above woke up to the realisation that humankind is generally ruled by agencies that are simultaneously disregarding reason, law, mercy- all the basic tenets of human behaviour. Some of us believed in their existence already.
What is the character of those agencies? Are they conscious or unconscious? Are they conspirational or not?
Regardless of the answers to these questions, one need is strikingly clear:
We, ordinary people, have to express ourselves in new ways – bolder, or maybe just more honest ways – – in regard to what is being done to Libya, and the wider situation.
This blog was launched to publish an interview with a Libyan educated in the West.
The guest speaker
OK, I’ll start slowly. I found Diana via this page. To quote from there:
Diana is Libyan. She was educated in England and speaks fluent English. Her mother is Greek with left-wing views; her father a Berber businessman. She’s therefore someone with roots in both Europe and Africa, exposed to left and right-wing influences during her life. A cosmopolitan who speaks five languages, Diana has spent much of her life in Libya but has also lived in various European nations.
In the 1980s, when General Gaddafi’s polices veered to the left and nationalization of the economy became widespread, her father’s business was severely affected. So Diana’s own background is not what one might expect of someone who now is speaking up passionately against the NATO assault on Libya…..
Unfortunately, most mainstream western journalists seem interested only in hearing from anti-Gaddafi Libyans. So it is that westerners continue to get a one-sided picture of Libya which helps support the case for NATO bombing.
Here’s another side to the story…
I was in Tripoli Libya till last week [April 2011], but on my family’s insistence left through Tunis to Europe.
I still get information directly from Libya having all the connections, plus I stay informed by following independent journalists.
My views? I’m very democratic up to a point. But I categorically oppose lies.
To make things clear, I am neither pro or against Qaddafi the man. I’m indifferent – he does his job, I do mine. Yes, he’s a dictator – but he has to be to keep in peace around 420 tribes (Not sure about the exact number of tribes. Originally they were 120, the rest are sub-tribes. Don’t ask – even I can’t comprehend it! )
When Qaddafi came to power Libya had approximately 80% illiteracy. He made schooling obligatory <snip> To make a long story short, Qaddafi turned the country around and made it prosper.
I didn’t like the way he did it always, but it’s done – and who am I to complain when I see the results have been good!?
Prior to the 17th of February, so-called ‘innocent’ protesters had killed 4 policemen – and succeeded stealing a depot of arms, killing some soldiers! The Libyan army tried to defend itself, which was natural enough.
Then came the ‘day of rage’ (17th February 2011). (Bear in mind that YouTube [which immediately published alleged videos from that day] had been blocked in Libya for over a year!)
On the day of rage the protesters were not like in Egypt & Tunis. Protesters came out of Mosques armed! If this happened in your country, what would the government do?
The army shot up to the air to frighten them and protesters started shooting troops in cold blood – so the army had to defend itself…
The rebels, working with ex-patriots, cocked up the massacre story (which never took place). Try to find a massacre video from the ‘day of rage’. You will find nothing. All the videos they uploaded were fake – using footage from demonstrations in Iraq, Israel and some other places.
Al Jazeera which belongs to Qatar works with the Americans, BBC, CNN etc. You’ll notice they tell much the same story.
There are about six and a half million Libyans. Say a million of them don’t want Qaddafi. That leaves five and half million who are with the Libyan government – so how can western governments demand we have to change?? Would your country like that – or accept it?
The whole battle is for oil & water reserves that are as big and as wide as the whole of Europe. Then there are all the other natural resources in Libya. Having Qaddafi in power is an obstacle to some greedy, powerful people in the west!
How to achieve peace? Qaddafi and the Libyan government have asked for a ceasefire – to sit down to talk. But the rebels have rejected that – together with NATO.
I cringe at the idea that Libya might become another Somalia!!!
The main thing is to inform people about the truth. Let them hear BOTH sides – then they can decide which one is the truth!
The US and NATO are demanding that Qaddafi has to leave – but that is NOT their decision to make.
