Education as Oppression: One Bedouin’s Perspective on Progress

To say that anthropologists have long been interested in pastoral nomads would be an understatement. As Rada and Neville Dyson-Hudson described the situation in their 1980 article in the Annual Review of Anthropology: “Pastoral nomads have had a persistent fascination for anthropologists,” a fascination that has to do with the “intriguing and difficult to unravel” complexities of a mobile population dependent on livestock (p. 15). They also cite the persistence of what they call a “romantic stereotype” as one of the causes for the dominance of studies of pastoral nomadism from the 1940s through the 1960s, a stereotype that cast pastoral nomads as “brave, independent, fierce men, freely moving with their herds, and not having to deal with the constraints and frustrations we ourselves face in day-to-day ‘civilized’ living” (Dyson-Hudson, 1980, p. 15). They quote Walter Goldschmidt (1979, p. 26) who spoke of the characterization of pastoralists as people having, “a pride, a hauteur, a strong sense of individual worth and a strong sense of the nobility of pastoralism as a calling,” as a portrayal “that initially attracted me to the study of pastoralism”.

The Bedouin Leader of the Anti-State

For all of the acknowledged fascination and romance, I am not aware of there being any anthropological studies, or biographic ethnography, of the one famous pastoral nomad who became a military officer, leader of a revolutionary movement, and effective head of state: Muammar Gaddafi.

While there are few if any anthropological texts dedicated to the study of particular national leaders (which is a major shortcoming of “our discipline” to the extent that it is true), one might have expected an exception to be made in this rare case. For one, an anthropological perspective might have put to rest the typically lazy and befuddled analyses of Western journalists and policy pundits who routinely characterize Gaddafi’s thoughts and actions–over more than 42 years–as “mercurial” and “bizarre” or “erratic”. Secondly, understanding Gaddafi’s personal and social background might have helped a bit to explain the kind of state that he championed, envisioned as a deliberately eviscerated state which would have it made unique among existing state structures. This was, after all, the same Gaddafi who in his final years sought to effectively dissolve much of the state by having oil revenues paid directly to each and every Libyan, while eliminating most of the ministry-equivalents that acted as imposing intermediaries between Libyans and the wealth that is their birthright; also worth noting is that one of the government figures who opposed the plan, Ali Abd-al-Aziz al-Isawi (Ali Essawi), eventually defected and became one of the top leaders of the rebel National Transitional Council (USET, 2009/3/17; 2008/9/19; 2008/11/18; 2009/2/27). Needless to say, such original and radical reforms have been banished from the agenda of the “new Libya”.

While Western commentators frequently deplore and blame Gaddafi for an absence of political parties and trade unions, and for keeping a weak military, they never question their own assumptions that seem to have a preferential emphasis on top-down hierarchical modes of social and political organization. Gaddafi, their so-called “dictator,” suddenly becomes not dictator enough–or, to solve/preempt this contradiction, the claim is that he wielded all power personally, which is a fantastic assertion, one whose roots are in some slack, impoverished “theory” that only works for journalists too rushed to write to pause and think.

As I mentioned Gaddafi’s background, let me turn attention to that for a few moments, in the hope that something other than the stock set of demonization will surface.

A Tent in Sirte

“His [Gaddafi’s] birthplace was the low tent of his father, a semi-nomad, pitched somewhere south of Sirte in the open desert that formed the family’s traditional range-lands. The Sirtica, although administratively part of Tripolitania in the west and part of Cyrenaica in the east, has always been an extended frontier district, a historically ungovernable no man’s land between the main centres of population round Tripoli, Benghazi and the southern oases. In being born there, [Muammar Gaddafi] acquired the politically invaluable credential of being neither a true Tripolitanian, nor a Cyrenaican, nor even a Fezzanese, but a bedu of the open desert that is common to all Libya, and from which many Libyans like to think they themselves once came.” (Wright, 1981, p. 124)

