TCS Daily

Where The Communist Manifesto Meets The Koran

By Michael Totten - January 5, 2005 12:00 AM

Moammar Ghaddafi's son Seif el-Islam, heir-apparent top-dog in the Great Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahariya, is pretending to pressure the Arab League to democratize. He's getting a lot of great press in the West (I goofed and gave him some, too), and he doesn't deserve a bit of it.

This little snippet from the New York Times makes the lad sound like some kind of hero.

"'Democracy is the future,' Mr. Qaddafi, 32, said at his Moroccan-style villa outside Tripoli, where he keeps a white tiger, Freddo, among other exotic pets. 'We have to be ahead of the world in our region, the Middle East, and not to be lagging behind, because the whole world is heading toward democracy.'"

Sounds great, doesn't it? As if he's a young reformer waiting in the wings to reform Pop's idiotic and oppressive regime. Don't get carried away. He and his old man have funny definitions of democracy and dictatorship.

Here is Moammar Ghaddafi in the manifesto he calls The Green Book.

"Political struggle that results in the victory of a candidate with, for example, 51 percent of the vote leads to a dictatorial governing body in the guise of false democracy, since 49 percent of the electorate is ruled by an instrument of government they did not vote for, but which has been imposed upon them. Such is dictatorship."

Clever. If multi-party elections lead to dictatorship, the solution must be...a one-party state. Better yet, a no-party state.

So Ghaddafi (who, make no mistake, holds absolute power in Libya) came up with what he calls "direct democracy" where there are no elections of any kind -- ever. Forming a political party is a hanging offense. His government is the only one that supposedly represents everyone because unity is imposed by force. Elections would destroy Libya's "direct democracy" by dividing it.

This is what his son Seif el-Islam means when he pressures the Arab League to democratize and when he boasts about it to foreign reporters.

I'm not putting Dad's words in the kid's mouth. He admits it himself in the very same New York Times interview because he doesn't know how to fake it.

"My father has been promoting the idea of direct democracy in Libya for almost 26 years now. It's quite rational and logical that we have to continue in that direction."

I suppose this might fool some people if they don't know anything about Libya's politics. But no one in the West will be fooled by the following:

"'We don't have an opposition -- there is no opposition,' he said, asserting that there were 'just five people' seriously opposed to the current government and that all of them were in the United States."

I know three expatriate Libyans in the U.S. who hate Ghaddafi's regime. It's hard to believe I've stumbled upon more than half of them. I could give you their names except that Ghaddafi is known to send death squads abroad to hunt down such people and kill them.

Two months ago I spent a week in Libya and can assure you I met more than five people who don't like Ghaddafi. Since one person in six works for the mukhabarat -- the secret police -- everyone who dared express his opinion did so only with the utmost caution in absolute privacy. Usually their antagonism was expressed in offhand comments and wisecracks. But one shopkeeper spoke passionately on behalf of most of this countrymen and said "we hate that fucking bastard, we have nothing to do with him."

To understand what Boy Ghaddafi is doing you have to know what his dad has been up to since he seized power.

Libya's state ideology as described in the Green Book is Ghaddafi's unexportable "Third Universal Theory," the first being capitalism and the second being communism. The Green Book is basically a merger between The Communist Manifesto and The Koran with all the religious references deceptively secularized. The results are, as might be expected, brutal and totalitarian.

He's been pushing this system on the Middle East and Africa for decades on a number of fronts. Newspapers throughout the Middle East, backed with Libyan money, push his agenda. He has doled out money and guns to sympathetic revolutionaries and terrorists. The only thing new here is the messenger, the rhetoric, and the (thankfully) less violent tactics. Ghaddafi's son deserves no credit, no applause, and certainly no good press in the West. It's time to call him out as the punk he is.

Michael J. Totten is a TCS columnist. Visit his daily Web log at


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