It’s a decision for Libyans.
the first contact
@d I want to interview you. My questions are here <snip>
d: you can contact me in <snip>
I’m not a journalist by job!
BUT I’m really eager to learn more about Libya,
AND perhaps I might publish our conversation online, for example here
(both are my friends’ pages)
as well as on my modest blog.
AND I’m willing to offer it to other media outlets in the West.
It wouldn’t be the first time for me to mail them with an offer.
<snip – private info>
About our talk/interview – many things can be negotiated.
I can change questions. I can delete some, and continue to add new questions,…
I know you may lack will to answer. But, I have honestly stated
everything in here and my interest is real.
No problem. I would like the Western media to hear the other side, as they only interview people from Benghazi as their bosses have ordered them. I reside in Greece, my mobile is <snip> please feel free to give me a call or send me the questions via email & I will try to answer them to the best of my ability. I can put you to links which say a few things that i have already talked about so you can have an idea for this link I wrote to the editor to complain about being bias & the editor decided to print it but the best info is in the comments find the name Olive he has a lot of videos & info that you maybe haven’t seen!
Anyway I will be happy to hear from you and as I said I will try to answer your questions..
Thanking you for taking the time!
Let me tell you: all (or most of) the youtube links you’ve provided for Business Week have been deleted. But similar videos provided on Olive’s link are still working fine. ( By the way, I have no intention of watching such horrors. )
That’s a very good blog!
Me . The responses are good, it’s just that… . the third mail from the top was left unanswered. . There are my introductory questions. . Diana 12 May . didn’t see it! I will get to it as soon as possible! . . <It so happened that she was too busy and distracted to answer them soon; that ultimately led to a small misunderstanding. > . .
Me (19 May)
Diana (the same day)
I finished my studies around ‘81 in England. I have finished economics & administration at the time of Libyan nationalization. It was in my early 20s so I decided to go abroad and learn German. In Germany I stayed for a few years. During that time I worked for half a year, while the other half I was back in Libya. My job description didn’t require it for me to be in an office all year round, so it was convenient.
I have never left Libya, I have worked outside Libya for ten years in Germany, Greece and Italy, but it was about moving in & out of Libya most of the time.
From 1999 I was fully employed in Libya at my fathers’ private hotel. My Mum is Greek, and I have a house in Greece. Given the circumstances, my father thought it best that I leave, and that’s why I am in Greece – but I’m planning to go back to Libya in early June.
I recall some Libyan government spokesman said the insurgents enjoy support of about 2% of the population. [ edit: it’s actually this source here]
2% out of 6 million is 120 000.
So many people can’t all be nutters and criminals.
These days, I gather you often have verbal exchanges with them What do you think, what’s on their minds?!
I am not sure if the percentage is accurate. It could be meaning the insurgence in Benghazi without calculating the expats, or better said the Ex-Patriots who live abroad. Bear in mind that Benghazi is not purely composed of Libyan Arab tribes – they are a mix of Egyptians, Turks & Libyans. Now, the council of the rebels which was formed is composed partly of former government officials who were on Qaddafi’s side for more than thirty years.
What I do know is that Jalil & Younis, who were well-known as Libyan government officials, did not want the changes done by Qaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam! They did not want the reforms, and didn’t like that the son seemed likely to take all the praise. They wanted to be on the first seat, and become the successors of Qaddafi (I know this for a fact)!
Saif was pushing forward for radical changes such as this one:
Most departments – like health, education, roads, etc – would not be ruled by someone from the government, but by a hired manager. This means that the bureaucracy would not be able to steal any money from the Libyan treasury.
These plans were not approved by the above said people… who are very rich by Libyan standards! Meaning, they have villas, bank accounts in Switzerland & all over the world!
Moreover, USA & EU always wanted to put their hands in the riches of Libya and pay nothing to the Libyans. So, I believe this aggression was planned from years ago!
