Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Gadaffi Myths

While there are no excuses for the way Gaddafi was treated in the videos posted publicly, we want to stress that those who have done this were not acting on behalf of the NTC nor the interim government. They were fighters who were swept in a moment of intense fighting, and after 8 long months of defending themselves, having lost friends and family. A full investigation of the circumstances of what happened has been officially launched and we hope its findings will be made public as soon as possible. Those acts don't represent the majority of Libyans and don't represent Islamic or Libyan traditional values.

There are a lot of people defending Muammer Gaddafi and his regime by stating living conditions and infrastructure in Libya was world class, and all the people in the country enjoyed unimaginable wealth. This is not true. The Gaddafi regime was rife with corruption and deception. Who you know was more important than who you were as a person,  with many basic services being only available to the highest bidders.

Below, Nizar Mhani (Niz Ben-Essa) of the Free Generation Movement responds to common misconceptions relating to the Gaddafi regime (the bolded inaccurate statements are being circulated via email forward). Follow FGMovement on Facebook, and FGMovement on Twitter.

There are no electricity bills in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.
Categorically untrue. Despite poor electricity infrastructure and poor coverage of electricity lines, even in the Capital, Libyan home owners pay monthly/quarterly (area dependant) electricity bills based on meter readings. Electricity is cut off in instances of unpaid bills. Reconnection upon payment is not instant. The electric infrastructure is weak and some areas of Libya do not have electricity available at all.

There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
Categorically untrue. Banks all over Libya have been giving out loans for years and years. There is a percentage rate charge on all loans, which is comparable to an interest rate, but in the spirit of ‘islamic ethics’ it is not called interest, it is called an ‘Administrative Expense’ – Masareef Edareeya.

A House is considered a human right in Libya ¬ Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi¹s father has died while he, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.
Gaddafi abused this human right as much as he did other basic rights. It is well known in Libya that political opponents and successful business men/women had their homes confiscated and handed over to regime members, usually rewards for Free Officers – Dubat A7rar. Many farms and homes and businesses were confiscated during three infamous phases of Libyas dictatorial history:
  • 1969 – The dreaded Green Revolution. Free Officers were rewarded land, homes, and farms that sometimes belonged to other people and the original owners were not compensated or asked if this was ok. 
  • Late 70’s - The introduction of the law Albayt le Sakinehee – The Home Belongs to its Dwellers. As this law was passed overnight, thousands of homeowners instantly lost their homes, as tenants (those renting the homes) claimed ownership on account of being the ‘dwellers’. The law applied to homes, farms, shops, etc.
  • 90’s - The introduction of Purification Committees (Lejnat al Tatheer). This committee ran by the widely know slogan, ‘Min ayna laka hada?’ – “From where did you obtain this?”, a form of ultra-socialism where people’s possessions, including homes and businesses, were confiscated if seen to be ‘surplus to requirement’ or contributing to a ‘monopoly’.
Regarding Gaddafis ‘vow’: While Gaddafi waited for ‘everyone in Libya’ to be housed, he himself lived in a sprawling 6km square compound in the centre of the capital which was home to state of the art security and an underground network of rooms and ultramodern bunkers. He also had a vast and well known farm on Airport Road in Tripoli. This, just in the capital.

All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.
This is a well known rumour and a common joke in Libya. Whilst it may have been passed as official legislation, I know of not a single family who has been given this grant. The backbreaking bureaucracy associated with such grants and loans make them more or less impossible to obtain. 

Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.
Education and Health Care – Free does not mean adequate. It is well known that Libya’s standard of health care is nothing short of appalling. It is widely known that the majority of Libyans seeking medical care leave for neighbouring countries for treatment. Our Education system is no better. It is outdated, teachers are underpaid and under-trained and libraries are largely non-existent. The syllabus was constantly being revised and reviewed under direct instruction from the former regime e.g. banning English, changing Quranic verses, etc.
It is commonly said that Libyans would be happy to forfeit their ‘free health care’ and pay for a National Health Service if it was up to the required standard.

Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and Livestock to kick- start their farms all for free.
This has never happened, in addition to this many farms and homes have been confiscated by the government to build railroads, The Great Man Made River and civil roads.
The owners of the land were only compensated if there was a covered structure on the land as the Gaddafi regime legally owned any land and the people were only allowed to build on it. When there was compensation offered it was nowhere near the actual value of the property and many waited years to receive anything if at all. This system was also rife with corruption many residents told they had to pay a bribe to receive what little they were given.

If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it not only free but they get $2, 300/month accommodation and car allowance.
Categorically untrue. If this was the case, the former regime would have been in receipt of 6 million application forms – one for every man, women and child who ‘cannot find education or medical facilities they need’. This grant does not exist for the mainstream public. There is anectdotal evidence of some medical grants being given but again, the system was corrupt and opaque.

In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government pays 50% of the price. ‎The price of petrol in Libya is $0.14 per liter.
There is no truth to the former Gaddafi regime paying 50% of the value of a new car.

Whilst the price of fuel is indeed cheap, the quality of roads, the accuracy and availability of road signs, the presence of road traffic police, and all other transport infrastructure is of abysmal standard.
The absence of an integrated and functional public transport system means that people are reliant on their cars for all movement and might end up paying more on fuel than our neighbours around the Mediterranean basin.

Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion now frozen globally.
Whilst our sovereign wealth is undeniable, none of it was spent on the people of Libya nor the infrastructure of the country. Basic amenities, services, and state infrastructure are either absent or of appalling standard.
The availability of money is not tantamount to wealth or prosperity. The Arabs have a saying about Libya – “A rich nation of poor inhabitants.”

If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
Categorically untrue. Even basic wages are sometimes unpaid for months, for those lucky enough to be employed. Welfare for the unemployed is non-existent.

