30 Muammar Gaddafi Facts – His Economic Reforms and Early Life

by Sankalan Baidya
Muammar Gaddafi Facts

In this list of 30 Muammar Gaddafi facts we will like to shed light on something about this dictator about whom the west speaks only one thing – ‘a terrible and vicious dictator’. Turns out that this man who was tagged as a ‘terrible dictator’ by the western imperialistic forces that hog on the natural resources of underdeveloped countries in name of liberating them, gave Liya a little over decades of unprecedented growth. His rules were counter-capitalist and counter-communist.

As with every dictator, Gaddafi had his fair share of eccentricities and some suppression but whether or not he was a ruthless dictator is truly a subject of intense debate. He was killed in name of liberating Libya from a dictator but turns out that the country, which was supposedly experiencing a regime of suppression during Gaddafi’s rule, has returned to ‘Anarchy and Chaos’. Who is benefiting from that? Yes, western capitalistic imperialism! And for Libya – that once was Africa’s richest nation under Gaddafi has come down to be a war-torn and one of the most troubled countries in Africa.

Let us take a look at 30 facts about Colonel Gaddafi starting with the economic reforms he introduced…

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 1-5 | Economic and Social Reforms

1. Gaddafi made electricity free for all Libyans. Yes, there were no electricity bills.

2. There was no interest on loans. Yes, Gaddafi’s regime was one where banks loaned money to Libyans without charging any interest rate. The loans were given by the state owned bank that had no external debt.

3. Before Gaddafi came to power, the literacy rate in Libya was a mere 25%. After he took power, he took aggressive measures of rural school building and many other educational initiatives. Soon, Libya had 83% literacy rate with 25% graduates.

4. If any graduate in Libya failed to get employed, Gaddafi government would pay him or her the average salary in his or her field until the person found a job.

5. Anyone in Libya who wanted to get into agriculture was wholeheartedly supported. Land, seeds, equipment, livestock, fertilizers – everything was given free of cost so that the person could start agricultural activities without any impediment.

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 6-10 | Economic and Social Reforms

6. If a Libyan wished to go for higher studies and there weren’t appropriate colleges and universities in Libya, the Gaddafi government would provide funds for sending the person abroad and pay 2,300 USD each month to cover expense of studies, accommodation, food, car allowance etc.

7. If medical facilities in Libya couldn’t address the medical needs of a Libyan citizen, government would fund medical treatments abroad with same 2,300 USD monthly allowance for accommodation, food, car allowance etc.

8. Medical treatments and education was completely free under his rule in Libya. Doctor charges to medicine charges to hospitalization charges – everything was borne by the government.

9. Gaddafi’s main income source was oil sales. A portion of what he earned through oil sales was actually given back to the Libyan citizens in form of direct credit to their bank accounts.

10. Gaddafi considered that a house is a basic right for every single Libyan citizen and worked towards ensuring that every Libyan has a house that is not owned by someone else.

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 11-15 | Economic and Social Reforms

11. Newly married couples received government aid to buy apartments and start their new life in a beautiful way and start a family. Such couples would receive USD 50,000.

12. Every mother who gives birth to a child gets USD 5,000 as support funds from Gaddafi government.

13. Any Libyan who wished to purchase a car would receive 50% of the car price as government subsidy. Rest 50%, the person had to pay on his or her own.

14. The desert country saw implementation of world’s largest irrigation project undertaken by mankind. He conceived and completed what is known as Great Man-Made River Project – an underground network of aqueducts and pipes spreading across the length and breadth of Libya.

15. Under Gaddafi’s rule, there was no such thing call external debt of Libya. The country had foreign reserves of USD 150 billion. Within the first 10 years of his rule, Gaddafi helped to skyrocket Lybian GDP from USD 3.5 billion in year 1969 to USD 20 billion in year 1979. Almost 600% jump.

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 16-20 | Life History of Gaddafi

16. Gaddafi’s full name was Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi. His exact birth date and year is not known.

17. The reason why his birth date and year are not known is that he belonged to a Bedouin clan that is known for not recording birth dates. It is assumed that he was born between 1940 and 1943.

18. The clan in which Gaddafi was born was really poor. They could barely manage a proper living and their primary job was herding camels and goats.

19. Even Gaddafi started off as a goat herder – a very humble beginning that he didn’t forget even after coming to power. He once cried on live television before he went to visit one of his old Bedouin friends.

20. Gaddafi was of schooling age when the Kingdom of Libya earned her independence. That time however, education was not free and the people of Bedouin clan didn’t send children to school. However, Gaddafi’s father knew that Gaddafi had talents and siphoned him out into a religious school far from where they lived.

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 21-25 | Life History of Gaddafi

21. The school was in Sirte but that place was far enough from Gaddafi’s birth place. So, he had to stay there instead of running back and forth between home and school.

22. Far from home, Gaddafi lived in the classroom and slept in a mosque. Despite this hardship, he managed to complete his schooling tenure of 6 years in just 4 years. He was a brilliant student.

23. When he was in school, ethnic divisions in Libya was a big challenge. It turned out that Arab boys who were better off used to bully Bedouin boys, who in turn used to take their anger out on Gaddafi. This is something Gaddafi didn’t like and he rounded up the Bedouin boys, encouraging them to take pride in their Bedouin culture and prevent and resist bullying. Turned out that Gaddafi soon became the alpha in school.

24. Soon, Gaddafi moved to Sabha along with his family members. It was a place deep in the desert and there he became the family’s first child attending high school.

25. In Sabha he joined another school where he made some lifelong friends and soon became involved in Pan-Arab movement. He was very much into street politics and by the time he was 18, he was already leading demonstrations on street. During one such demonstration, the demonstrators smashed a hotel window. The result was that Gaddafi was first detained and finally expelled from Sabha.

Muammar Gaddafi Facts: 26-30 | Life History of Gaddafi

26. Post schooling, Gaddafi made it into University of Benghazi where he found wealth of knowledge in the university library. He read everything he could find on French Revolution and some of the best works by Pan-Arab nationalists. He however deliberately didn’t join any known group that was under the radar of police.

27. Because Gaddafi didn’t participate in any organized political activity, he was taken into Libyan military academy and authorities simply overlooked the criminal record he had earlier during his teenage years.

28. After joining the Libyan military academy, Gaddafi went to England and trained as a signals officer.

29. In England, he was kind of rebellious and did not fraternize with British trainers at all. He refused to learn English except for some rudimentary phrases.

30. British secret reports say that Gaddafi was probably the man who killed Libyan academy commandant. They two were involved in public disagreements on a number of occasions.

Sources: 1, 2, 3

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