They were waiting for the right time. The right time came along when the above said government people were not satisfied with the general developments in the Libyan administration. In Benghazi there was an unrest, but the story is very different from what the Western Media made it out to be… So, coming to answer your question: there was some unrest it could be that it was only two percent, but then you will have to add the Ex-patriots who rushed back to Libya, with a single thought: don’t lose the opportunity of grabbing the riches that have been promised!
I don’t believe they are ‘nutters’ or criminals – not all of them, certainly. I am sure there are some decent people among the insurgents,… perhaps tricked… I actually do not know what goes on in their minds.
What I do know for a fact is that a lot of families in Benghazi were bullied or threatened for their safety, if they did not follow the rebels.
So, really you will have to decide for yourself on the basis of the available evidence. ( I can send you information, but it will take a while for me to find it, as it dates from the beginning of the unrest. I’m not sure how I could get to the facebook pages from a certain date. ) For more info go to this facebook page.
How big is the Libyan expat community?
A friend of mine assumes those on twitter “with perfect English” are employed by CIA,…
Diana May 14 at 8:39pm
Correct what your friend says, ex patriots number approx. 2000 families – that is my information in the decade of the 1980s. After that, what I do know is that a lot were given a freedom to go abroad to look as expatriots, but most of them came back around ’96. Don’t forget that till the eighties we were only three million & something, so the 2000 families were either from the kings family relatives extended relatives, etc., and some families who were filthy rich by the kingdom who left. I don’t know if that helps you at all.
… Either they went out of the country because they didn’t like the situation in Libya at the time & returned back around 1996 when privatization was allowed. Some families had kids & wanted a better education for them. I really do not know the reason why. But in the eighties and until 1994 it was not the best time for any Libyan, I think! So, I am not sure if the Libyans who left around the 80s as “ex patriots” or they left because a lot of things were not available in Libya at the time.
Me: I want to suggest a possibility. Do you think we could PAY our brothers who are rebelling to stop doing it?
DMG: No, I don’t think so.
Me: OK, I won’t ask for explanation as it would be a long story.
Gaddafi’s position and the Libyan way
Me: People often talk of ‘Colonel Gaddafi.’ In the exchange on a facebook page, one pro-Gaddafi poster disapproves of that reference. So if I call Gaddafi a Colonel in front of Libyans, ‘normal’ Libyans, would they flinch?
Does Gaddafi still have an official title of Colonel?
Diana: However you call Qaddafi, either as Colonel or not, I can only answer for myself. I’m not bothered how people call him! You can see in most of my comments that I just call him Qaddafi without “Colonel” or any other title. I don’t think that the title Colonel is official. Qaddafi certainly holds no official position in the Libyan Government.
You said, and it can be read here,
…….There are about six and a half million Libyans. Say a million
of them don’t want Qaddafi. That leaves five and half million who are
with the Libyan government – so how can western governments demand we
have to change?? Would your country like that – or accept it?
The US and NATO are demanding that Qaddafi has to leave – but that is
NOT their decision to make.
It’s a decision for Libyans.’
For some days I was puzzled about the character of Moammer Gaddafi’s
position in Libyan society. I trust people’s words before I find them
lying, so I take what he says about himself as a matter of fact. He
said “The question of considering a successor doesn’t exist. I am not
a king or president…” His son Saif al-Islam even said he is less important than the prime minister al-Banghdadi. However, so many people (including the ‘defected’ ex-foreign minister Musa Kusa) insist that his departure would lead to a disaster, a “Somalia Part Two.”
I had to ask myself, how can these two claims be mutually consistent?
[He’s an old man, finally. If his departure would be so disastrous, what when he will physically depart from this world, maybe from natural causes?]
I think I got it, intuitively: it’s the processes, the delicate and manifold network of relationships spun in the course of over 40 years, that created Gaddafi’s position. It’s they that supremely matter, more than the physical Gaddafi.
It would be nice, to say the least, if somebody spelled this out to the world in an authoritative way.
The columnist John C. Dvorak once said in an interview, “Americans are very gullible, so you should invent some “traditions” and sell them as tourist attractions.”
Can we find a way this Libyan process to be somehow advertised and sold?