“How can a soldier remain passive and salute a king who has filled the country with foreign forces? How can you accept being stopped on the street by an American? That happened to me personally. When I wanted to enter Wheelus base, I was turned away….When I told them of my position as an officer in the Libyan army, I was told, ‘true, but you will not enter!’ I replied, ‘it is Libyan territory.’ Response, ‘it is futile to argue, you will not enter, period!’.” (Gaddafi quoted in Vandewalle, 1998, p. 61)

Muammar Gaddafi was born in Sirte circa 1942, to a poor family. His relatives fought for many years against Italian colonial rule, just as members of his tribe, the Gaddafa, had fought against the Turkish occupation (Simons, 1996). Gaddafi’s family was Bedouin, a people who were “particularly known for their ferocity in defending their freedom;” indeed, even Gaddafi’s father served time in prison for his resistance against the Italians (Sullivan, 1999, p. 22). Milton Viorst, a veteran Middle East correspondent and author, thus described the ties that bound Gaddafi to Sirte: “Sirte is also Qaddafi’s home turf. He was born south of the city in 1942, in the desert where his father, a Bedouin tribesman, herded sheep and goats. Libyans say the desert surrounding Sirte remains in Qaddafi’s blood” (Viorst, 1999, p. 64).

“My parents are still living in a tent near Sirte,” Gaddafi said years after overthrowing the King in a bloodless revolt in 1969 (Anderson, 1983, p. 139; see also McDermott, 1973, p. 400, and Anderson, 1982, p. 519). “We are not rich people,” Gaddafi said about his fellow officers and himself, “the parents of the majority of us are living in huts” (Anderson, 1983, p. 139). Indeed, according to his own mother, Gaddafi told his parents that they would continue living in their tent until every Libyan had been allotted proper housing (see especially from the 1min 44sec mark to the 2min 44 sec mark):

At the age of ten, and at great sacrifice to his family, Gaddafi was sent to a Quranic school in Sirte (Anderson, 1983, p. 139), where his schoolmates “looked down on him as a poor desert bedu; at night he slept in the mosque and at holidays he trudged back to the family encampment” (Wright, 1981, p. 124). Simons similarly related that Gaddafi, “as a rural Bedouin,” was “viewed by his classmates as something of a country bumpkin” (1996, p. 170). Gaddafi’s background as a “bumpkin” from Sirte has consistently been held against him by opponents in other regions of Libya. In a cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, John T. Godfrey, the Chargé d’Affaires, wrote that “average Libyans” tend to “view the al-Qadhafi family as unsophisticated upstarts from a historically inconsequential part of the country (Sirte) who routinely embarrass Libya” (USET, 2008/7/22).

Muammar Gaddafi’s famous tent, in the Bab-al-Aziziya complex in Tripoli. (Source: Ricardo Stuckert, Agência Brasil, Creative Commons)

This grounding, in the desert tent, in the Quranic school, later in his training at the British Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, Surrey, and then in the struggle against broad global forces such as Western imperialism, is a critical part of understanding both Sirte and its son, Gaddafi.

Beyond the Bedouin Fezzan, we are suddenly shifted to colonial rule, Islam, oil, Pan-Arabism and then Pan-Africanism—what seems mirage-like is, however, the idea of a “Libya.” While Gaddafi was a dedicated nationalist, his own vision of the nation constantly shifted boundaries, moving beyond Libya to include signing union agreements with Egypt, Tunisia, Syria, Chad, Morocco, Algeria, and Sudan, in 1972, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1984, 1987, and 1990 respectively. Born of a people who were pastoral nomads, dwellers of the open desert (always retained as a motif by Gaddafi, who greeted visitors in his tent, see the photo above), it is perhaps not surprising that Gaddafi’s horizons were always open and shifting. This sense of ceaseless movement, indicative of Libya as a whole, was perhaps best summed up by Anderson (1982, pp. 533-534):

“Libyans often remark on the vertigo with which their recent history has left them. From Ottoman province to Italian colony, from the devastation of a colonial war to the destruction of World War II, from abject poverty to splendid riches, from conservative monarchy to radical revolution, the Libyans have had barely a decade of peace, stability and continuity in the last 80 years. Many educated Libyans acknowledge that this had confused their sense of what their country should be, has undermined efforts at calculation and investment for the future, and has created a cynicism and alienation well beyond what is already typical of the Third World.”

