September 01, 2008
Let us praise Libyan craftiness and all the lessons learned from Italy
I confess no small degree of admiration for the Desert Hookah Smoker, my early childhood guide, Si Mouamar Gaddafi. this little bit is an act of piracy worthy of .... Rome I think
It's delicious, extorting equity:
In a tent outside Benghazi on Saturday, Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's centre-right prime minister, returned a headless statue of Venus carted away by Italians decades ago and signed a friendship pact with Muammer Gaddafi, the Libyan leader.
The agreement, in which Italy pledges to pay $5bn (€3.4bn, £2.75bn) over 25 years in reparations through various projects - including a highway across Libya from Egypt to Tunisia - follows a decade of difficult negotiations under a succession of Italian governments.
Of course any pledge over 25 years by an Italian government should be discounted to present value using a discount rate appropriate to Italian finances, perhaps Medieval ones. Still, a win win - B Boy and the Guide get to bask in the PR of Large Numbers, and the Guide gets to pocket a decent amount of current exchange.
Almost as intriguing is is The Guide's "Extol[ing] virtues of capitalist reforms" as the FT arty puts it.
Well not quite:
Colonel Muammer Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, pledged to introduce free-market measures by the beginning of next year in an unprecedented speech extolling the virtues of capitalism.
“After four months, everything will be in your hands,” he told Libyans. “Do not be scared ... begin discussing this issue and prepare yourself ... because this is a crucial and inescapable matter.”
I wouldn't quite call oddball de-evolutionary popular messianic ownership calls extolling capitalism as we know it.
It sounds rather more like another Guide like bit of .... fancying an idea and then taking it to its illogical conclusion.
But I am sure this is going to be fun to watch.
Meanwhile, I need to program Saharan Hash TV back on my sat news rotation, the Guide has got a whole new thing going on, and I could do with a bit of Ramadan nostalgia over my old Green Book.
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I think my favorite recent Libya story was actually this one.
Posted by: dubaiwalla at September 1, 2008 09:08 PM
The lesson: no Sanussi is good Sanussi.
Posted by: matthew hogan at September 2, 2008 02:42 PM
“After four months, everything will be in your hands,” he told Libyans.
As if it wasn't already, you old joker you.
Posted by: alle at September 2, 2008 08:17 PM
The news bulletins on Libyan TV are really a treat - better than the "Not the 9 o'clock news" for those old enough to remember...
Posted by: Ibn Kafka at September 3, 2008 07:16 AM
Perhaps more significantly, apparently ENI gets oil exploration rights for Silvio's 5 big'uns. Can haz neocolonialism? Thanx!
Posted by: Alex at September 4, 2008 09:35 AM
Oh Neo colonial schmonial. They're paying proper capital for access. Actually I find it refreshingly transparent. Rather more than The Guide's going on about supposed liberalisation.
Now, let me second Bin Kafka's obs on Libyan TV. I love Libyan news. It really achieves a level of strangeness that's impressive. I'd say, "Imagine a TV news program done by a bunch of dudes who are at once very serious but also utterly whacked out of their skulls on kif."
Or not the 9oclock news.
Posted by: The Lounsbury at September 4, 2008 07:32 PM
Alle: I prefer the top picture in this article.