Your intuition is correct: it’s not the man but the whole package that he has done in all those decades! How to sell it – I do not know. I am no reporter, just a simple Libyan person & citizen that care for her country. I am not paid by the government or any other agency, I have done only what I have done through facebook & twitter!
If you have any suggestions, I am all ears!!
Any way would have to involve many people talking among each other.
So, the first step is to share the idea. What will result from that is uncertain.
Democracy and dictatorship
Comparisons of Libya and Greece… and USA
You confirmed Gaddafi is a dictator as most people say. But, on what grounds is he that. How can one call ‘dictator’ a person who said to the national congress that the oil revenues should go directly to the citizens, *and then the congress voted against his proposal*?
“The Administration has failed and the state’s economy has failed. Enough is enough. The solution is for the Libyan people to directly receive oil revenues and decide what to do with them,” …… “Do not be afraid to directly redistribute the oil money and create fairer governance structures that respond to people’s interests,”
– Mr. Moammar al-Gaddafi, 2009
These sound like words of a 24-karat revolutionary.
But, what is normally meant by the term “dictator”?
“A dictator is a ruler who assumes sole and absolute power (sometimes but not always with military control) but without hereditary ascension such as an absolute monarch…. In modern usage, the term “dictator” is generally used to describe a leader who holds and/or abuses an extraordinary amount of personal power, *especially the power to make laws without effective restraint by a legislative assembly*”………
As soon as FDR was elected, progressive-minded newspaper editorial boards, politicians, and pundits exhorted him to become a “dictator.” The revered reporter and political commentator Walter Lippmann, for instance, told Roosevelt in a private meeting: “The [economic] situation is critical, Franklin. You may have no alternative but to assume dictatorial powers.” Similarly, Eleanor Roosevelt mused that America might need the leadership of a “benevolent dictator.”In FDR’s day, the term “dictator” did not carry the negative connotations with which it is currently freighted.
FDR chose to attack the depression with programs that gave the President and his Brain Trust near-dictatorial status. “I want to assure you,” Roosevelt’s aide Harry Hopkins told an audience of New Deal activists in New York, “that we are not afraid of exploring anything within the law, and we have a lawyer who will declare anything you want to do legal.”
( My thanks for this insight go to Jonathan “Gaddafi is a lunatic” Alter)
On a related point: A certain Gerald A. Perreira, who has lived in Libya for many years, said that Gaddafi shaped his role on the model of the prophet Muhammad. Namely, they have both taken the role of a wise man who gives counsel to the collective governing body.
Does that sound like a valid statement?
But, for the point before [about Gaddafi’s proposal before the congress], it’s true and it is the reason why some of his close people betrayed him. They didn’t like what he was proposing, so they had to do something & thus the revolt from his most trusted people, who were in the role of his right hand! I have in mind Jalil & Younis & the guy who is exiled in France (and, of course, works with the French intelligence service)!
[she means Nouri Masmari ]
You found out what a dictator means. Now look up democracy & freedom. Let’s see if the meaning overlaps with the reality!
Are democratic theory and reality the same in Libya? No, they aren’t. But that there is lack of democracy doesn’t mean that one person has virtually absolute power. I think there is no dichotomy between democracy and dictatorship.
Yes I looked democracy up some time ago – and look what I found:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outline_of_democracy – a long list of different notions and kinds of democracies. Presumably each imperfect.
(As for freedom, things are more specific; it’s an ideal, and a more rather subjective notion. )
I will explain it to you. In Athens we have about a hundred parties but only two get elected: the Socialists (PASOK) & the so called Liberals (NEA DIMOKRATIA), which both have nothing to do with their names or declared beliefs. They are both far-right… to the point of fascism! The voting turnout is 40% maximum. So, when either one takes power, they vote laws like the Terrorism law that practically means they can barge into your house anytime without permission; in your house they are allowed to listen to your conversations, whether its static phone calls or mobile calls, etc.
Now, if you are against the government and protest, you get a file by the police as a criminal.