“Mercurial” and “erratic” were and still are the norm of Libyan history, and Gaddafi did nothing more than to represent a complexity that continues to manifest itself even among the U.S.’ new friend enemies in Tripoli and Benghazi, with Islamists tortured by the CIA who courted NATO and then sued the UK, dictatorial in their pursuit of democracy–how is that not “mercurial”? The mere fact of Gaddafi finding an independent way in the dust of chaos and the colonial legacy of disorientation, ambivalent as the course would be, was an achievement in itself. Libyans are rediscovering the agony of finding a way in the wilderness. (At any rate, Western commentators will continue to write of Gaddafi as “bizarre,” accustomed as they are to the stability and certainty offered by machine-made, cardboard cutout politicians who mouth all of the required platitudes with as much panache and credibility as the average child actor in a school play. Nothing mercurial about those people or their supporters: merely being able to react to temperature would be an accomplishment.)

Where there were tensions between regionalism and nationalism, between tribal affiliation and national unity, there were tensions in the social policies of the Al-Fateh Revolution. Having been raised in poverty, and then faced with increased oil wealth, both Gaddafi and members of his generation were ambivalent about material wealth and what it could acquire. The same ambivalence was shown toward Western technology, both admiration and fear. Gaddafi was also aware that Libyans, “toiled very little to earn the 9,000-dollar annual per capita income they enjoyed in the early 1980s, and this awareness translated into a domestic policy which oscillated between wasteful spending and artificial austerity and arbitrary traditionalism” (Anderson, 1982, p. 519; emphases added). The primary economic stratum which continued to support Gaddafi throughout his rule “was comprised of those who had owned little or nothing before 1975” (Anderson, 1982, p. 522).

The 1980 report by CBS’ “60 Minutes” is a surprisingly well-balanced overview of some of these dynamics, unusually positive, and even critical of Libyan dissidents’ criticisms (but this was when the U.S. still obtained 8% of its oil from Libya and many Americans continued to venture to Libya to find fortune):

The shift in horizons, the complexities of multiple historical legacies, the elasticity of Libyan demands and expectations and the changing fortunes of Libyan oil, not to mention the ever-mutating position of Libya in international relations, and Gaddafi’s own critical skepticism towards “development” and “modernity,” worked to shape Gaddafi’s philosophy. His philosophy on education in particular attracted my attention.

Education as Colonization

Here I reproduce in full the passages on education in Gaddafi’s Green Book, with some extra emphasis on key points which serve to focus my commentary:

“Education, or learning, is not necessarily that routinized curriculum and those classified subjects in textbooks which youths are forced to learn during specified hours while sitting in rows of desks. This type of education now prevailing all over the world is directed against human freedom. State-controlled education, which governments boast of whenever they are able to force it on their youths, is a method of suppressing freedom. It is a compulsory obliteration of a human being’s talent, as well as a coercive directing of a human being’s choices. It is an act of dictatorship destructive of freedom because it deprives people of their free choice, creativity and brilliance. To force a human being to learn according to a set curriculum is a dictatorial act. To impose certain subjects upon people is also a dictatorial act. State-controlled and standardized education is, in fact, a forced stultification of the masses. All governments which set courses of education in terms of formal curricula and force people to learn those courses coerce their citizens. All methods of education prevailing in the world should be destroyed through a universal cultural revolution that frees the human mind from curricula of fanaticism which dictate a process of deliberate distortion of man’s tastes, conceptual ability and mentality. This does not mean that schools are to be closed and that people should turn their backs on education, as it may seem to superficial readers. On the contrary, it means. that society should provide all types of education, giving people the chance to choose freely any subjects they wish to learn. This requires a sufficient number of schools for all types of education. Insufficient numbers of schools restrict human freedom of choice, forcing them to learn only the subjects available, while depriving them of the natural right to choose because of the unavailability of other subjects. Societies which ban or monopolize knowledge are reactionary societies which are biased towards ignorance and are hostile to freedom. Societies which prohibit the teaching of religion are reactionary societies, biased towards ignorance and hostile to freedom. Societies which monopolize religious education are reactionary societies, biased towards ignorance and hostile to freedom. Equally so are the societies which distort the religions, civilizations and behaviour of others in the process of teaching those subjects. Societies which consider materialistic knowledge taboo are likewise reactionary societies, biased towards ignorance and hostile to freedom. Knowledge is a natural right of every human being of which no one has the right to deprive him or her under any pretext, except in a case where a person does something which deprives him or her of that right. Ignorance will come to an end when everything is presented as it actually is and when knowledge about everything is available to each person in the manner that suits him or her”. (pps. 99-100)

