John Swinton, the doyen of the New York press corps, upon his retirement ,
made the following speech:
“There is no such thing, at this stage of the world’s history in America,
as an independent press. You know it and I know it. There is not one of you
who dare write your honest opinions, and if you did, you know beforehand
that it would never appear in print. I am paid weekly for keeping my honest
opinions out of the paper I am connected with. Others of you are paid
similar salaries for similar things, and any of you who would be foolish as
to write honest opinions would be out on the streets looking for another
job. If I allowed my honest opinions to appear in one issue of my papers,
before twenty four hours, my occupation would be gone. The business of the
journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outright, to pervert, to vilify,
fawn at the feet of Mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his
daily bread. You know it and I know it, and what folly is this toasting of
an independent press? We are the jumping jacks, they pull the strings and
we dance. Our talents, our possibilities and our lives are all the property
of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.”
I do understand that you have to eat like all of us and therefore must keep
your mouth shut. You are Jewish and so am I. (Sephardic).
For the sake of truth, I will give you here another side to the Libyan
story. Just imagine a country where there is no electricity bill.
Electricity is free to all its citizens. There is no interest on loans,
banks were state owned and loans given at zero percent interest by law.
Having a home was considered a human right. All newlyweds received US$ 50
000 from the govt to buy their first apartment and to help them start a
family. Education and medical treatments were free. Before Qaddafi, 25 % of
the population were literate. Today this figure is 83 percent. Should
Libyans want to take up farming, they would receive land, a farmhouse,
equipments, seeds and livestock to kick start their operation, absolutely
free of charge. If citizens could not find the education or medical
facilities they needed, the govt would fund them to go abroad, free of
charge, and would get some US$2,300 per month for accommodation and car
allowance. Cars were government subsidized to the tune of 50%. Fuel prices
were $0.14 per litter. The country had no external debt and its reserves
amounted to some $170 billion, now frozen globally plus some 27 tons of
gold, which the new regime found safely in the National Bank. Any graduate
unable to find a job would get the average salary for the profession, as if
he/she was employed, until employment found. A portion of oil sales were
credited once a year to every citizen bank account. A mother who gave
birth, immediately got some $5000. Forty loaves of bread cost $0.15. 25% of
citizens have a university degree. An immense project bringing water from
aquifers in the south made it available all over the country, free of
That is what that “tyrant” Qaddafi gave to his people. There are some 150
tribes in Libya and a strong hand was necessary if the country was to
remain in one piece. Every citizen was in possession of a military weapon.
Qaddafi was not frightened of his own people. The so called rebels who took
over, so we are told, would not have lasted a few days without NATO air
power, British and French commandos and thousands of mercenaries. Those are
Now another Karzai has been installed in Tripoli, and the country can be
plundered at the victors’ whim and fancy. It takes $1 to extract a barrel
of Libyan oil and today’s price is over $100. TOTAL, the French company has
already grabbed some 30% of the Libyan state oil company. BP is starting
exploration. And of course massive contracts for the reconstruction of
Libya will be handed over to US and European companies. Of the sovereign
fund, only some 1.2 billion have been released out of the $170 billion.
With the state of the European economy, I doubt very much if Libya will see
the rest any time soon. Now Libyans are free as you say, but as Janice
Joplin used to say…freedom is just another word for nothing else to lose,
as Libyan queueing for funds at their bank’s door are finding out. Qaddafi
is gone and so are the perks. What will be left is a terrible civil war.
The price of democracy!
“It is the joyous jiggling dance Americans do –USA! USA!- when their
government slaughters someone illegally. It is primitive, but it is
positively Libyan”. Wrong. It is positively American! Just saw a movie on
the training of the US Army before going to Iraq. Soldiers running and
singing:”Kill the women! Kill the children! “Then we are shown the results
when civilians are gunned down in the streets by those braves. All on film.
When they come back home, realising what they have done, they just commit
suicide! These are ordinary Sunday soldiers with families.
We can hide the truth with prison sentences, but the truth eventually comes
through, and unfortunately for us we cannot plug the dyke any longer.