Muammar Gaddafi is one of those characters that we in the west aren’t quite sure what to think of. He has the charisma of a rock star with his interesting fabric choices for clothing and his all-girl posse of hand-picked body guards which look better suited to the catwalks of Paris than to to the dirty world of commando feats and fatigues. And we must not forget the bevy of Ukrainian nurses that MUST travel everywhere with him. He has designed the world’s fastest car and has even found the time to find a solution to life, the universe and everything. I can hear a few males squirming with envy at this point! He came up with his philosophical conclusions after an extended period of reflection in his beloved Sahara, the place where he was born and grew up. I was first introduced to Colonel Gaddafi’s “Green Book” on a visit to Libya a couple of years ago with UK based adventure travel company,Wild Frontiers. Along with a Gaddafi-faced watch, it’s the best souvenir to come home with. Everything in Libya is green..the flag, the buildings and it is therefore no surprise that the big man’s solution to everything comes bound in a green cover with a very logical title. All citizens are required to read it and each city contains a Green Library (yes…that’s their official name) which houses Green Books where the people can go at their leisure and be educated on the ways of the Green Utopia. His finished work is both insightful and entertaining……and worrying. He actually has some good points, but just when you think this guy should be ruling the world, he throws you a curve ball to make you reconsider.
So, to begin with, The Colonel comes up with an answer to, “…the problem of Democracy”. All of us love to have a whinge about our government, and it would seem Muammar is no exception. In relation to the style of government favoured in the west, he informs that it is actually, “…a dictatorship garbed in the guise of democracy” and that, “…the so-called representative assemblies which monopolise democracy and sovereignty….usurp the will of the masses.” Well, let’s face it. He does have a point. So far I’m with him. He doesn’t leave us hanging either. He offers a solution. “People’s Conferences and People’s Committees”. Our joy at hearing this is quickly snuffed out as he informs us that, “…the virtual impossibility of gathering all the people together at once in order to discuss, consider and decide their politics…(means it) has therefore remained an utopian idea far removed from reality.” No kidding. He does go on to supply a diagram and a very lengthy description of how to implement such a utopia, via his grand, “Third Universal Theory”, but who can follow it? I’ll let The Colonel explain, “Firstly, the people are divided into Basic People’s Conferences. Each of these selects its own secretariat. The secretariats of all the People’s Conferences together form Conferences other than the Basic People’s Conferences. The masses of the Basic People’s Conferences will then select administrative People’s Committees to replace government administration.” I’ll stop there because not only does it just get even more confusing, we all know how efficient “committees” are at making decisions. Good luck, Colonel! He also believes that in this perfect world, “Freedom of expression is the right of every natural person, even if a person chooses to behave irrationally to express his or her insanity.” I guess that’s why, at the time of writing, the great leader has hired African mercenaries to help control his “self-governing” people and since the Egyptian uprising has seen possibly as many as 1000 people killed (according to the Italian Foreign Minisitry). But hey, you’ve got to look at the facts and work with what you’ve got. It’s a good thing Gaddafi covers himself by finishing with, “Theoretically, this is genuine democracy, but in reality, the strong always rule: that is to say those who are the strongest in society hold the reigns of government.” Glad we got that sorted.
In all, The Green Book is divided into three sections. The initial, “The Solution To The Problem Of Democracy” I just covered. The other two are, “The Solution To The Economic Problem” and “The Social Basis Of The Third Universal Theory”. They too have some interesting ponderings. It would seem that Gaddafi was a big fan of Karl Marx and believes everyone should be paid exactly the same. No wage earners, only partners. I guess that’s why he get’s to live in a palace (oh, I mean in a tent inside or next to the big palace….as you do), fly around in private jets and pop to Seville on private trips to watch flamenco performances (according to Wikileaks).
The great leader also shares his opinion on the family, tribe, music and art and, of course, sports, horsemanship and the stage. We would all love to see more people in modern society partake in sport. Too many of us have become couch potatoes and computer addicts. In Gaddafi we find a champion to our cause, “Sport, like power should be for the masses.” Well said! But it’s bad news for the likes of Chelsea FC or Chicago Cubs. “The multitude which crowds the stadium to watch a game, laugh and applaud, is a multitude of fools who are incapable of practicing sports themselves.” Let’s be honest, there is an element of truth to that. The solution? Well, get the masses out there playing instead. The man who ate all the pies instead of John Terry. “These grandstands shall one day be vacated and abolished when the masses march into athletic fields to practice sports in crowds…” Don’t hold your breath, Colonel.
However, my favourite insights of Mr “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” must be that of men and women. “Women, like men, are human beings.” Well thank you so much for your kind gesture, Muammar. I had been wondering for all these years what I was. Now I know! But just in case you were still confused, he goes further, “Women are female and men are male. According to gynaecologists women, unlike men, menstruate each month.” Ok then.
To be fair, Colonel Gaddafi makes some thoughtful and sensical points in his manifesto, but he also makes some very left field ones and I think it’s safe to say that the general consensus is that he is a dangerous megalomaniac. Today he sees himself backed against a wall with his people deciding enough is enough after 40 long years. Well….he did advise the good people of Libya and the world that, “..it is up to the masses to struggle to eliminate the various forms of existing dictatorships…” You may be a little miffed about what your people are doing now, Muammar, but they’re only doing what you told them to. I guess the moral to the story is, be careful what you wish for!