Now that Moammar Kadafi is dead, the books that he and his regime banned in Libya are once again available to the public. Like many dictators who came before him, Kadafi made sure that Libyan natives would not be able to get their hands on a number of books and documents while he was in power. For more than 40 years, the Libyan people could not read books like The Secret Life of Saddam Hussein, Sex in the Arab World, and The CIA Files of Arab Rulers.
But according to this article by the L.A. Times, censorship in Libya is now a thing of the past. Last week, a ceremony was held at the Royal Palace in Tripoli, where the unbanning was celebrated. The Toronto Star reported on the ceremony.
“This place was used to distort culture. It was used to terrorize. And so this is the proper place to say Libya now is ready to embrace knowledge and thought without limits.”
Among the attendees was journalist and human rights activist Hassan al-Amin, one of the Gadhafi regime’s sharpest critics during his years of exile in London, who shared a bittersweet swirl of emotions as the books were revealed.
“This is a major moment for us because this is where we reclaim our intellectual freedom. We say goodbye to an era where free thinking was forbidden, where ideas were dangerous,” Amin told the Star.
It’s sad to think that censorship still happens around the world. But I’m glad to know that as this dictators are overthrown in the Egyptian and Arab region, freedom is being returned to its inhabitants.