I can go on and on and on, which reminds me very much of dictatorship in its worst aspect: the only thing that you are given a choice is which mindless party you will follow!
And even freedom of speech has been curbed, the media are censored, e.g. they show on tv news only what they want you to see. That is, you have no choice they if there is a strike the government forces also the journalists to be on strike – see where I am going with it!! If you don’t believe me you just have to waltz to here in Athens and see it for yourself! On yesterday’s strike one person was killed by the police. He was killed through beating to death. Another one is in a comma!
So, tell me the difference! Same thing its happening all over Europe. So, please spare me with Democracy! It has no foundation anymore, the only thing left ruling are corporations,… so there is no Democracy, no anything, and especially no freedom of speech! Forget freedom, it does not exist anymore! Died years ago!
The difference between all of them and Qaddafi is this: He was trying to give everything _back_ to his people, which was not agreeable for the corporations… and his trusted friends and colleagues who wanted to have power!
Money transfers & blame transfers
There was a lot of talk about Gaddafi’s bank accounts and assets.
This news went around the world: “Switzerland on Thursday announced it was freezing any assets in its banks belonging to Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi,” [source]
That and similar claims were accepted by the worldwise and relatively anti-establishment people like Jeffrey Sachs: “The deposed authoritarian rulers -Ben Ali, Mubarak, and soon Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi – stashed away billions of dollars stolen from the public treasury.” [source]
This Russian source seems to back the claim: “At the same time the leader has his own, reasonable opposition. It condemns the Gaddafi for his fabulous cash accumulation in European banks”
And all of it is countered in one Belgian’s article:
“Gaddaffi didn’t take any personal money whatsoever, he has no personal bank accounts and neither has Saif. All the money is Libyan Sovereign money ……… All real estate either Gaddaffi father or Saif live in is Libyan Sovereign property. Every foreign property belongs to the Libyan State and not to the Gaddaffi family.”
So I want to ask you what do you think about this, and maybe you can say what some other Libyans think.
The links you’ve got seem to cover everything, so what is it you want from me.
FACT: Qaddafi & family have no bank accounts whatsoever. They are freezing the Libyan government assets! Do you think that Qaddafi is that stupid?
Me? I don’t think so!
Switzerland has no way in knowing who’s who account it is. Speaking from experience, opening an account was with a code and with no names involved, nor with other personal data involving passport etc. (Now in case you lost your code – tough luck, you would lose your money!!!)
Switzerland had it for Qaddafi because of his son’s stupidity. I think you remember the incident.
Jeffrey Sachs has no idea about Qaddafi. Granted that Ben Ali & Mubarak had stashed a lot of money away, but this does not include Qaddafi.
The Libyans that I know believe the same as me – that Qaddafi is a shrewd man, he personally has not taken any money for him personally, or stolen anything from the country.
On the other hand, the Libyan Ambassador of UN has stolen billions from the state! The same is the case with Jabril, Jalil and Gogha. Their cases are documented… try to find for yourself! I’m not going to help you on that! Most Libyans know that!
The phantomic oppressiveness in Libyan everyday life
But, it is a too general term for a diverse group of people?
Are Berbers organised in tribes, or clans, as is the case with the
Arab Libyans? [ Some researchers claim otherwise. ]
Do you have a chief of a Berber clan? A council of elders?
Do Berbers have representatives in the Libyan version of parliament –
the General People’s Congress?
Are they fairly represented in it? What does your father think?
( I’m not saying “well represented” as it is relative…but – fairly,
or justly. )
How are the Berber representatives in the Congress determined? Are
they voted for in lower councils, or chosen by acclamation, or
appointed by somebody?
The topic of tribes for me is a headache.
I think I saw a link of yours about the tribes [this one]. I think it sums it up!
Has your father ever been politically active?
No, my dad never run for politics, although he is a brilliant businessman. He does not have the stomach for politics. He’s like me – we have not been trained to be diplomatic!!!
