State of Libya

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دولة ليبيا
Flag of Libya
Coat of arms of Libya
Coat of arms
Location of Libya
and largest city
Official languagesArabic
GovernmentProvisional government
• Chairman of the Presidential Council
Mohamed al-Menfi
• Vice Chairman
Musa Al-Koni
• Prime Minister
Abdul Hamid Dbeibeh
• Unity government
2020 October 23rd
• Total
1,759,541 km²
• 2021 estimate
CurrencyLibyan dinar

Libya, officially the State of Libya is a country in North Africa. It was formerly the most prosperous country in Africa until the 2011 NATO invasion. It is a member of the United Nations (since 1955), the Non-Aligned Movement, the Arab League, OIC and OPEC. The country's official religion is Islam, with 96.6% of the Libyan population being Sunni Muslims.

History[edit | edit source]

Colonial rule and monarchy[edit | edit source]

The period of Italian colonization in Libya occurred from 1911 to 1943, although many settlers remained in Libya until the 1970s. The colonizer's goal was to settle between 500,000 and 1 million Italians, especially the landless peasants from southern and central Italy. They were intended to be settled mainly in eastern Libya, in the fertile Green Mountain area.[1]

Local resistance to this settler colonialism started almost immediately, occurring throughout the First World War, and intensified mostly in the eastern part of Libya led by the Senusiyya movement with Omar al-Mukhtar as a leading figure in the resistance. In response, the Italians began forcibly transferring population from the east in order to deprive the resistance of material support. Estimates vary, but nearly 110,000 Libyans were deported to 16 concentration camps, resulting in tens of thousands of deaths.[1][2]

By the beginning of the Second World War, some 150,000 Italians had settled in Libya and constituted roughly one-fifth of the country's total population.[3]

During the Second World War, Libya was an area of warfare in the North African Campaign. Libya became independent as a kingdom in 1951.

Jamahiriya[edit | edit source]

Muammar Gaddafi overthrew King Idris in 1969 in a bloodless revolution[4] and led the country until his murder in 2011 by US-backed forces.

Civil war[edit | edit source]

Following Gaddafi's death, two authorities initially claimed to govern Libya: the House of Representatives in Tobruk and the 2014 General National Congress (GNC) in Tripoli which considered itself the continuation of the General National Congress, elected in 2012.[5][6] After UN-led peace talks between the Tobruk and Tripoli governments, a unified interim UN-backed Government of National Accord was established in 2015[7] and the GNC disbanded to support it.[8] A second civil war began in 2014, with parts of Libya split between the Tobruk and Tripoli-based governments as well as various tribal and Islamist militias.[9] However, the two main warring sides signed a permanent ceasefire on 23 October 2020.[10]

Conditions of Libya under Gaddafi[edit | edit source]

See main article: Libyan Arab Jamahiriya (1977–2011)

Gaddafi sought to transform Libya into a new socialist state called a Jamahiriya ("state of the masses") in 1977 by using the government to reign in the cost of living for the Libyan working class.

Libya was heralded by foreign press as "the Switzerland of Africa"[11] and was a popular destination for migrant workers seeking a strong economy to participate in.[12]

The following is a list of basic facts about Libya under Gaddafi.[13]

  • No electricity bills in Libya; free electricity for all its citizens.
  • There was no interest on loans, banks in Libya were state-owned and loans given to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.
  • If a Libyan was unable to find employment after graduation, the state would  pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until employment is found.
  • Should Libyans want to take up a farming career, they receive farm land, a house, equipment, seed and livestock to kick start their farms – this was all for free.
  • 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.
  • A home was considered a human right in Libya. (In Qaddafi’s Green Book it states: “The house is a basic need of both the individual and the family, therefore it should not be owned by others.”)
  • All newlyweds in Libya would receive 60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government to buy their first apartment so to help start a family.
  • A portion of Libyan oil sales is or was credited directly to the bank accounts of all Libyan citizens.
  • A mother who gives birth to a child would receive US $5,000.
  • When a Libyan buys a car, the government would subsidize 50% of the price.
  • Fuel subsidies: The price of petrol in Libya was $0.14 per liter.
  • Food subsidies: For $ 0.15, a Libyan local could  purchase 40 loaves of bread.
  • Education and medical treatments were all free in Libya. Libya had one of the finest health care systems in the Arab and African world. All people had access to doctors, hospitals, clinics and medicines, completely free of charge.
  • If Libyans could not find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government would fund them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US $2,300/month accommodation and car allowance.
  • 25% of Libyans have a university degree.
  • Literacy rate increased from 25% to 87%
  • Libya had no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – though much of this is now frozen globally.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Ali Abdullatif Ahmida, Jacob Mundy "Genocide, Historical Amnesia and Italian Settler Colonialism in Libya—An Interview with Ali Abdullatif Ahmida." Middle East Report 302 (Spring 2022). Archived 2023-06-04.
  2. Moughrabi, Fouad. "Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History." Arab Studies Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 4, fall 2021, pp. 371+. Gale Literature Resource Center.
  3. "Libya - History - Italian colonization." Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived 2023-06-04.
  4. "1969: Bloodless coup in Libya" (1969-09-01). BBC. Archived from the original on 20 July 2011. Retrieved 2018-10-25.
  5. Feras Bosalum, Ulf Laessing (2014-08-25). "Rival second Libyan assembly chooses own PM as chaos spreads" Reuters. Archived from the original on 2014-08-26.
  6. Chris Stephen (2014-09-09). "Libyan parliament takes refuge in Greek car ferry" The Guardian. Archived from the original on 4 April 2016.
  7. Kingsley, Patrick (2015-12-17). "Libyan politicians sign UN peace deal to unify rival governments" The Guardian. Archived from the original on 2015-12-17.
  8. Ahmed Elumami (5 April 2016-04-05). "Libya's self-declared National Salvation government stepping down" Reuters. Archived from the original on 2016-04-08.
  9. Ayman Al-Warfalli (2015-08-06). "Libyan government offensive in Benghazi stalls as Islamists dig in" Reuters. Archived from the original on 2015-08-09.
  10. "Libyan Civil War: Two warring factions sign 'permanent' ceasefire" (2020-10-24). The Daily Star. Archived from the original on 2021-04-15.
  11. "‘Before NATO intrusion, Libya was African Switzerland’" (2011-08-25). RT. Archived from the original on 2011-08-31.
  12. Katie Kuschminder (2020-08-06). "Once a Destination for Migrants, Post-Gaddafi Libya Has Gone from Transit Route to Containment" Migration Policy Institute. Archived from the original on 2023-10-05.
  13. "Gaddaffi’s Last Formal Speech To the People of Libya" (2014-08-10). News Rescue. Archived from the original on 2023-06-22.