History of Libya

January 30, 2013

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Robert Draper talked about his February 2013 National Geographic cover story, “Unseen Libya: Recovering Its Forgotten Past.” Mr. Draper described the country’s past, life in the country under the rule of Muammar Qadhafi from 1969-2011, the country’s strategic location on the Mediterranean, cultural influences, and Libyans’ identity and attitudes toward the United States.

This program was part of a “Washington Journal” series highlighting recent magazine articles.

Source- C-Span for Washington Journal

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  1. Comment on Robert Draper’s interview about his latest article in the National Geographic entitled Unseen Libya: It’s amazing how much money can go in the way of propaganda, Gaddafi spared no effort and money to misinform the world about Libya. Some callers in the United States argued that under Gaddafi Libya had the highest literacy rates and a good, free health care system. Draper correctly replied that the literacy rate is not due to Gaddafi, that it was present in Libya even before. However it is important to consider how literacy rates are defined. In Libya, an environment where perhaps most if not all attended school and learned how to read and write but did not have access to true knowledge or facts apart from the regime propaganda that bombarded them for decades. Children were not encouraged to widen their horizons as strict censorship was imposed on reading material. The culture of reading which was nourished by the Libyan government before this regime was brutally extinguished. As for Libya’s healthcare system, the caller doesn’t know that for the past two decades, ordinary Libyans would spend their life savings to go to Tunisia and Egypt to seek treatment for any serious illness. Some even went all the way to Jordan. People of Libya were victims of the regime not benefactors. I would also like to invite anyone citing any figures about Libya’s development under the regime to look for actual facts. It is well known that figures published by the United Nations and the World Health Organization about Libya over the past four decades were not independently verified but provided to them by the government as the country was closed to international bodies to truly study and assess the conditions inside the country. To the comment from the caller about empowering Africans, I say that there are no two sides to Gaddafi good and bad, he is all bad. If African Americans feel affinity to Gaddafi then they are misled since he only promoted others for his own benefit. About women: again, Gaddafi’s promotion of ANY group was solely for his personal gain. He most famously used them as guards which was not empowerment but exploitation. Serious, educated, and honourable women stayed away from his regime. Under the rule of Gaddafi, we did not see women in influential positions apart from those few whose sole contributions were to sing Gaddafi’s praise. After the revolution, we had our first female minister, the Minister of Health almost immediately after its liberation and today we have over 30 members of congress who are women. As a Libyan I am grateful to Robert Draper, and photographer George Steinmetz, and the National Geographic for showing the true colours of Libyans as freedom loving, peaceful people. Hopefully, under the right governance, this is the beginning of a prosperous future for Libya that will also contribute positively for the good of the whole region and the rest of the world.

    Comment by Ayat Mneina — February 3, 2013 @ 06:37

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