A Russian, who recently stayed in Libya for nine months, recounts*:
“The older generation remembers the reckless, in their view, actions
of al-Gaddafi he has taken in 1970-80s, when he…. held public
executions of Libyan dissidents from among the local intelligentsia.”
Is it Gaddafi himself who ordered public executions of these people?
In what way were they dissidents?
Can I learn about these martyrs somewhere?
(* the English version is down below on the link)
As far as I know there is very little information about that time. Who gave the order? I do not know. What I do know is that Qaddafi was personally involved with political prisoners, meaning that either he listened to the interrogation, or interrogated them. But I was not there so I can’t verify this.
Hangings of some people who did not agree with his regime: it was in the 1980s at the Green Square & in universities. What I know is this: these people who wanted to overthrow the regime entered the country illegally. I do not agree with this reaction & I can not excuse it but it happened!
You will have to realize that, when Qaddafi took over like a storm in 1969, there was a mass of changes, proceeding all simultaneously. And the main thing was the alcohol prohibition, which is something that most Libyans did not like. Then, we had a lot of people from PLO, and Egyptians, invading Libya. There was too much unrest and confusion.
I am not trying to excuse something as horrible as what was done to these people, but you have to look what was going behind the scenes as well.
Qaddafi initially served the US interests. Some time in the 70’s some Libyans burnt the CIA building in Tripoli, and Qaddafi’s response was to tell the US “The Libyan people apologize for the damages & we will refund you.” But, to the surprise of everyone, he suddenly changed his course with the 1979 nationalization. …That change wasn’t without a cost!
<paragraph edited on 1 June 2011>
Hope I answered your question to the best of my ability.
Thank you… I just opened this mail, it contains unique remarks, such as I have seen nowhere else. I have read about attempts at assassination of Gaddafi organised from Egypt and maybe other countries, and the basic social reforms.
All else you said is new to me.
…I started going to school in… 1980.
… Oh yes. I know what to ask.
I guess that most Libyans recall well the hard times under international sanctions, which is why the talks of “massacres” under the watch of the world were always a nonsense. Is that my guess (more or less) correct?
(If yes, why? You Libyans don’t seem to lack fighting spirit or numbers.)
( I have served in the army for the obligatory period of 45 days. Anyone else who wanted to pursue a career in the army stayed. )
Have a nice time.
What does Gaddafi think about sport?
Although in Libya we have a lot of sports, by the way
N.B. Afterwards I recalled that Gaddafi wrote his opinions of sport in his Green Book. But you see, this Libyan seems oblivious of it.
His left pocket does not know what the right pocket is doing
Your people were witnesses of so much change in your country since the independence in 1951, and especially since the revolution starting in 1969 : From hunger… to not knowing what to do with the money.
It was so fast. It may have been a culture shock.
Wasn’t there much anomie? Anomie is, let me quote: a term meaning “personal feeling of a lack of social norms; normlessness”.
It describes the breakdown of social norms and values.
And it regularly accompanies rapidly developing countries.
This all makes me want to learn Arabic, of the Libyan variant.
So tell me, why did the tribal conference from seven days ago call for peaceful marches to disarm the rebels – and then nothing happens? Is that something like a matter of principle to say such a thing? Or is that because they are sort of dumb bureaucrats? Or something else?
By God willing my father will arrive on Tuesday, so I will rack his brains for you.
You confederation of mafias.
It was a shot in the dark.
A cheap one at that!
How are the members for the General People’s Congress determined? By acclamation? By secret ballots? Appointed by the tribal chiefs? A combination of procedures that vary from tribe to tribe?
that my father knows, I have no knowledge
I’m very grateful for our conversation, Diana, now I want to leave the PC,
The morning next day ( 15 MAY )
I owe you an explanation for “You coalition of mafias.” It’s true that I was joking& tired, but it is also true that I insinuated the following – you are tribally organised just as Sicily and Corsica, blood vendettas aren’t unknown in Libya, and there is a lack of transparency, that makes it impossible to see whether something is honest or dishonest.
PERHAPS I WAS WRONG!
