“No one believed that a day would come when a colonial state apologises, expresses regret and pays compensation for its colonization”, said Colonel Muhammar Gheddafi after the ratification of the “friendly” agreement between Italy and its former colony, Libya. Yet, once again, Italy has paved the way. “Perhaps in a month or so even Great Britain and France will start paying off their former colonies?” many leftists commented ironically. We don’t think so cause none of them has a Rais in charge.
“Libya will benefit from its strengthened relations with Italy. Italy will have priority in oil and gas and other investments because it is a friendly state” continued the Sirte born strong man while addressing his followers on the 39th anniversary of the army coup d’etat that made him who he is now. In 1969 the plan was widely supported by the Italians, since the city of Palermo played a major role in hosting the main brains that were behind the toppling of king Idris.
Silvio Berlusconi, who hailed the agreement as a historic step toward reconciliation between the two countries, signed the deal on Saturday in the city of Benghazi. Italy will pay $5 billion in compensation for misdeeds during its 1911-1943 colonial rule. Don’t be fool by the promptness with which the two leaders signed the deal though, because bargaining went on for years. The five billion (dollars) compensation will be used in many ways: for example a highway will be build between the cities of Ras Jdeir e Assaloum. One could argue that Italy itself would need much better roads and infrastructures, generally speaking but that’s it. Also some two hundred houses will be build, the real estate market in Italy suffering from serious lack of stability and clearness, but never mind. Italy will also pay for the retirements fund of the Libyan soldiers that fought for the Italian Regal Army. Retirement funds have been a very complicated problem during the last years in Italy has anyone heard about that? There is also another issue that one should pay attention: Italy will provide Gheddafi with a radar to control the southern borders of Libya. Didn’t the Italians had problems with immigrant coming from Libya? Anyway… Others benefits for Gheddafi: the statue of Venus from Cirene, taken by Italy during the fascist regime. Not a big deal, ok, but how about the French government returning to us something that Napoleone has stolen long ago?
Now the flip of the coin: the Italians will have to pay this huge amount of money in almost 40 years and the Libyans will cooperate against illegal immigration, there will be a industrial joint plan (who’s going to benefit from that?) and the Italians will be treated as privileged customers when it comes to gas and oil (wow, with prices of these two things skyrocketing, we could get a discount?).
These agreement may have not be perceived as so important by the press worldwide, although it is really meaningful and not only for the Italians and for Mr. Muhammar Gheddafi. In fact it says a lot about the power of oil rich countries even when they clearly do not fulfill international democratic standards.
They say that the deal was meant to be a compensation for the misdeeds of the Italians during its colonial rule. As a matter of fact, though, the Italian-Libya benefited from a superlative economic development during the period (nineties-thirties to the forties) when Italo Balbo was the Governor. The 110.000 Italians (legal) immigrants in Libya built some of the most vital infrastructures such as the Via Balbia which crosses the all country. This is just an example, though, cause the Italians have built and done many important things during their rule. Harbors, airports, aqueducts, schools, sewers, buildings. When they left, at the beginning of the Second World War they didn’t take these things back, and the Allies occupied the country.
There’s more: in 1969 Libya has expelled about 200.000 Italians from its territory while keeping their things and savings for a total amount of two hundred millions of euro.
At this point we could say that Berlusconi has signed a very bad deal for his country? Not really. Why? Because you don’t exactly bargain with the Rais. Either you do what he wants you to do or he is your enemy and you don’t want that to happen. Remember the two missiles that The Colonel has launched against Lampedusa in 1986? What was the reaction of the Italian government at that time? There was no reaction.
I’ve heard that Berlusconi has did something terrible to his own country by signing that agreement, once again: you don’t bargain anything with the Rais, either you agree with him or you’re become a problem to solve.
Andrea Loquenzi Holzer