Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective by Gerald
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From Black Agenda Report, 3/2/11. Gerald A. Perreira has lived in Libya for many years and was an executive member of the World Mathaba. This article, too long to reproduce here, provides something of a pro-Qaddafi viewpoint and in doing so helps provide some badly balance in understanding the conflict. (For an outright pro-Qaddafi perspective, go to http://mathaba.net/.)
Summary: The conflict in Libya is not a revolution, but a counter-revolution. The struggle "is fundamentally a battle between Pan-African forces on the one hand, who are dedicated to the realization of Qaddafi's vision of a united Africa, and reactionary racist Libyan Arab forces who reject Qaddafi's vision of Libya as part of a united Africa." The so-called Black African "mercenaries" are misnamed. "As a result of Libya's support for liberation movements throughout Africa and the world, international battalions were formed" which are part of the Libyan armed forces.
Here are the opening sections of the article:
Libya, Getting it Right: A Revolutionary Pan-African Perspective
by Gerald A. Perreira
"The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Libya is essentially the same as Egypt and Tunisia."
Thousands of Indians, Egyptians, Chinese, Filipinos, Turks, Germans, English, Italians, Malaysians, Koreans and a host of other nationalities are lining up at the borders and the airport to leave Libya. It begs the question: What were they doing in Libya in the first place? Unemployment figures, according to the Western media and Al Jazeera, are at 30%. If this is so, then why all these foreign workers?
For those of us who have lived and worked in Libya, there are many complexities to the current situation that have been completely overlooked by the Western media and 'Westoxicated' analysts, who have nothing other than a Eurocentric perspective to draw on. Let us be clear - there is no possibility of understanding what is happening in Libya within a Eurocentric framework. Westerners are incapable of understanding a system unless the system emanates from or is attached in some way to the West. Libya's system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination.
News coverage by the BBC, CNN and Al Jazeera has been oversimplified and misleading. An array of anti-Qaddafi spokespersons, most living outside Libya, have been paraded in front of us - each one clearly a counter-revolutionary and less credible than the last. Despite the clear and irrefutable evidence from the beginning of these protests that Muammar Qaddafi had considerable support both inside Libya and internationally, not one pro-Qaddafi voice has been allowed to air. The media and their selected commentators have done their best to manufacture an opinion that Libya is essentially the same as Egypt and Tunisia and that Qaddafi is just another tyrant amassing large sums of money in Swiss bank accounts. But no matter how hard they try, they cannot make Qaddafi into a Mubarak or Libya into Egypt.
"Libya's system and the battle now taking place on its soil, stands completely outside of the Western imagination."
The first question is: Is the revolt taking place in Libya fuelled by a concern over economic issues such as poverty and unemployment as the media would have us believe? Let us examine the facts.
Under the revolutionary leadership of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya has attained the highest standard of living in Africa. In 2007, in an article which appeared in the African Executive Magazine, Norah Owaraga noted that Libya, "unlike other oil producing countries such as Nigeria and Saudi Arabia, utilized the revenue from its oil to develop its country. The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa, falling in the category of countries with a GNP per capita of between USD 2,200 and 6,000."
This is all the more remarkable when we consider that in 1951 Libya was officially the poorest country in the world. According to the World Bank, the per capita income was less than $50 a year - even lower than India. Today, all Libyans own their own homes and cars. Two Fleet Street journalists, David Blundy and Andrew Lycett, who are by no means supporters of the Libyan revolution, had this to say:
"The young people are well dressed, well fed and well educated. Libyans now earn more per capita than the British. The disparity in annual incomes... is smaller than in most countries. Libya's wealth has been fairly spread throughout society. Every Libyan gets free, and often excellent, education, medical and health services. New colleges and hospitals are impressive by any international standard. All Libyans have a house or a flat, a car and most have televisions, video recorders and telephones. Compared with most citizens of the Third World countries, and with many in the First World, Libyans have it very good indeed." (Source: Qaddafi and the Libyan Revolution)
Large scale housing construction has taken place right across the country. Every citizen has been given a decent house or apartment to live in rent-free. In Qaddafi's Green Book it states: "The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others." This dictum has now become a reality for the Libyan people.
Large scale agricultural projects have been implemented in an effort to "make the desert bloom" and achieve self-sufficiency in food production. Any Libyan who wants to become a farmer is given free use of land, a house, farm equipment, some livestock and seed.
"The standard of living of the people of Libya is one of the highest in Africa."
Today, Libya can boast one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African World. All people have access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of all charges. The fact is that the Libyan revolution has achieved such a high standard of living for its people that they import labor from other parts of the world to do the jobs that the unemployed Libyans refuse to do. Libya has been called by many observers inside and out, "a nation of shop keepers." It is part of the Libyan Arab psyche to own your own small business and this type of small scale private enterprise flourishes in Libya. We can draw on many examples of Libyans with young sons who expressed the idea that it would be shameful for the family if these same young men were to seek menial work and instead preferred for them to remain at home supported by the extended family.
No system is perfect, and Libya is no exception. They suffered nine years of economic sanctions and this caused huge problems for the Libyan economy. Also, there is nowhere on planet earth that has escaped the monumental crisis of neo-liberal capitalism. It has impacted everywhere - even on post revolutionary societies that have rejected "free market" capitalism. However, what we are saying is that severe economic injustice is not at the heart of this conflict. So then, what is?
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