Paradise Lost, Libyans Dream For Past – OpEd

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By Kian Mokhtari

It would perhaps be futile to enter an argument about the rights and wrongs of the Gaddafi regime in Libya particularly after the grisly series of events that culminated in his gruesome death at the hands of still to be determined parties. But an item of news released recently was particularly eye-catching about the dealings of the flamboyant former Libyan ruler and French President Nicholas Sarkozy.

The French news website Mediapart has released a 2006 Arabic document signed by Gaddafi’s foreign intelligence chief Mussa Kussa. The document refers to an “agreement in principle to support the campaign for the candidate for the presidential elections, Nicolas Sarkozy, for a sum equivalent to 50 million euros.” Mediapart said the agreement had followed a meeting on October 6, 2006, attended by Gaddafi’s spy chief Abdullah Senussi, the head of Tripoli’s African investment fund Bashir Saleh, close Sarkozy associate Brice Hortefeux and arms dealer Ziad Takieddine.

Sarkozy has reportedly said in response: If he financed it, I wasn’t very grateful. Sarkozy used to be the French interior minister before the presidential election of 2007. Upon winning the election, he invited Gaddafi to France and let him set up his Bedouin tent close to the Elysée Palace in Paris. The French president also reportedly referred to Gaddafi as the “Brother Leader” at the time.

An amazing incident took place in the latter stages of the armed rebellion that ousted Gaddafi, with the so-called rebels in Tripoli. In August, 2011, some independent journalists inside the luxury Rixos Hotel were surrounded by armed men. The Western corporate media claimed at the time that the men were Gaddafi’s troops trying to kill them. And NATO proceeded to bomb an area close by mercilessly under the pretext. But nothing could be further from the truth. The independent reporter Lizzie Phelan and French political activist and journalist Thierry Meyssan have since testified that it was actually the so-called revolutionary forces that had surrounded the building with orders to kill certain foreign persons inside the hotel, and that Gaddafi’s son Seif Al Islam had arrived with a combat brigade and led the journalists to safety.

Phelan and Meyssan’s testimonies about Libya put several issues beyond doubt. One is the immense popularity of Colonel Gaddafi among most if not all Libyans. The other that the criminal intent witnessed through the entire affair was initiated and supported by the West, led by France and Britain. Many eyewitness reports claimed that a group of British and French mercenaries laid siege to the Central Bank of Libya during the fight for Tripoli and trucks laden with the country’s gold reserves then headed to the main port escorted by the men. This certainly answers for the missing gold reserves following the Libyan revolution.

So was President Sarkozy calculating the murder of Colonel Gaddafi as well as the theft of Libyan gold while the Libyan leader had set up his Bedouin tent outside the Elysée palace? If the eyewitness reports prove in due course to have been true, this Kind of criminal behavior belongs to the kind of gutter that the French politicians have created under Sarkozy’s leadership.

President Sarkozy is currently busy losing a presidential election in France and may never see the inside of the Elysée Palace again. And to understand what Libya has lost, here’s a list of the things the Libyans are not likely to ever see again:

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

2. There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya were state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at zero percent interest by law.

3. Having a home was considered a human right in Libya.

4. All newlyweds in Libya use to receive $60,000 dinar (U.S.$50,000) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

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

6. If Libyans wanted to take up farming career, they would have received farming land, a farming house, equipment, seeds and livestock to kick start their farms… all for free.

7. If Libyans could not find the education or medical facilities they needed, the government funded them to go abroad. The trip was not only paid for, but they got a U.S.$2,300/month for accommodation and car allowance.

8. If a Libyan bought a car, the government used to subsidize 50 percent of the price.

9. The price of petrol in Libya was $0.14 per liter.

10. Libya had no external debt and its reserves amounted to $150 billion -which are now frozen globally.

11. If a Libyan was unable to get employment after graduation, the state would pay the average salary of the profession, as if he or she was employed, until employment was found.

12. A portion of every Libyan oil sale was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.

13. A mother who gave birth to a child received U.S. $5,000.

14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya used to cost $0.15.

15. 25 percent of Libyans have a university degree.

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

Kian Mokhtari is a former editor for the Jane’s Information Group in the UK, Nader (Kian) Mokhtari is a foreign policy specialist, columnist and political commentator with 15 years of experience in the field.

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