But I based my opinion on claims, like this one: “The discussions are between people who trust each other and they trusted us for organizing the projects correctly. If the counterpart is a crook and has bribed the tribal chiefs the Libyan government is taken to the cleaners.” (from the Belgian’s story )
Our tribes are not like the mafia, no, – by all accounts. In our tribes we have unwritten laws, but we do not have vendettas, that’s a waste of time!
We are obliged to listen to our chief of tribe.
If you do not do as he says you are ousted.
And that’s all!
(But it is a very good film.)
Are there other Libyan films?
“As battles continue to rage in Libya, Booker Prize–nominated Libyan novelist Hisham Matar describes …… the year Moammar Ghadafi put an entire generation of Libyan writers in prison, where he left them for a decade.” (National Public Radio)
Hisham Matar is saying –
“In one year [Gadhafi] imprisoned a huge number of writers, …… The revolutionary committee set up a sort of big literary festival, if you like, and then they just captured all the writers, they tortured them, and they put them in prison and that generation of writers spent minimum 10 years in prison.”
This is, literally, worse than Hitler and Stalin put together.
Do you know what he is talking about?
No, but if he was trying to become an author in Libya by trying to discriminate Qaddafi – well, that’s his problem. I know my Mom is a writer & has Libyan citizenship. She has written many times from 1969 till October 2010 when her book was published in Arabic from Greek about the Civil war in Greece, and her autobiography. She was never put in jail although she commented on Qaddafi’s something or the other. So, no I don’t know him. I know another author who lives in Switzerland but he writes novel. [Ibrahim Al-Koni]
That’s the most difficult question I have had.
I hope so.
<an end of conversation>
Since 15 May, I found these useful information –
“In 1969, a military coup brought Muammar al-Gaddafi to power. In the mid-1970s, the new government set up a single publishing house, and authors were required to write in support of the authorities. Those who refused were imprisoned, emigrated, or ceased writing. Authors like Kamel Maghur and Ahmed Fagih who had dominated the cultural landscape of the 1950s and 1960s continued to be the source of most literary production. Censorship laws were loosened, but not abolished, in the early 1990s, resulting in a literary renewal.”
In this special Libyan case they are demonizing a benevolent Bedouin leader of a country of tribes to be able to replace him with the criminal help of the three Western stooges and their female harpies.
And, why not? No one explained the rationale for those public executions in the 70s and 80s. Who were the executed, in the first place? Were they all foreign plotters?
And no one [publicly] addressed the claims here.
You might say there is a lot of propaganda. But in the eighties [around 1986], when my father worked briefly as an engineer in Misurata, he was told that the workers’ barracks were previously occupied by soldiers who were all shot dead just a few weeks before his arrival.
When I heard that, as a boy, I wasn’t stupid: I thought that some circumstances could justify that.
But, what were those circumstances? – I asked myself then, and I’m asking you now.
The executions of Libyans in the late 1976/1977.
The Yom Kippur war of 1973 is well known as an Egyptian/Israeli war, it is much less known as an Egyptian/Libyan/Israeli war.
The Libyan Air Force was very active in that war, their Mirages were superior to the Egyptian Migs.
When Sadat stopped the war Gaddafi asked him why Libya was even invited to participate in it and to risk Libyan lives if it was to stop half way.
Then a several years long rift started between Libya and Egypt.
Egypt succeeded in seducing the Eastern tribes to start creating a subversive movement against Gaddafi, in effect risking to split up Libya already in those days, and leaving Egypt to collect the spoils.
Colonel Jalloun,one of the chiefs of the Warfalla tribe was committed to house arrest when he started the problem again in 1992, although he is a fervent Gaddafi fan today, having realized the dangers he started in those days.
The executions were executions for treason and they were really forced on Gaddafi to safeguard the unity of his country, exactly the same outside problem we see today.
I talked to the chief of staff of the Libyan Air Force in those days, who participated in the heated discussions and Gaddafi felt really betrayed by Sadat in those days.
Meanwhile we know that Egypt is a very nasty neighbor of Libya with its own hidden motives.