There is a great deal that deserves to be said about this tract, and my own commentary will necessarily be very limited. One could comment on how, here again, is the “mercurial” Gaddafi–who fully supported free public education at all levels, and even provided a large number of generous scholarships for Libyan students to study overseas. This, on the one hand, he acted in conformity with expectations and values that privileged formal education, and even introduced his Green Book as part of the formal curriculum. On the other hand, he was clearly quite skeptical of formal, routinized education. He is not the only “mercurial” one among us, however.

Formal schooling was, as we would have understood from the last section, not a happy time in Gaddafi’s life–or let’s put it this way: even less happy than it is for most children who are naturally and justifiably unhappy about being forced into school, just as later it will be natural and reasonable for them to loathe the formalized routine of work (hence, the endless supply of online games that are obviously trying to teach youths that work in the service industry, preparing hamburgers, pizzas, and burritos, is all sorts of crazy “fun”–enslaving indoctrination at its grimmest and basest). Producing nothing of value, we now have a “knowledge economy,” and of course “education is the key”. Access to resources that permit independent self-reliance? That’s never the key to our citizenship, which remains a citizenship in name only. Now we are forced to live the consequences of a total proletarianization, that capitalism simply cannot sustain as much as it engineered this outcome, an outcome that will be the death of capitalism (and not soon enough).

From Gaddafi’s point of view, there is much about formal schooling that is oppressive, that eradicates our own individual potential and creativity, that works to enforce conformity, and that is also quite irrelevant to the making of happy and fulfilling lives. As an educator, and as someone who has been in school for about four decades, I can attest that Gaddafi was quite correct on all counts. There is probably no counterinsurgency more insidious than that which we routinely take for granted as “education”. Ashis Nandy somewhere wrote that the socialization of children by parents is also a form of everyday colonialism–raising children is predicated on razing their minds to block any natural potential for creativity and wonder that could take unforeseen directions. A powerful source for the legitimacy of colonialism, development, and now “humanitarian intervention,” derive some of their most basic roots from family life, which is in turn subtly reinforced by these larger processes.

“Civilization” and the Conditions for Education

Back in 2008, I wrote:

“Education [is] centred in cities, in urban civilizations, post-hunting and gathering, post-nomadic, accompanying the rise of inequality and tyranny. If we want to talk about the social context of education, we have to keep in mind the conditions under which education became education, and when it became mandatory….Literacy is a tool of the dispossessed and displaced, those urban refugees who are born as ‘citizens’ without any stake, without any basis in their nation, divorced and cut off from any independent access to resources of their own. Citizenship comes without land, and with lots of dependency on institutional structures, on wages, on rented apartments, and so forth….It’s always amazing how ‘we’ can make the ‘fruits’ of dispossession and displacement look like ‘progress’.”

