By Prof. Henry Francis B. Espiritu
The late Col. Muammar Gaddafi, hailed as the “Great Leader” by the Libyan people during his incumbency, was murdered by Chad, Somali and Sudanese mercenaries in collusion with NATO and US invading forces on October 19, 2011.
Gaddafi’s Libya, two years before he was ousted and assassinated was considered as one of Africa’s most affluent countries.
Prof. Garikai Chengu a scholar of Middle East affairs at Harvard University wrote:
“In 1967, Colonel Gaddafi inherited one of the poorest nations in Africa; however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into Africa’s wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and life expectancy on the African continent. Less people lived below the poverty line than in the Netherlands…”
(See: Global Research, www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state).
But look at what happened to Libya after the US/NATO interventionism! It is now in complete political anarchy, with a destroyed economy and a war torn society.
Presently, we cannot call Libya a State for after US/NATO armed intervention and regime change, practically all Libyan villages, from North to South, are now run by the various tribes that was once united under Gaddafi. Libya is in the state of civil war showing the inevitability of what Hobbes called “the ugly, brutish, nasty and chaotic state of nature” characterizing political anarchy. In this post-Gaddafi Libya, the anarchic and lawless militias are wrecking havoc in different parts of the country—each fighting each other for supremacy. The so-called “Islamist” Jemaa-Islamiyya and ISIS forces are busy carving out their own respective territories in the once secular and progressive socialist Libya.
Libya is now a stateless anarchy since various tribes and militias are declaring their own sort-of states in various parts of the country. NATO interventionism and US Hegemony has totally wrecked Libya and Libya as one of the recent casualty of the so-called “Arab Spring” turned out as hell-hole of internecine, civil, regional and tribal wars instead of establishing “democracy” in Libyan soil.
The USA has been scheming for over four decades to topple Gaddafi because he never allowed US and the First World countries allied by US to dictate on the Libyan oil policy program. Gaddafi, by not subscribing to international lending institutions’ capitalistic financing and onerous loan programs, did not allow the IMF-WB to wreck havoc in the economy of the country.
Likewise, socialist Libya under the leadership of Gaddafi was a great supporter of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) which detested foreign interventionism of superpowers in the affairs of the Third World countries. He was one of the founding members of Organization of African Unity (OAU) and a zealous supporter of Nelson Mandela’s ANC, the anti-apartheid, anti-racism socialist rebels in South Africa, while US and UK had been long supporters of Johannesburg apartheid regime—up until the time in the late 70’s and early 80’s when US/UK realized that the South African apartheid regime was already tottering apart, hence they belatedly withdraw support to the apartheid government.
Gaddafi’s Green Socialism strengthened economy by socialized land distribution, free housing, free hospitalization, free education and profit-sharing of the nationalized oil industry and other state managed corporations to all Libyan citizens including the desert Bedouins (See, Prof. Jaime Ramirez, “Qathafi: Assessment of Libyan Green Socialism”, pp. 18-29).
As of this juncture, it is beneficial to quote Prof. Garikai Chengu:
“Under Gaddafi’s rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free health-care and free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now thanks to NATO’s intervention, the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse as thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of higher education across the East of the country are shut down, and blackouts are a common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.” (See: Global Research, www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state).
In many of his speeches, Gaddafi declared himself both as an “Islamic socialist” and an “Islamic feminist”—whatever and however those terms mean to him from the point of view of strict political theoretic. But one thing is very clear, from the point of political praxis, he endeavored to apply what he understood of socialism and most importantly of feminism, by way of State policies, in his public gestures, examples in his private life, and in his governmental projects.
Again, let us hear it from the scholar of Middle East Affairs, Prof. Garikai Chengu:
“Even the United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for his promotion of women’s rights. When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to university. Today, more than half of Libya’s university students are women. One of the first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law (See: Global Research, www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state).
