There are very positive aspects of Libya’s Muammar Gadhafi’s four-decade rule that many Filipinos don’t know.
Per the October 20 Christian Science Monitor article of Jason Pack and Sami Zaptia: “Economically, Libya boasts a stable currency, net foreign assets of over $150 billion, and is well-positioned to return to a perpetual budget surplus with the eventual full resumption of oil production. Libya, under a well-administered technocratic government committed to a market economy, is a foreign investor’s dream. Its strong macroeconomic prospects emanate from its small population, large virgin land area, strategic location, and potential to produce far more than its pre-revolution 1.7 million barrels of oil per day.
Per Wikipedia: “By exporting as much oil per capita as Saudi Arabia and through various welfare programs, Libya achieved the highest living standards in Africa; though not as high as several similarly oil-rich Gulf countries, Libya remained debt-free under his regime.”
Also from Wikipedia: “Libya enjoys large natural resources, which Gadhafi utilized to help develop the country. Under Gadhafi’s Jamahiriya direct democracy regime, the country’s literacy rate rose from 10 percent to 90 percent, life expectancy rose from 57 to 77 years, equal rights were established for women and Black people, employment opportunities were established for migrant workers, and welfare systems were introduced that allowed access to free education, free healthcare, and financial assistance for housing. The Great Manmade River was also built to allow free access to fresh water across large parts of the country. In addition, financial support was provided for university scholarships and employment programs.”
Still from Wikipedia: “The Economy of Libya was centrally planned and followed Gadhafi’s socialist ideals. It benefited greatly from revenues from the petroleum sector, which contributed most export earnings and 30 percent of its GDP. These oil revenues, combined with a small population and by far Africa’s highest Education Index gave Libya the highest nominal GDP per capita in Africa. Between 2000 and 2011, Libya recorded favorable growth rates with an estimated 10.6 percent growth of GDP in 2010, the highest of any state in Africa. Gadhafi had promised “a home for all Libyans” and during his rule, new residential areas rose in empty Saharan regions. Entire populations living in mud-brick caravan towns were moved into modern homes with running water, electricity, and satellite TV.”
Remove from your mind that we’re talking about Libya’s Muammar Ghadafi and the image of the man that the Western media have painted. Focus instead on these achievements that were enumerated. If President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) accomplished all these by 2016, you’d likely clamor to extend his tenure as Chief Executive.
What’s the point of your Chair Wrecker’s in this discussion? Definitely, it’s not to paint a pretty picture of Muammar Ghadafi, whether as a martyr or a hero. Ghadafi did some very bad things that he eventually paid for one way or the other.
Simply put, the point is that we cannot trust everything that the Western media tell us. When the Western media vilify a foreign leader, we should not always accept it as Gospel truth. We must gauge the facts vis-à-vis the patent national interests of the West.
The US and other Western powers had already established a modus vivendi with Ghadafi over a decade ago and he has been fulfilling his part of the bargain. The Arab Spring Phenomenon presented opportunities for the US and its allies. The overriding consideration was Libya’s oil. In a world running low on oil reserves, where the prospects of higher gas prices are almost certain to happen — revising the Libyan political landscape was just too tempting an option not to take.
In the Philippine context, we had two good nationalist presidents — Presidents Elpidio Quirino and Carlos P. Garcia — who were both vilified in order to ensure that they wouldn’t win reelection. Worse than false reporting, the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) of the US directly helped the opponents of Quirino and Garcia.
Sadly, many Filipinos are inclined to consider the Western media as more credible than our own media. Is that because Philippine media have not performed up to par? During the Marcos dictatorship, with a muzzled media intimidated from revealing the truth, the Western media became the more reliable sources of information.
Is that esteem for the Western media because of our damaged culture — our colonial mentality? Whatever the reason is — it’s a situation that lines us up for exploitation and manipulation. It’s a situation where Filipinos can be tricked into believing that they have a bad leader even when that leader is only fighting for Philippine national interests. It’s a situation where we can be primed by clever information manipulation into fighting among ourselves in order to serve a foreign interest.
The over entertained but under informed minds of many Filipinos are easy preys for the foreign manipulator. Now, more than ever, it’s imperative that we bridge the Information Gap. Our foremost task is to enlighten all Filipinos about the historical truth.
Only when every Filipino knows the historical truth, be able to discern between true friends and Quislings — can we finally liberate ourselves from foreign domination. For our country to survive the challenges confronting us, we need Filipino enlightenment, nationalism and unity.
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