A portion of Libyan oil sale is credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
No basis to this claim as no such case can be found.

A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5 ,000
Categorically untrue. There is a Child Benefit welfare payment in Libya – it is roughly 15-20 Libyan Dinars a month per child. No Libyan citizen was given foreign currency as compensation.

40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15
Bread was subsidized by the state. Whilst the price varies (marginally) from shop to shop, bread usually costs ¼ dinars for 10 baguettes (small) or roughly 500grams per dinar.

25% of Libyans have a university degree
The absence of a comprehensive selection process and a corrupt entry protocol means that universities in Libya are grossly over populated and over subscribed, despite limited facilities. This results in an over inflated number of graduates, but not necessarily an adequate level of employability. There are thousands of students studying foundation year medicine in Tripoli alone.

Gaddafi carried out the world¹s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available.
The Jury is still out on this. The project has indeed supplied water to many towns and cities around Libya, but the cost is thought to be as stratastrophic as the time it took to complete this. Further, decades of an absence of appropriate licensing, monitoring and control has meant that wells were dug for every home, putting immense pressure on Libya’s natural and naturally replenishable water sources. This resulted in the increase of salinity in local water reserves, which lead to the need for an expansive project such as the Man Made River.

For additional information relating to Gaddafi's Crimes since 1969, please refer to http://goo.gl/m2XUk, a collaborative document orginally compiled by @MsEntropy.


  1. Emma, in fact your blog is to be for me a source of news and facts that demonstrate how the regime of Gaddafi was behaved toward their Libyan citizens! I am not surprised at all, because in Western European media, such matters were revealed!
    So I told you in my previous comment, that would have been more valuable to your country, have captured the tyrant alive! So could have been confronted and tried for all his crimes!
    Your writing is clear and I am so better informed on how to actually running a country, covered with the complicity of some so-called democratic countries, and was proclaimed!
    A good day to you!

  2. Well Mr. Jorge this is just the tip of the ice berg no exaggeration here... we suffered 42 years and no one out of Libya really knew the whole truth due to a strong iron fist as the Ghadaffi called it was clinging to our throats ....
    any how i am glad that my voice reaches you out there...
    thank you :)

  3. Dear Friend- I am from Afghanistan. The killing of Qadaffi and Libyans entire anarchism are much of my concerns about Libya future. We suffer the same problem from decades, Zahir shah the king of Afghanistan was exiled and Sardar Daud was killed 40 years before but due to the complex structure of our different tribes and the strategic intervention of our neighbors destroyed our country and millions has been killed for the sake of others. I also see the same situation in Libya- different tribes; different spy agencies are active and providing support to different parties, still the NTC fighters killing Qadaffi loyalists, No such a mechanism still exist to include all Libyans into the peace process even Qadaffi loyalists NTC can’t kill all Qadaffi Loyalist- they can’t kill the entire nation- I afraid Libya not enter a civil war like Afghanistan and Somalia.

  4. Bob Blenkinsopp27 Oct 2011, 15:02:00

    It is refreshing, if unpleasant, to read this refutal of the rubbish being put around by a few 'cranks' living their cosseted lives in Britain by someone actually 'on the ground' in Libya.

    We do have a vociferous group of people on the Internet here in GB who are so obsessed with the 'evil' they see at every turn but who are unable, because of their obsessive prejudices, to extricate the truth - because they would simply rather believe otherwise...

    Let them get off their cushioned and well protected backsides and actually look back to see just how comfortable their lives have been and how the 'evil' Western regimes have enabled them to vent their warped sense of injustice on the rest of a, hopefully not, gullible readership on Facebook.

    Great good luck to you, Ema!

  5. That gave a very bad picture .being fighter does not mean be a murder.Will these rebel be the future of Libya ?

  6. >Education and Health Care – Free does not mean adequate. It is well known that Libya’s standard of health care is nothing short of appalling.

    >Whilst the price of fuel is indeed cheap, the quality of roads, the accuracy and availability of road signs, the presence of road traffic police, and all other transport infrastructure is of abysmal standard.

    Oh, my... i wish we had such "abysmal" roads i've seen on the libyan photographs, even those running in open desert look very good. Same about the healthcare - just looking at the equipment in your clinics makes me wonder what you do consider by "adequate". This makes me doubt your other statements as well.

    I'm originally from Ukraine but now i spend most of my time in Poland and Lithuania and can't say things are much better here...

  7. well Mr/miss Anonymous ....
    I think what you saw Tripoli only, o doubt that you have even got out of the center of Tripoli, meaning all people from western Europe are always brought by the Gaddafi regime so i think you are NOT in a position to state any facts in Libya, thanks to the lives you lived here.
    If you have visited any other Libyan city out of Tripoli you will be shocked of what you will find, and i think Libyans know more about their lives than you.. so instead of coming here and defending G and his phase in Libya i wish you will REMEMBER THAT LIBYA IS A PETROL COUNTRY this make whatever you admire in Tripoli a poor reflection of what any oil country should be like...... sorry but i totally disagree with your statement... enough said!

  8. Since I got back from Libya, where I lived for 2.5 years and being married to a Libyan citizen, people look at me as if I'm an "oracle" (at least I've been in the place, unlike 99% of the political commentators on TV worldwide) in the Libyan revolution.
    I was asked so many times about these myths that I lost count. How can someone even consider to believe that life in Libya is something like that?
    Keep up the good work, I loved the blog!

  9. Paulo.... all i can say right now is THANK YOU!!
    someone from the outside world clarifying those myths!

  10. ridiculous NATO propaganda this site! i can tell u that this site is absolutely unnecessary, because western mainstream media already report all these lies 24h per day....


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