Benghazi: The Uprising

Some very silly ‘information sheets’ have been doing the rounds on Facebook  and elsewhere. They purport to show how wonderful Libya was under dictatorship, how generous Qaddafi was in building a limited welfare state. The people who produce such propaganda are infantile leftists (that wonderfully apt phrase was first used by Lenin) – that’s why they don’t produce similar propaganda on behalf of the royal dictators in the Gulf, although the Gulf dictatorships have also built welfare states, much better ones, in fact, than Qaddafi’s. Libya is a vast lake of high quality oil. Libyans should be as rich as Emiratis or Kuwaitis. The reality is that much of Libya is poor, and that if a Libyan needed a major operation he had to travel to Tunisia, a much poorer country. And the oil wealth is a gift of God or nature, not of Qaddafi. The only thing Qaddafi gifted to the Libyan people was death.

It’s wise to be suspicious of Britain, France and Qatar and to resist the ‘humanitarian intervention’ propaganda. Every state acts according to perceived interests, not according to moral principles. But there’s nothing wise or intelligent in opposing a revolution and insulting a revolutionary people because they choose to accept help from outside rather than die. The more repulsive armchair revolutionaries (almost all of them Western) are calling the heroic Libyan people ‘quislings’ and ‘traitors’ and imagining an alternative reality in which the revolution was begun by Western agents provocateurs. The film below is a timely reminder of how the revolution started in Benghazi – with the blood of martyrs. (I wish the Iran regime-controlled Press TV was also capable of broadcasting sensible documentaries on Syria).

8 thoughts on “Benghazi: The Uprising”

  1. “The more repulsive armchair revolutionaries (almost all of them Western) are calling the heroic Libyan people ‘quislings’ and ‘traitors’ and imagining an alternative reality in which the revolution was begun by Western agents provocateurs.”

    Citation for these statements, please. Srawman arguments are not convincing.

  2. Incidentally, Lenin used the term “infantile leftists” to describe anarchists and left socialists who opposed his authoritarian version of communism. I don’t think it’s apt to conflate the progressive opponents of Lenin’s policies with the confused (at best) or cynical proponents of the idea that Gaddafi was in some way good for Libya.

  3. It wasn’t the “infantile leftists”, but United Nations and World bank and IMF providing this picture up until 2010. In 2010, the United Nations Development Programme rated Libya 53rd, as being the highest ranking in its Human Development Index (the Real Wealth of Nations) for Africa. In terms of the world, the UNDP HDI statistics considered Libya better than countries such as Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil, Turkey, and China and better than the EU member state of Bulgaria. (

  4. Linda – i’ve seen these statements on facebook. I’m not going to name names. I also saw someone (who i won’t bother naming) – a british person – saying as much on Russia Today about three months ago. if you haven’t seen such comments, you must have fewer infantile leftist virtual friends than I do. (I’m trying to get rid of them). My argument is directed only at the kind of armchair revolutionary who calls the Libyans such names. The ‘Angry Arab’, come to think of it, refers to them constantly as ‘the NATO rebels’ – which approaches it.

    Colin – I think that the phrase ‘infantile leftists’ exists in the public sphere and, like shakespeare’s phrases, can be appropriated for new uses. I do not seek to compare the left socialists of the 1920s with the idiots who love qaddafi.

  5. unfortunately, there are equally convincing (?) films and footage that show the exact opposite: admiration for the regime, passionate opposition to the nato invasion – and face reality, whatever your political or religious beliefs may be, these rebels would have amounted to nothing without western european destruction of whatever air defense and mechanized force the nation had, let alone the infrastructure for millions of libyans who were – according to this view – being liberated by being killed, starved and cut off from life support…

    in short, all spouters of propaganda and belief systems need to take a deep breath before simply deciding that one view – that, say, obama is a socialist ( sure, every slack jawed baboon knows that) or that obama is an agent of peace and democracy ( sure, every slack jawed baboon knows that, too) – represents objective reality and all others are simply subjective…

    with that, and even considering that the worst stories about the various demons are partly true, the disgraceful execution of the alleged monster saddam hussein was exceeded, by far, by the savage brutality and possibly more savage display of the aftermath of the murder of the libyan leader…


  6. I must say I much prefer the murder of qaddafi. when saddam was killed (although i have no sympathy for him either) it was done under the aegis of occupation and it was done (with the executioners chanting ‘moqtada’) in a way guaranteed to exacerbate sectarian hatreds in Iraq. I wrote at the time it would have been best simply to release him into the streets of Basra or Sulaymaniyeh. Of course, the best for both of them would have been a real (as opposed to limited) public trial. But I don’t condemn the Libyans for killing him in the heat of the moment. It would happen in any country that had been through what Libya’s been through. De Gaulle gave the French 48 hours to settle scores when France was liberated.

    It’s not true that the revolution would have amounted to nothing, but it is true that it would have been defeated had Britain, France and Qatar not intervened. That’s why I’m happy there was an intervention.

    Of course there are a mixture of opinions in Libya, but it is not at all convincing that more than a very few Libyans regret the passing of the regime.

  7. I think it is entirely accurate to use the term “traitor” in describing many (not all) of those people who rebelled against Gaddafi regime. I’m talking about the many people who came from deep WITHIN the regime and turned on Gaddafi, fled the sinking ship.

    It would be extreme to label ALL the rebels traitors though. Calling on foreign super powers to bomb your own country is certainly a dubious and controversial position to take, but it doesn’t necessarily constitute a betrayal.

    Labelling the Libyan rebel forces as generally and genuinely “heroic” is extreme and loaded with sentimental idealism. There’s enough evidence out there to show that a large number of the most effective fighters were barbaric racist lynch-mobs and Islamist fanatics of the most criminal type, who have carried out ethnic cleansing of black Africans and Libyans and horrific mass executions of Libyans known as Gaddafi sympathisers. Atrocities that were ignored for months by mainstream media in the west, while they repeated many UNVERIFIED (and some since refuted) claims of outrageous atrocities from the Gaddafi side (for example, the mass war rape brigade allegations, and the exaggeration of mercenary involvement on Gaddafi side).

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