In Libya, during Gaddafi’s rule, there was gender equality; and in fact, women are even preferred to men when it comes to access of education to state universities and priority access of work opportunities in Libyan government corporations and institutions. In 2007, women students in the University of Tripoli, University of Sirte and University of Cyrene bypassed the population of men students. In Libya, a woman can divorce her husband, demand for equal work-equal pay or economic parity scheme with that of men, and husbands are given paternity leaves so that they can help their wives (who are likewise given maternity leaves) in taking care of their infant during the first three months after birth (Cf., Samuel Gurung, “Libyan Socialist Feminism under Colonel Gaddafi: Cases and Good Practices for Emulation to the Present Nepalese Government”, pp. 12-23).
It is no wonder that when NATO and US bombed Libya and the mercenaries financed by America eventually ousted Khadafy and even mercilessly murdered him and his family, the sector that has suffered terribly from this interventionism was Libya’s womenry! As of the present, the anarchic and chaotic mini-tribal regimes ruling in every province in Libya are bent on subordinating women and denying them their rights. These anarchic tribes as well as the so-called extremist and resurgent “Islamist” militias allied with JI and ISIS/ISIL see women empowerment as an aberration and are therefore bent on denying women their rights and freedoms. By removing Gaddafi, US hegemony has effectively turned back the struggle for gender equality and gender empowerment in Libya back to square one! (See: Global Research, www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state).
What did US hegemony achieve when it wrecked havoc on Libya by ousting Khadafy? Thanks to US interventionism, Libya from a progressive secularist and relatively economically well-off socialist country in North Africa has now become like the proverbial piece of cake to be cruelly subdivided by extremist terrorists, unruly tribes and rogue armed bandits—each militias of these armed sectors are presently wrecking havoc to the entire breadth and length of Libya, continuing their looting, raping, pillage and murder of civilians. And yet America has never lifted a finger to intervene in this barbaric, anarchic and chaotic affair which it has caused upon Libya in the first place!
According to Prof. Garikai Chengu, US interventionism in the Middle East has produced nothing but massive tragic failures in present-day Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Prior to US military involvement and regime changes effected to these countries, they were the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa (See: Global Research, www.globalresearch.ca/libya-from-africas-richest-state-under-gaddafi-to-failed-state). Moreover, these three socialist and Islamic countries had fully subscribed to the recognition of women’s rights and had relatively high standards of living in both Middle East and North African regions.
According to Prof. Michel Chossudovsky, the Arab Spring—of which Libya was one of its tragic casualties—is actually not about initiating democracy in the Middle East, but it is all about petro-business and war-business. It is all about creating a situation where the Trans-Central Asian Afghan and Middle East Pipelines are easily facilitated throughout the whole breadth and length of the Middle East to the Caspian Sea up till Central Asia. Therefore, the US War on Terror—including its interventionism and bloody regime change in Libya—is all about capitalist business and imperialist hegemony at their worst (See, Michel Chossudovsky’s book “America’s War on Terrorism”, specifically chapter 5, ‘War and the Hidden Agenda’ and chapter 6, ‘Trans-Afghan Pipeline’; pp. 65-91).
Therefore, it is neither Libya nor the Middle Eastern countries, but it is the US corporatist military weapon producing mafia cliques that will truly benefit from this Arab Spring and destructive so-called “War on Terror” that US is presently waging against the Middle East and the Third World countries. The so-called “Arab Spring” and the “US War on Terror” are all about US Hegemony, US/NATO Interventionism, Middle East-Central Asian Pipelines and the Military Industrial Complex from the start to finish; and this US interventionism is never about democracy, never about freedom nor for the so-called “just war”. These military pretexts for invasion are all done for the selfish interest of US Hegemony. And at whose expense? It is always at the expense of the lives, limbs and properties of the oppressed and exploited peoples of the Middle East and the Third World!
Professor Henry Francis B. Espiritu is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Asian Studies at the University of the Philippines, Cebu City. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.