By Pet Melliza/ The Beekeeper
Overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) fled back to the country as political repression and civil unrest mounted in Tunisia and Egypt early this year.
Terror still etched in their faces as TV cameras rolled on them upon arrival at the NAIA and they had common tales to tell: they were terrified by armed thugs that the rulers unleashed against the unarmed opposition.
Libya’s case is different. An arriving man tugging a child told reporters at NAIA he was only sending their children home after which he’d be back to Libya to rejoin his wife.
Leaving Libya is the last option for most OFWs. The Libyan government which runs oil rigs and refineries, banks, hospitals, schools and the transport system treat foreign workers well, and sees to it that private employers do the same.
That is not the case in other MENA states whose misleaders are mere surrogates of Western Powers which control strategic industries.
Unknown to us, the world’s biggest deposit of fossil water lies under the Sahara Desert, particularly, the countries of Libya, Egypt, Sudan and Chad.
Only Muammar Quadhafi committed the mortal sin against the IMF and WB, by embarking on the GMMRP purely on Libyan financial resources.
Libya is now in a position to combine the force of its water with another, oil, it being the second biggest source of oil in Africa, to assert its influence internationally.
Libya is now a world leader in hydrological engineering owing to its experience in establishing the “8th Wonder of the World” and the world’s biggest irrigation system – the Great Man-Made River Project (GMMRP).
It hopes to export its expertise to other African states to help them tap water below their desert sand (John Watkins, “8th Wonder of the World”).
GMMRP, the world’s biggest engineering venture at $26 billion, is a 4,000-kilometer pipeline of fossil water pumped from 600 meters below Libya’s desert. Aside from giving its 5-million people water, the same network of giant pipes also irrigates some 160,000 has of erstwhile desert now blooming with grains, fruits and vegetables capable of supplying not only the MENA but as well, the European markets.
“Water Privatizers” by Pepe Escobar invites readers to imagine the volume of the Nile River “flowing for 200 years”: that’s the ocean of fossil water in the Nubian Sandstone Aquifer where Libya, Chad, Sudan and Egypt are.
The GMMRP is network of pre-stressed concrete pipes, each four meters in diameter and weighing 75 – 78 tons. Libya had to build special roads to accommodate cranes each weighing 450 tons, which laid down the cylinders 20 feet underground.
The GMMRP’s III is near completion after which, Phases IV and V will follow. Though still incomplete, the GMMRP already brought tremendous changes in the lives of Libyans as the desert turn farmlands, valleys and slopes bloom with fruit and timber trees.
This recent development in Libya is sending jitters down the spine of Western Powers seeing Libya rising as competitor in the water and agriculture markets.
Muammar Quadhafi earlier angered Libya’s previous colonial masters in 1969 when he led the Great Fatah Revolution that deposed King Idris. Since then, he nationalized banks, utilities, oil and power, among others.
The “Three Sisters” – Veolia (formerly Vivendi), Zuez Ondeo (formerly Generale Des Eaux) and Saur – French companies that control more than 40% of the global water market, are the first to lose from the miracle that the ongoing GMMRP is bringing to Libya (Pepe Escobar, “Water Privatizers”).
Multi-national companies in control of food and water businesses in the MENA region have to pack up once the expanding farmlands of Libya start shipping food and water to fellow Arab countries, and eventually, to the European Union’s own turf itself.
They would surely be terrified of the prospect of their surrogates ruling neighboring states toppling from the wrath of their citizens now storming the streets calling for their overthrow.
Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen, Syria, Chad, Sudan and Saudi Arabia could replicate Quadhafi’s mortal sin of building sovereign and self-sufficient states. Western Powers hate that scenario, thus, their continued arming of their surrogates to quell unrest and, in contrast, launch air raids in Libya and armed their surrogates disguised as rebels.
NATO and the US are on the warpath neither to protect civilians nor install democracy. The Libyan imbroglio is the direct offshoot of imperialist greed to seize Libya’s wealth, oil and water foremost.