By the way, all I have found about the thousands of public executions were 8 high ranking military officers with the rank of Colonel and General.
I didn’t find any mass executions.
If they existed I would like to know.
Something caught my eyes in the second of those two links:
Despite the crushing of the coup attempt, the Warfalla remain strong, numerous and represented in the armed forces as well as the civil service. Only 12 key figures from this tribe were arrested and eight of them were executed.
That appears remarkably merciful. The information comes from what kind of source? The article isn’t signed. It is copyright of Gale, Cengage Learning… a winner of many “awards,” one of them called “Navigating Through Uncertainty.”
Our conversation with Diana continued on the subject of
Ordinary Libyan lives
You mentioned that youtube was blocked in Libya. Why? Has it been unblocked since then? How much has internet been available in Libya in the past few years?
All Libyans had access to internet – there were internet cafes.. Anyway, for the ones who were interested to have computers and internet, it was available.
Youtube was blocked for over a year, I believe it still is, though I am not sure. But bear in mind that now Tripoli, barring governmental buildings and embassies, does not have internet!
I have no idea why it was blocked. I only found out that recently, in October 2010, when I was sending some youtube links to my dad. Also, when I was there also we could not get it. I never bothered to ask!
There is a memoir turned play turned radio drama called Murder in Samarkand. Do you know about it?
It tells a horror story of the UK ambassador in Uzbekistan, who in 2004 finds the country in a grip of an openly brutal regime, supported by the West.
If you have read or seen or listened to it here, you might wish to tell us whether – or how much – it resembles Libya.
I don’t think there is any resemblance with Libya! Nothing whatsoever, to my knowledge.
Not every British ambassador is as naive & romantic as this man!
What are your best memories from Libya, or the memories you wish to talk about? Especially those of experiences in a social setting.
Tripoli – that’s the place I can talk about because that’s where I live. From 1989 onwards life was getting better day by day! There was more freedom of movement even with the sanctions! After 1996 everything started getting even better, especially for women. Generally, people were getting rich. The only people who were not getting rich were, in my opinion, the lazy ones! And believe me, there were a lot of them who were happy in doing sweet nothing! (if the whre no directors from the beginning they wouldn’t go to work!)
Women would go out in café bars and smoke there… something that traditional customs did not allow! Go swimming with their boyfriends, also that was not allowed by our customs, and a lot of other things that we in Europe have for granted…
Libya was fun for a long time!
A question that’s not likely to find an answer;
a likely ending
Some years ago, Francis Fukuyama, the notorious and often misunderstood Fukuyama, wrote a book about networks of trust, presenting them as an essential component in economic development.
The (positively) famous sociologist Robert D. Putnam devotes virtually his whole career studying the role of communities in modern societies.
A certain David Cameron pledged to build Britain into a “Big Society” based on communities – which were, incidentally, destroyed by his icon Margaret Thatcher.
One of the best, and certainly the most revolutionary manager on the planet, Ricardo Semler, wrote: “One of the biggest misconceptions about modern man is that he is somehow different from his ancestors. Man has always lived in tribes and I daresay always will. …. Different tribes will never fully integrate, which is why it is folly to try to create a ‘we’re all one big family’ atmosphere.”
He emphasises the importance of their coexistence rather than “harmony” and “integration.”
“The issue of tribal coexistence is, I believe, critical for survival in modern times.” (Semler, Maverick! (Arrow Books, 1994) 278)
Fifteen years ago, Peter F. Drucker said that the executive of the future will be a tribal elder – “This company’s CEO is a well-known amateur science historian, and I told him, “You’d better stop studying the history of science and start studying the history of tribes, because that’s what you’re going to be. You’re going to be the elder chieftain of the Cherokees.” And they have no authority other than that arising from wisdom and competence and accomplishment. “
Why is, then, Libya, perhaps the only place where all these words are transformed into reality, where the future is actually being built – why is it now abandoned by the global intellectual elites? Why they wash their hands of Libya?
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