Sep 30, 2011


The decorum was striking. Where Iraqis stripped the villas of Saddam’s family bare of their last teaspoons, Libyans respectfully filed past the dining room table laid with crockery for twelve, as if visiting a preserved historic manor on a Sunday afternoon. A packet of corn flakes stood open and untouched on the kitchen counter. Twenty minutes before the Ramadan breakfast, local volunteers declared it was closing time, and ushered the public out one room at a time. A grandmother furtively scooped a pair of pink baby booties from the nursery into the folds of her dress when she spied the wardens turning their backs.

The victorious militiamen lording over ‘Aisha’s father’s lair in Bab al-‘Aziziyya, by contrast, presided over mayhem and rampant looting. Its walls have been gutted, torched and covered with jubilant graffiti. Cars drove home laden with medical equipment pillaged from the compound’s hospital. Gunners pumped their anti-aircraft and machine guns, the latter held with one hand over their heads. A militia’s ambulance wailed rebel paeans.


For now, the tide seems to be with Tripoli’s people. In an effort to dislodge the militiamen, they have backed efforts to stand up the interim government slowly transferring its seat of power to Tripoli. They have welcomed its message of national reconciliation and preservation of all but the thin upper crust of the Qaddafi regime as the fastest route to resume normality and civilian rule, and forestall the militarization and protection rackets that filled Benghazi’s vacuum when the Qaddafi regime vanished there. The continued leadership of ‘Abd al-Jalil, who until the February uprising was Qaddafi’s justice minister, and Jibril, who headed Qaddafi’s state-run economic think tank in Tripoli, has calmed fears among the city’s bureaucrats and merchants of a root-and-branch upheaval that would sweep them aside. At the NTC’s invitation, they thronged to celebrations and morning prayers on the first day of ‘Id al-Fitr to replace the militiamen in Martyrs Square. Souq al-Jum‘a’s elders, who had allowed 4,000 Misrata militiamen to pitch camp in such sites as the new branch of LTT, the internet company owned by the eldest of Qaddafi’s sons, Muhammad, signaled that their hospitality had its limits and asked them to leave.


There is much to be hopeful about. Tripolitania lacks an entrenched martial tradition. The cult of ‘Umar al-Mukhtar, the warrior-priest who led the rebellion against Italian imperialism, flourishes across eastern Libya, but never really seeped west. Nor did the colonel’s caprice entirely smother the capital’s cosmopolitan spirit. For all his brutality, his propagandists celebrated his “civilian” accomplishments -- the Green Book and the Great Manmade River -- not his few military intrigues, which largely failed. His disastrous 1980s invasion of Chad was erased from the official narrative, and the army sidelined as a potential, and sometimes actual, fifth column.

Moreover, as the social space least contaminated by the colonel, the capital’s mosques have played a key role in rapid restoration of order. From the first nights of victory, preachers broadcast calls for militiamen to stop firing in the air and register looted weapons with the local NTC office. In many districts, the local mosque has become the local seat of government, as well as the source of water and, thanks to plentiful alms collection, welfare.


And the risk remains that Libya’s militarization will rub off on civilian life, leading Libyans to pursue their various goals by force of arms. Post-Qaddafi, weapons are everywhere. Berber peasants stash tanks in their farmyards. Beneath an overpass in al-Zawiya, high-school children rotate the turrets of the tanks they have commandeered. No sooner had the colonel fled than Tripoli’s population scavenged the arms depots for self-defense. More hardware and missiles lie for the taking across the coastal plains. On the grounds of Bab al-‘Aziziyya, Tripolitanian fathers excitedly photograph their young daughters carrying rebel guns. Six months ago, the Misratan fighters terrorizing Tripolitanians were themselves mere civilians -- engineers, tradesmen, students and jobless youths -- until conflict turned them into battle-hardened fighters. The danger is that, having resorted to violence, the revolution might continue as it started.


Already Misrata’s command has refused to submit to Belhadj’s writ. And after five months of de facto independence, Berbers in the Nafusa Mountains are standing up their own force and cultural symbols. Unlike the Misratans, most of the Berber irregulars who swept into Tripoli quickly went home, but only after replenishing their arsenals with loot from the arms depots. “If we don’t keep some men and guns for ourselves, we wouldn’t be able to fend off a counterattack,” explained Nadir Muqadama, the town’s military spokesman.]


Wahyusamputra said...

Debt is a form of currency, the chosen method of payment of the USA.

It is almost infinitely extendable. By manipulation of interest rates, it is also a tool to induce debt slavery, making it very attractive to the power hungry, and can be extended over generations and to otherwise sovereign countries.

The IMF and the World Bank are the main instruments of debt, under the aegis of the Bank for International Settlements.

When the structure of debt has been established, it becomes the rationale for forcible take over of assets, property and bank accounts in the case of persons, all resources in the case of countries.

Refusal, or default, can be punished by cutting off all inward flows of finance, or even by military action.

Wahyusamputra said...

"The reason was explained by Marriner Eccles, governor of the Federal Reserve Board, in hearings before the House Committee on Banking and Currency in 1941.

Wright Patman asked Eccles how the Federal Reserve got the money to buy government bonds.

"We created it," Eccles replied.

"Out of what?"

"Out of the right to issue credit money."

"And there is nothing behind it, is there, except our government's credit?"

"That is what our money system is," Eccles replied. "If there were no debts in our money system, there wouldn't be any money."