Who hears about the volume of oil production in Libya and its population that barely touches six million inhabitants, and see the luxurious cars that drive the Libyans can imagine that the standard of living in this country is similar to the European countries or at least to the Gulf countries.
However, the one who crosses the border post of Salloum towards Libya, will be shocked by the poverty along the way to Benghazi, the houses are rudimentary, resembling Bedouin shelters. The shops are extremely simple. There is only what you need. No luxurious goods or skyscrapers. Some Libyans even live in slums.
The revolution in Libya has been triggered, as the revolution in Egypt, due to unemployment and rising living costs, plus the desire to see the country open up to democracy.
Saad, a young 34 year old Libyan who joined the ranks of insurgents to defend Benghazi against any possible attack from Qadhafi's side, says that the poverty rate in Libya has reached over 70%. "Qadhafi has reduced the price of cars and luxurious items to give a false impression that the Libyan people live in prosperity”, he adds.
He said that the Libyan citizen's income does not exceed 500 dinars, while Qadhafi has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on its foreign policy adventures. According to Saad, many young people like him cannot marry because they are unable to obtain housing or cover the costs of marriage.
Saad wonders why Qadhafi has spent billions of dollars into the war in Chad in the 80s, noting that the Libyans do not know why their country has been involved in this war. Saad has not found another justification for this war other that Qadhafi's desire to get rid of a generation of brilliant young Libyan who could build a modern Libya.
"Qadhafi said his monthly salary is 450 dinars, then from where comes the money with which his family was able to buy these palaces abroad which sells for hundreds of millions of dollars?", he asks.
For his part, Mohammed, a teacher of Benghazi, said that Qadhafi has deliberately destroyed education in Libya so that he can lead an illiterate people. "Behold the Libyan education in schools, students learn only what's in the Green Book and Qadhafi's achievements at the same time the country suffers from a shortage of doctors and engineers", he says.
Mohammed added that Qadhafi has also destroyed the Libyan economy. "The Libyans are deprived of the wealth of their country while Qadhafi's family and friends have all the advantages". Mohammed gave the example of the region of al-Jabal al-Akhdar, the mountain region that could be the granary of wheat to Libya. "Qadhafi has deliberately neglected this region, one of the most beautiful natural areas of Libya". This Libyan teacher found himself forced to use his own car as a taxi so he could have something to live. "I cannot understand how Qadhafi has dared to pay 9 million dollars as compensation for a dead dog in the Lockerbie plane, while the Libyan people live in extreme poverty", he demands.
For his part, Sheikh Saadi, an old man from Ajdabiya who joined the revolutionaries, regret the days of King al-Sanusi, who used the first cargo of Libyan oil to build roads in his country since the Tunisian border until the Egyptian border. "Qadhafi has used the oil to buy support from some African leaders and to recruit mercenaries to protect his regime", he said.
Sheikh Saad remembers when Qadhafi led his coup against King al-Sanusi, the latter preferred to leave the country without firing a single bullet or destroy a building in his country, while Qadhafi is capable of destroying all the country to stay in power.
Sheikh Saadi confirms that the law "From where did you have your fortune" applied by Qadhafi in 1996 was not intended for social justice, but to fill the coffers of Qadhafi. "Everything that was confiscated was not to the State, but went to Qadhafi accounts abroad or was granted to one of his followers".
For Bashar, a Libyan expert in high technology who studied abroad and returned to Benghazi after the outbreak of the revolution to provide assistance to the insurgents, the revolution is an extension of the rebellion of the Arab people against the tyrants who govern, a movement that began in Tunisia and has been raging in Egypt.
Bashar, who attended the Egyptian revolution, hoped that the revolution in his country went peaceful as that of Egypt and Tunisia, but the Libyan dictator chose to kill his people to stay in power".
According to Bashar, it's impossible now to withdraw because it will lead to a massacre of Qadhafi's opponents. He sees that the failure of the uprising in Libya will have negative impacts on the awakening of peoples throughout the Arab world. "We now have to win or die", he says.