Muamar Gaddafi’s compound goes up in smoke. Are his environmental projects next?
Events in the Libyan capital of Tripoli have been happening so fast that even major news media sites like CNN and Sky News have had a hard time keeping up with them. But one thing is now certain –– Muamar Gaddafi, the eccentric, often “off the wall” leader of Africa’s richest oil country, and environmental “innovator” of projects like the “Great Man Made River” project, and the unique pivot irrigation farms in the Sahara Desert, is no longer in charge.
Have you seen this man?
With Tripoli now largely in the hands of rebel forces, whose ethnic backgrounds represent no less then 138 indigenous tribes scattered over the country’s vast territory, and Gaddafi’s own whereabouts still unknown, it is still far to early for both archaeologists and environmentalists to try to figure out what will be the destiny of the unique ancient sites in this country.
These include the rock paintings in the country’s southern mountains.
This also applies to the two previously named irrigation and farming projects, which have not only helped supply the country with food but much of its fresh water as well. Gaddafi, who used the color green to symbolize his 1969 revolution and more than 40 years of “iron fist” rule, also used this color to symbolize his “green visions” of environmentally changing a part of the world that has one of the most inhospitable climates.
It now appears that this new revolution may put most or all of these green projects on an indefinite hold.
Now just a “pipe dream”?
When the dust finally does settle, and the “sweet thrill of victory” becomes a bit bittersweet when salaries stop coming in to bank accounts, food becomes scarce in grocery stores and public “shuk” markets. And if the pumps for the Great Man Made River stop working, water will be scarce as well. In the aftermath of Gaddafi’s downfall, as when Saddam Hussein was defeated in Iraq, a lot of confusion and acts of looting will undoubtedly take place.
And unfortunately, as occurred in Baghdad, historical sites, especially museums, will be targeted by people not only wanting to take revenge for more than 40 years of persecution, but also to profit by selling the artifacts to antiquities dealers abroad. With so many tribes who have not been so friendly to one another, the country itself could wind up being split into several autonomous areas, like what happened to Yugoslavia several years back.
The interim rebel government has it’s hands full to hold things together and try to unite a people who only were previously “united” due to Muamar Gaddafi’s heavy hand.
As for the Great Man Made River, and for everyone’s sake in Libya, hopefully the water will continue to flow.
Read more on Gaddafi’s now uncertain green projects:
Will Libya’s Unrest Trash Their Historical Sites?
Libyan Violence Dampens Great Man Made River Project
Libyan Revolution Will End Gaddafi’s Green Visions
Libya’s Pivot Irrigation in the Sahara Proves Money Can do Anything