ESCAPE TO HELL by Muammar GaddafiI was interested to read passages in Gaddafi’s collection of short stories, The Escape to Hell, and their rejection of the city and the embrace of the village and the land. These too give us further insight into Gaddafi’s philosophy on education, and his ambivalence toward development. In addition, Gaddafi provides the following statement on what it was like for him, as a Bedouin, to be a national leader, alternating with his ideas of what it was like to live as a Bedouin in the city:

“So, what can I hope for, a poor Bedouin, lost in a mad modern city, whose people bombard me with their demands whenever they get hold of me? Have a house built for us better than this one … Get us better telephone service!… Have a road built for us in the sea! … Make public parks for us! … Catch enough fish for us! …Write out amulets for us …Make wedding contracts for us!… Get that stray dog out of our way! Buy a cat for us !!! They ask that much of a confused poor Bedouin, who hasn’t got even a birth certificate…who carries his walking stick on his shoulder, who does not stop at the red light, nor does he flinch when he gets into an argument with a policeman. He does not clean his hands when he eats. He would kick off anything that hampered his movements even if it landed on a shop window, hit a hag on the face, or broke the window panes of a smart white house. He has never tasted alcohol or even Pepsi Cola or Soda water….You see him looking for a camel in the Martyrs Square, a horse in the Green Square, or driving his sheep through the Tree Square. These masses, who have no mercy even for their saviours, seem to follow me everywhere, burning me … even when they applaud, they seem to prick me … I, being an illiterate Bedouin, do not know about house painting or the meaning of sewage disposal“.

Continuing in the same stream, Gaddafi wrote about money and dependence on others for the provision of modern services and amenities:

“I do not understand the concept of money, yet people ask me for it. As a matter of fact, I do not possess it; I only snatched it from the hands of thieves, from the mouths of mice and from the fangs of dogs and gave it out to the townsmen under the name of a benefactor from the desert and in my capacity as a liberator from bondage and fetters. What has been stolen and misused by guilty hands (one of them being a comrade of the cave dwellers and the rats) needs a long time and the effort of many a man to put right, but the inhabitants of the mad modern city ask me for it right away. I felt I was the only one who had nothing, and so, unlike them, I did not ask for the service of a plumber, builder, painter, barber …etc. And since I had not requested anything because I had nothing, I became well known, or rather an odd man out“.

Some of his comments on life in The City are also illuminating:

“The city is a cemetery for social ties : whoever sets foot in it has to swim over its waves from one street to another, from one quarter to another, from one job to another, and from one associate to another, And by the nature of city life, one’s purpose becomes self-interest and opportunism, and one’s norm of behaviour becomes hypocrisy….The more the city extends and develops, the more complicated it becomes and the more it moves away from friendly spirit and mutual social ties to the extent that dwellers of the same block of flats do not know one another, especially when the block of flats grows and entity becomes a mere number: The dweller is no more referred to by his name or the tribe he belongs to, but by the number of his flat….In the city you are more likely to get support from the walls than from the people….”

And then there are the forced encounters inherent to city life which pass as social relations:

This is the city: a crushing mill to its dwellers, a nightmare to its constructors; it makes you change your appearance and alter your values so as to take on an urban character, which has no colour, taste, smell or meaning …a worm-like life, which compels you to inhale other people’s breath without caring for them, though. If you sought their protection, they would not protect you, nor would you protect them. The city compels you to hear other people’s voices even when you are not addressing them and inhale their breath without asking them for it“.

That Gaddafi romanticizes The Village, in direct and stark contrast, is not to be read as social theory as much as it is a testament to Gaddafi’s unending shudder of living in the city, and away from his Bedouin kin, of real solidarity, and of course the simple life:

“The village is peaceful, clean and coherent. The people there know one another, and are allied in time of prosperity and adversity. There are no thefts in the village and the countryside as the people know one another. The individual there attaches great importance to the reputation of his family, his tribe and his all good name. Any act of misdemeanour in the village does not come to an end on the day it is committed, as it does in the City, where the offence is usually registered against unknown person, because of the great number of different people living in the city – it does not even end by the death of the culprit. On the contrary, it remains a sort of stigma for his family, his clan and his tribe in the eyes of other clans and tribes, and constitutes a permanent insult to kith and kin. This restraining social factor is stronger than the power of penal codes or the police force. Furthermore, solidarity and association in the village and the countryside help the needy, and save them from having to beg or steal. On the other hand, the simple, humble and unpretentious lifestyle in the village and the countryside stays far enough away from pleasures and luxuries”.

