Libya, Oil, and Muammar Qaddafi (1972)

This is a British news clip from Eco describing Muammar  Qaddafi and his activities in regards to national liberation movements. The beginning of the excerpt shows Qaddafi meeting with Somalian leader Siad Barre. The film claims both are fanatics and even goes as far as to say “the man has turned the benefit of vast wealth to great evil.” It is obvious that this reporting was biased. This was produced during the Cold War in which many African and Asian nations were fighting for independence. Although Third World nations expelled their colonizers, they were still a threat. Anti-communism or labeling leaders a these new nations fanatics was a justification for previous imperial powers like Britain and France to impose their will on former colonies. This documentary claims that “Tripoli had lost 100 years of progress,” but the reality was different. Women rights advanced under the new leadership, the literacy rate increased, and oil revenue was used to develop the country. One assessment of the film was correct mentioning the future conflict with Anwar Sadat and the failed merger with Syria under Hafez Al-Assad. The documentary also has a foreshadowing to the Yom Kippur War in 1973. Qaddafi attempted to keep Pan-Arabism alive, but Nasser’s shoes were too big to fill. The program criticizes Qaddafi’s support of Yasir Arafat, but never analyzes why resistance movements emerge. The people of the Third World no longer wanted to be subjects of an empire. When freedom could not be obtained by legal means, armed resistance was the only option.


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