The end of a rogue state

Libyan modernizers and the opening up process
25th of october 2005
A Deutschlandfunk / Saarländischer Rundfunk co-production
Feature Programme
(duration: 56 minutes; audio excerpt: 6´40)

„All the Libyans should prepare themselves to be leaders because here we want to break the monopoly on leadership. All people here should have access to power, to the mecanism of decision making. That advantage shouldn´t be constrained to a certain family or cult or segment in the society.“ No less than Saif al-Islam, the son of the Libyan Leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, pronounces these daring words. He receives me in the garden of his family home in Beida, a libyan town near the Mediterranean, along the egyptian border. Saif has no official function in the Libyan government, but it is suspected that one day he will succeed his father, the 65 year old Leader of the Libyan Revolution. The former rogue state has managed to become reinstated on the international scene. Muammar al-Gaddafi distanced himself from terrorism, paid reparations to its victims, renounced weapons of mass destruction in addition to the atomic programme. The international sanctions have been lifted, allowing business people from the oil sector pour into the country. But the question remains: Do the international thaw and these visible developments – new restaurants, the first five star hotel, internet cafés – really mean substantial change? What are the barriers and hurdles in this opening up process which takes place after 36 years of Gaddafi rule? Right now nobody knows how far one can go. What is allowed and what is still forbidden? Lots of people go two steps forward only to make one step backwards.