A Bedouin Aesthetic?

Reading and understanding these stories has been quite a challenge for Western readers, as have Gaddafi’s speeches which are notoriously left incompletely translated, not translated, or simply mistranslated (careful then with anyone who begins an assertion with “Gaddafi said in a speech…”). One of the few that tried to get a grasp of the writing style explained it as follows:

“Colonel Gaddafi’s preferred form is what this Guardian review calls ‘rambling prose feuilletons’. The feuilleton was a proto-blog post form popular among newspaper readers in Weimar Germany and the former Austro-Hungarian Empire in the ’20s-’30s, and in America too, because back then eccentric billionaires occasionally paid good writers to write whatever they wanted. Wide-ranging columns or essays about whatever, basically, filtered through the writer’s experience (taking a walk around town, running into a crippled prostitute in a bar late at night, passing out in a steam bath, etc.). ANYWAY, this is exactly what Gaddafi does in Escape to Hell. These aren’t stories at all, but stream-of-consciousness rants against cities, Islamic fundamentalism (Muammar hates it too!), and the loneliness of the astronaut life. He celebrates the Bedouin lifestyle of tents on the open dunes; he accuses city life of leading to kidney theft and other crimes (this is pretty much true, right?); he tells a fable about an astronaut who realizes he doesn’t understand life on Earth and kills himself (this one is called “The Astronaut’s Suicide”)”.

Gaddafi’s speech also reflects elements of his Bedouin background, according to a British former ambassador to Libya: “Mr Gaddafi’s personal style is recognizably that of his Bedouin background. Bedouin have plenty of time and talk a lot when there is anyone to talk to. He regularly goes on for three or four hours at a stretch”.


If Gaddafi seemed mercurial to some it was due to many factors, including perception and what is intelligible to mainstream Western commentators, as well as the complexity of Gaddafi’s social background, the contending forces at work in shaping him, and the drive to respond to demands that he little respected to begin with. Yet the underlying critique of progress that weds his ideas on education to his Bedouin background and his rejection of the city, is not an altogether unique critique. As I have already explored elsewhere–and I will close with this–it’s a theme that runs across a variety of societies in the global South, forming a kind of transcultural perspective on progress that one finds in novels, films, and songs, among other forms of expression that in some cases stretch back for centuries. Here is what King Austin sang in a calypso/kaiso that is widely acclaimed in Trinidad & Tobago as one of the very best calypsos/kaisos of all time, and which I “animated” in the following video:

My second-most favourite has to be Sugar Aloes’ beautiful
“Signs of the End of Times”:

“This was never meant to be.
Man [was] supposed to dwell in harmony.
But because of selfish ways, man create[s] things to shorten his days.
Because in this comfort and strife, what a life, what a life.
Because in this comfort and strife, what a life in these times!
For these are the signs of the end of times

So there we have it: Bedouins, education, progress, and apocalypse. I hope that I have been sufficiently Gaddafian in my prolix posting, but I have one more thought. I wanted to say that there was nothing at all “strange” about Gaddafi. But normalizing the man does him no justice either, to try to fold him within “our” mainstream. It’s our mainstream that is so alienating and alienated that it could never be expected to do anything more than declare the man to be unfit, and to destroy him.


Anderson, Lisa. (1982). “Libya and American Foreign Policy”. Middle East Journal, 36(4), Autumn, 516-534.

————— . (1983). “Qaddafi’s Islam”. In John L. Esposito (Ed.), Voices of Resurgent Islam (pp. 134-149). New York: Oxford University Press.

Dyson-Hudson, Rada, & Dyson-Hudson, Neville. (1980). “Nomadic Pastoralism”. Annual Review of Anthropology, 9, 15-61.

