Muammar Gaddafi's Legacy: A Domestic & Intellectual Approach.

Author:Garcia, Santiago Espinosa


Throughout the second half of the 20th and beginning of the 21st century, different investigations have been carried out regarding the character of Muammar Gaddafi from the optics of the social sciences in order to objectively get an approach to understand the actions carried out as a State leader as well as its impact at domestic and regional level. Beyond that, Gaddafi stood out as a polemic and popular political figure for several reasons that maintain an asymmetrical relationship with each other, on the one hand, seen as a solid and authoritarian presence at the State level in the region, with political ideals characteristic of a bipolarized global context, playing an important role as balance of power in the region; on the other hand, because of its frequent scandals regarding the systematic violations of human rights in Libya, and its participation as a sponsor of violence acts at State level and abroad. In a paralel way, there is an asymmetric relationship between the figure of Gaddafi as a philanthropist, billionaire, and as a leader of a state that officially enjoyed privileged positions in terms of economic and social development with respect to the Middle East and Africa; moreover, although in a lesser known facet, Gaddafi aroused interest thanks to the impact of his written intellectual work (political and literary material).

The Colonel Muammar Gaddafi ruled Libya between September the 1st of 1969 and October the 20th of 2011, same date of his death during an ambush in Sirte. He was born in a bedouin tent in Qasr Abu Hadi (Sirte District), in a high marked traditional environment and belonging to the Qaddafa ethnic group (1), so his education was in constant touch with religious rhetoric and therefore, under the traditional Libyan ethnic environment and Islamic rules. The figure that Gaddafi represented remained relevant at domestic and regional history so as Libyan international dynamics, moreover, at economic and social impact. Muammar Gaddafi is one of the most representative characters in Libya and northern Africa, and at the same time, one of the most polemic leaders of the 2nd half of the 20th Century and the first decade of the 21st, because of his influential participation in political and economic spheres in Africa as well as in the Middle East.

This paper aims to answer the questions of how to get an objective approach the analysis of Gaddafi's legacy, how is Gaddafi's legacy recognized, what are some impact indicators on his legacy, and finally, is there new information quantifiable that could be extracted from the study of the intellectual legacy of Gaddafi?

These questions will try to be answered through the construction of a bibliographic and qualitative method in which first two difficult angles to ignore when studying part of Gaddafi's legacy are considered, as are the first and second approaches of the present text, to finally identify a third angle of study when performing a qualitative analysis extracted from the intellectual legacy of Gaddafi in order to obtain additional information thanks to the triangulation of data and key concepts. The present work intends to carry out a transversal study around what we considered three interesting angles with respect to his legacy, for this purpose three approaches or study plans directly linked as part of Gaddafi's legacy have been identified that will be developed in a pyramidal set based on the following assumptions or hypotheses: a) Gaddafi's legacy maintains a controversial recognition with an important impact mainly related as despotic, unilateral and hostile State leader in foreign affairs matters, as well as sponsor of activities such as state terrorism and violent activities abroad, being provocative and controversial issues that have been exploited throughout the first decade of the 21st century; b) from a position less publicized than the first premise, but not less studied, Gaddafi's legacy as a State leader maintained a significant impact at domestic level, where it is possible to consider interesting asymmetric relations between the State and the population, making reference to the statistical data of the index of human development (health, education and income) registered as impact of the social policies implemented by Gaddafi, highlighting for positioning Libya in privileged positions with respect to the rest of the countries of Africa and the Middle East; c) it is possible to obtain new and precise information deposited in his written works, as is the case of his tales and stories, where it is possible to identify and recognize the presence of interesting series of internal conflicts in Gaddafi and cross-identity relations, in order to approaching a new way of re-knowing and studying the legacy of this character.

The first approach to Gaddafi's legacy is based on what we consider the angle of study with the highest impact on mass media and scientific dissemination, Gaddafi's legacy at State level, sponsor of violent acts and State terrorism, and the impact it has had on the internal and external dynamics of the country. This first approach identifies the legacy of Gaddafi as the consequence of a historical period that deeply marked the Libyan population through systematic violations of human rights, which recognizes a negative impact on Libyan society that has been evidenced over decades of abuses and authoritarianism in Libya; and therefore, it is an angle difficult to ignore when studying the legacy of Gaddafi, where critical studies on terrorism (2) will be highlighted.

On behalf a second approach a reflection will be offered on Gaddafi's legacy from a social scope as well as its impact on the Libyan population, where some indicators of social development are analyzed according to the World Bank and the United Nations,. Gaddafi's administration characterized by pursued an asymmetrical relationship within the population and ethnic groups and ethnic groups, which its situation was characterized by the consequences of his megalomania; his constant acts of repression, and the fragmentation of the Libyan population.

Gaddafi appear as a significative leader by its political, economic and social proposals highlighting Pan-Africanism through a domestic and regional development; furthermore, beyond the social division and the present inequality uppon population, paradoxically, the levels of human development in education, health and economic income, are presented in high levels in comparison with other countries in Africa and the Middle East, showing at the same time a significant development in social and economic sectors; remaining as part of the legacy of a key player in Libyan history.

Finally, from a less recognized angle of study than the previous two, the intellectual legacy of Gaddafi, at this point the main analysis contribution of the present work, The third and final approach, will be focused on the intellectual legacy of Gaddafi, an actor who left some written works that marked the political, economical and social pulse of a whole country, such as The Green Book (political, economic and social estrategies and proposals, especially in Africa and the approach to an Islamic socialism, in which Gaddafi proposed a third way of development in the political, economical and social spheres (3); My Vision (4) (memories and political, economic and social thoughts in Libya and Africa); and, in a no less interesting branch, the collection of traditional stories of Libyan desert and popular culture as Escape to Hell and other Stories (5), where a deep analysis is made about the presence of crossed identities and internal conflicts reflected in his stories, pointing to a functional method to obtain new data about Gaddafi at a personal level. His intellectual legacy that expose another side of Gaddafi, his personal life, culture, priorities, identity and inner conflicts. The impact of his intellectual work not only presented as political, economic and social guidelines in Libya, but also beyond borders emerging as regional model; showing special interest in a African continental Union.

The three study angles previously mentioned with respect to Gaddafi's legacy were recognized from a macro-micro perspective structured in a pyramidal manner through a transversal analysis, where the first two approaches were difficult to ignore when studying Gaddafi's legacy. In other words, an example of approach is offered, from the point of view of the State and social levels, so as an original study regarding the intellectual legacy of Gaddafi and the manifestation of internal conflicts and cross-identities which are exposed in his tales and stories.

Through this work, it is expected to maintain a greater understanding of Gaddafi's legacy and its impact at state and social levels, likewise, it is expected to have contributed with new and measurable information regarding the study of the intellectual and literary legacy of Gaddafi.

Gaddafi's Legacy: Sponsor of State and International Terrorism

The approach at the State level stands out when analyzing the legacy of Gaddafi. Its relevant, on one hand, because it is at State level where the decisions were made through policies that impacted at domestic level, marking social and economic guidelines, at the same time, directly impacting the decision-making at the regional level, consummating its position in a meaningful way assuming the presidency of the African Union (2009-2010); on the other hand, it is precisely at state level that stands out in mass media and that is largely recognized, in part because of its impact at the international level, linked to violent and hostile attacks before the international community. The legacy of Gaddafi analyzed at state level can be observed as a historical moment of national and regional transition, where state terrorism and the violation of human rights turned out to be a constant in Libya, remaining the state in an authoritarian...

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