Sunday, September 26, 2004

The Libyan System of Governance

September 1st is the anniversary of the Libyan Revolution and therefore I think that since we are still in September, it would be appropriate to answer a question I got some time ago. Then I can go on telling you about my travel adventures . (sigh) I really must post all those articles ….

So question 16 was:

I'm curious about the Libyan system of government, the 'jamahiriya' concept and so on. The Green Book is on the Internet but it's thirty years old. Does it have anything to do with how the country works now?

Libya is situated in North Africa, stretching along the Mediterranean shoreline for nearly 2,000 kilometres. Its area is 1,775,500 square kilometres making it the fourth largest country in Africa. Egypt is on its eastern border; Sudan, Chad and Niger are to the south and Tunisia and Algeria lie to the west. The population is concentrated in the cities, villages and farming areas along the coastal strip. In the early 1950s Libya was officially rated by the United Nations as the poorest country in the world. Today, it is quite wealthy.

Definition: “Jamahiriya — a society for all where all human beings are free and equal in the exercise of power and in the possession of wealth and arms.”

Libya is defined as a jamahiriya, which is a word resembling the word for 'republic', 'jumhuriyya'. Jamahiriya involves a system of councils where all citizens are promised the right to express their opinions. The jamahiriya is organized into 186 basic people's administrative congresses. These address 46 municipal administrative units. The basic idea of the jamahiriya system is popular influence and responsibility, through a system of direct influence in a pyramidal system. Representatives to higher institutions are elected by the members of the basic congresses.

The concept of the administrative system in Libya is summed up in the word Jamahiriya, which literally means “the state of the masses.” The theory is that the country is run by complete popular authority with no place for the traditional structures. Authority, wealth and the arms are all in the hands of the people.

Everywhere there are Basic People’s Conferences — from every village, city and town up to the General People’s Congress. The Conferences decide all matters of policy and their decisions are carried out by People’s Committees with the assistance and guidance of the voluntary Revolutionary Committees.

It is a unique experiment in direct democracy that was launched in March 1977, with the declaration of the establishment of popular authority and the rise of the age of the Jamahiriya — the state of the masses.

After the September revolution the first political structure was set up within the framework of the Arab Socialist Union. This in itself was a big step forward for the people after almost 20 years of rule by a puppet monarchy accompanied by a parliamentary facade.

However the domestic and international tasks of the revolution soon outgrew that framework and the menacing bureaucracy it cultivated.

In 1973, Muammar Qadhafi, the leader of the revolution, called for a popular uprising to set up People’s Committees in all government departments, factories, communities, farms, schools and universities. His call for administrative revolution resulted in mass marches on all government establishments.

In December 1976, Qadhafi called on the People’s Committees to go further by initiating action to articulate the popular will instead of merely approving and supervising plans by the various ministries.

A major national debate was inaugurated to determine the best political and constitutional arrangements for the realisation of popular power.

In March 1977, the first General People’s Conference of over 1,000 delegates from the People’s Committees, professional associations, and unions, gathered to create a political system unlike any other in modern history.

In the declaration of March 1977, the Republic of Libya became known as the “Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya”.

“Direct popular authority constitutes the basis of the political system,” in the Jamahiriya, the declaration stated. Authority is for the people, and none else. The people exercise their authority through the Basic People’s Conferences, People’s Committees, syndicates, unions, and professional associations, and the General People’s Congress.

“The most tyrannical dictatorships the world has ever known have existed under the shadow of parliaments,” Colonel Qadhafi points out.

His observation comes from direct experience. From 1951 to 1969 Libya was ruled by a parliamentary monarchy under King Idris that was nothing more than a cloak for dictatorship by the capitalist powers and the multi-national oil companies.

“The system of elected parliaments is based on propaganda to win votes. It is a demagogic system in the real sense of the word, and votes can be bought and falsified,” the Green Book states.

So to answer your question, yes the country still works using the method I explained above. I’m not trying to paint a perfect image of Libya because it is not so, but I would like to say that many good things have been achieved over the years such as free education for all, from 1st grade up to University, free healthcare, women’s liberation and equality in literarily all domains including the traditionally male dominated jobs ( women in Libya have exactly the same salary as men and scores of other projects. But I admit that it could have been much better and many mistakes were made; thus preventing Libya from reaching its full potential.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Libyan hottie, courtesy of BBC, Rola Ali is auditioning for another star search program called Star Academy....Good luck to her

Monday, September 20, 2004

A question of time! Off to Europe

It seems I'll never have time and get on to some serious blogging again.
I'll be travelling to Europe tomorrow ( yes again) . Keep hopping from continent to continent I guess. Well please bear with me I have a whole bunch of 'articles' lined's just that I never have time enough to actually sit down ...always packing ;)....
Please feel free to comment on whatever you like..I'll be back

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Libyan blogger(s)

Ok I'm back, I had a fabulous trip but I'm too tired and dazed to talk about it now. I lately missed out on a lot that's been happening on the news scene, haven' watched Aljazeera ;) or any other news channel for over a week now.

I have been blogging for one year now, and to all those who previously asked if there were Libyan bloggers, well I'm happy to say that now there is another female blogger ( yippee). Ladies & Gentlemen please welcome smokeyspice posting from California, she has a superb sense of humour and I think deep down she probably misses Libya. Good luck Smokey and wish you all the best. I hope many more of us come out of the woodwork!

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Back and leaving again to the Libyan desert this time!

Sliema Strand (Malta)

I just returned from the Island of Malta, check the view from my window ( I'll post more later), thanks to all those who emailed to ask about me, I appreciate it very much. Also I would like to tell you that I'm travelling tomorrow morning to the Libyan South ( desert country), I'm very excited about this trip... I have a satellite connection, but I don't think I want to blog from there. I wish to enjoy the peace and quiet...See you soon