Who Wrote These Words? (The Answer)

Erasmo Calzadilla

The Green Book

The author of those provocative words against the educational dictatorship and elitism in sports was no other than Muammar al-Gaddafi, and those quotes were taken from his sacrosanct The Green Book.

No, don’t be surprised, the Gaddafi of The Green Book is also a fervent promoter of decentralization and direct and participative democracy.  For him, political parties and parliaments were nothing more than restricted democratic initiatives serving ambitious elites.

Seeing him as more than a left intellectual, people were moved by the Colonel’s efforts.  Today we now know how far all of this went.

The Green Book became a constitution and its teaching ended up being required in all schools.  Today in the “liberated” cities, enormous columns of green smoke billows up into the sky.  Those volumes are the pyres of the green monster.  Meanwhile on the other side, in the cities “loyal” to the “leader” (as he’s referred to in the Cuban press), red is the color of the columns of smoke rising from the bombs dropped by the NATO forces.

We should learn from this lesson that history is giving us.  Let me pull out my diary and jot down a few notes so I’ll never forget:

1. You can never evaluate a regime based on what it says about itself.

2. Direct democracy can be the mask or the easy bridge toward a dictatorship as bad as or worse than parties and parliaments.  We should be especially suspicious when those are promoted by charismatic leaders in some corner of the Third World.

3. The concentration of power in historic war veterans paves the way to other variants of dictatorship that are less committed to the popular interests, and/or to a foreign aggression from ambitious neighbors.

These are some very basic lessons but I believe they are worth consideration. Now, if we forget them, we’ll once again stumble into a mess.

2 thoughts on “Who Wrote These Words? (The Answer)

  • I am glad you are reading the Green Book, Erasmo… a couple of articles illustrating the two sides of its reality from mathaba.net: http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=626028 (The Gaddafi Problem: Arrogance, Pride, Media) and http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=627159 (How to write to Colonel Gaddafi?)… I myself still have faith in the Jamahiriya…

    Also have you heard of Democratic Education?… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democratic_education … one of the best examples being Summerhill School in England… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summerhill_School – “Don’t let them fool you, or even try to school you, oh no!” – Bob Marley

  • I was way off the mark! I should have expected, Erasmo, that you would NOT have chosen your quotes from amongst “the usual suspects” on educational reform, such as Paulo Freire, John Holt, Paul Goodman or eveb my beloved J.-J. Rouseau, but Gaddafi. Now confess, Sammy, how did you arrive at the correct answer? Google?!

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