Once banned books now available in Libya

    10:17 AM, Nov 21, 2011   |    comments
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    TRIPOLI, LIBYA (CNN) - For decades the late Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi kept a tight grip on power and public information. Now for the first time, books banned by the regime are on display in Tripoli. It opens a door, closed for so many years.

    This was part of their revolution, burning the dictator's ideology, his green book. Taking its place are books they'd never had a chance to see.

    With the end of Moammar Gadhafi's regime, Libyans can now enjoy things that were once banned, like books previously blacklisted, now on display at an exhibition in Tripoli.

    Abdel Minem is one of the organizers; he says Libyans are emerging from a dark era. He says, "It is time for people to see and learn different opinions and develop critical thinking to broaden their horizons, the upcoming period is an important one and we need to educate people."

    Some of the banned books include subject like "homosexuality" or like one on human rights in the Arab world, but the regime's ban was mostly on books of a religious nature, like those on Wahabbism and others on the Salafi movement.

    Even publications like this Tripoli guide, containing detailed maps of the capital were banned and organizers say the ban stemmed from the dictator¹s paranoia

    Once unthinkable political satire ridiculing the dictator, is now after 42 years of a cult of personality dictatorship, people here say Libyans are thirsty for a Gadhafi free education and culture.

    Seventeen-year-old Ziad is interested in books aboug history, especially his own. He says, "He didn¹t even let us know anything about the Libyan history because he didn¹t want us to know the Libyan famous personalities because he wants always to be like a god or something, he want us to worship him."

    Organizers hope their small exhibition will be the start of a new era, turning the page on decades of indoctrination.

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