Forte, Maximilian C. (2008). Head-Decay-Shun: Literacy, Tool of the Dependent and Displaced?” Zero Anthropology, July 9.

Gaddafi, Muammar. (n.d.). The Escape to Hell and Other Stories. Al Jamahiriya, Libyan Broadcasting Corporation.

————— . (n.d.) The Green Book.

Goldschmidt, Walter. (1979). “A General Model for Pastoral Social Systems”. In L’equipe ecologie et anthropologie des societes pastorales (Ed.), Pastoral Production and Society (pp. 15-28). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Mansfield, Greer. (2011/3/24). “Gaddafi Mourns Fictional Astronaut, Writes Books”. The Wonkette, March 24.

McDermott, Anthony. (1973). “Qaddafi and Libya”. The World Today, 29(9), September, 398-408.

Miles, Oliver. (2011/2/24). “How Gaddafi’s Words Get Lost in Translation”. BBC News, February 24.

NI. (1995/4/5). “Nomads–The Facts”. New Internationalist, (226), April 5.

Simons, Geoff. (1996). Libya: The Struggle for Survival. 2nd ed. New York: St. Martin’s Press.

Sullivan, Kimberly L. (2009). Muammar Al-Qaddafi’s Libya. Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books.

USET. (2008/3/17). “Back to the Future? Qadhafi Calls for Dramatic Socio-Economic Change in GPC Speech”. U.S. Embassy Cable, Tripoli, Libya, September 19, Cable ID: 08TRIPOLI227.

————— . (2008/7/22). “Thug Life: Hannibal Al-Qadhafi’s Arrest Prompts Fissure in Swiss-Libyan Relations”. U.S. Embassy Cable, Tripoli, Libya, July 22. Cable ID: 08TRIPOLI592.

————— . (2008/9/19). “Minister of Economy Positive on Bilateral Engagement, Concerned about Domestic Reform Plans”. U.S. Embassy Cable, Tripoli, Libya, September 19, Cable ID: 08TRIPOLI741.

————— . (2008/11/18). “Al-Qadhafi and the Reform ‘Vision Thing'”. U.S. Embassy Cable, Tripoli, Libya, November 18, Cable ID: 08TRIPOLI896.

————— . (2009/2/27). “For Ordinary Libyans, It’s the Economy, Stupid”. U.S. Embassy Cable, Tripoli, Libya, February 27, Cable ID: 09TRIPOLI192.

Vandewalle, Dirk. (1998). Libya since Independence: Oil and State-Building. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Viorst, Milton. (1999). “The Colonel in His Labyrinth”. Foreign Affairs, 78(2), March-April, 60-75.

Wright, John. (1981). Libya: A Modern History. Beckenham, UK: Croom Helm Ltd.

For more, please see Slouching Towards Sirte: NATO’s War on Libya and Africa.

4 thoughts on “Education as Oppression: One Bedouin’s Perspective on Progress

  1. John Allison

    Absolutely required reading for all those held captive in the “nation-states” of USNATO, with access only to “news”. The Empire-recognized nations – which the News calls TheWorld Community, are the outer corrals into which all we peoples, former communities of sedentary or nomadic residences have now been herded; and are being further herded both physically and mentally by our “education” systems, our employment needs and our consumer conditioning; the conditioned competive spirit that is cultivated from kindergarten though PhD, that pull any attempt at community apart into the useful units of human capital that is our destiny, here, in the Jungle of Capitalist construction. When the Klamath indigenous peoples of Oregon and California, in the 1870s, tried to combine their “allotments” into cooperatives, they had their hands slapped, and were lectured on how to become “Americans”.
    WAC-6, in Dublin, 2008, had one theme with many sessions that was named: Deconstructing the Master’s House. That is the task that we face.

  2. Kat Valle

    I really liked the idea of the anthropology of national leaders. More so, I’m very glad you took the time and effort to write such thought-provoking piece about a figure so misunderstood and demonized by Western hegemony.

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