Gaddafi’s Libya

Former dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi who was killed in 2011 protests.

By Nour Ly

There was an article that went viral about how ‘well’ Gaddafi treated his citizens. Even videos which would be called ‘Conspiracy theories’ went viral. People were aghast at how Libyans are turning away on this great man. Today we have all the answers to those questions by a Libyan herself.

So this is the falshood needs to broken, it goes like this:

1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

– Uh nope, the electricity costs money. Every month actually…? But it is government run, so it is fairly cheap. That being said…it was cut off whenever the government felt like it or couldn’t keep it going. So there was a lot of crappy nights spent with a candle. A LOT.

2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

– This is not true at ALL. There have been interests on loans, which was very high and against Islamic practices, which made a lot of Libyans not benefit from loans. It was about 15-20 %. And its too complicated to get loans as a Libyan has to provide strong guarantees to get granted one.

3. Home considered a human right in Libya Gaddafi vowed that his parents would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has died while him, his wife and his mother are still
living in a tent.

– This is just complete nonsense. This is hardly a great achievement in a country whose population in 1970 was just 1.5 million and whose oil revenue grew at least ten times during Gaddafi’s time. In fact,
it’s perfectly reasonable to argue that this would have happened anyway, Gaddafi or no Gaddafi, given the phenomenal growth of income from oil. This is like how he said he lived in a tent and only made
430Dinars a month and then…well you saw his mansion, and how he has 120 billion dollars in his bank – that he stole from Libya.

4. 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 complete fabrication 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. In fact, a huge number of people
in Libya are unable to marry because they cannot afford to rent, buy or build a home. Honestly if this is true, would I still be standing here?

5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25% of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.

– This is actually true…but its not as good as it sounds. Education is free but its very poor and its his curriculum, so you had to learn about his life and him and his views. Nothing about world history, world economy. The only thing we had that was like everyone else was Math. As far as the medicine, yeah its free but medicine in Libya is one of the poorest in the continent. The doctors are under-qualified and the hospitals are very old, they have equipment from the 80’s that has yet to be modernized even though it has been all around the world.

My grandma has diabetes and constantly flies back and forth between Jordan and Libya because the doctors in Libya are horrible. I have a lot of stories if you want to hear them! Also, the reason the literacy rate is high now, is because he ruled 42 years ago. Uh how many Malaysians were perfectly literate back then? Not many. 42 years is a long time!

6. 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 was true the first four years of his power, the first four years, Gaddafi was awesome. After that he went power insane. Subsidizing farming is not very clear. But it might be true. No encouragement, just through connections to get loans on lands and most people don’t pay back due to lack of transparency and credibility. Agriculture in Libya is going backwards.

7. 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 US $2, 300/mth accommodation and car allowance.

– Utter nonsense. Under Gaddafi many Libyan have had to borrow money from banks, relatives and friends in order to seek medical treatment abroad, typically in Tunisia, Jordan or Egypt. This is in a oil-rich country with a small population of just six million (including at least two million foreign workers).

8. In Libya, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

– Complete nonsense. Libyan cars are not subsidized in Libya. The government once bought cars from abroad on the bank price (0.35 Libyan dinars for dollar) and sold it to Libyans on this price whereas the real price for Libyan dinar in the market is (1.25 Libyan dinars for a dollar).

9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

– Uh we’re the fourth largest oil exporter in Africa? Obviously. He didn’t cause that. That’s on its own.

10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion now frozen globally.

– Yep, that’s true. Our country is rich, except he keeps it all! None of it was spent on the people of Libya nor the infrastructure of the country. Basic services, and state infrastructure are either absent or
of appalling standard. The availability of money is not something which has the same value to wealth or prosperity. The Arabs have a saying about Libya – “A rich nation of poor inhabitants.”

11. 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.

12. 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. Just an outright lie.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5 ,000

– Giving birth to children doesn’t grant you anything in Libya. It never happened. EVER!

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15

– Yeeeeeh, but this is still true! Like him being gone didn’t change that, lol bread for Libyans is like rice for Malaysians.

15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

– More or less true – and 30 per cent of them are unemployed!

16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert

-This was found corrosive, the tubes that led it started rusting and it killed a lot of people, my uncle’s liver failed due to the water from it. Gaddafi could not repair it cause it would cost a lot more so he just kept it and a lot of Libyans got filters.

I’m sorry but this article is naming all the good points but not explaining them enough. I did. But you have to realize that it was SIX MILLION Libyans who were protesting against him, who claim he was evil. Why would they do that if he’s as amazing as this article makes him sound? I’ve read this article before and I corrected the guy that wrote it. He was an African man who was not Libyan at all. He got his facts from a textbook that was sold under the regime’s time. Don’t get me wrong, it just seems that it’s only NON-Libyans that are talking about how great Gaddafi was. I have yet to see a Libyan talk about how amazing he is (unless they’ve worked for him).

The author is studying Economics at International Islamic University, Malaysia. She is from Benghazi, Libya.

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