Tripoli: Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has said the concept of civil society has no place in his country, just as a panel headed by his son Seif al-Islam was about to propose a law permitting the creation of non-governmental organisations.
In a televised address to the General People's Congress (GPC), Gaddafi on Thursday said the idea of a civil society "is a bourgeois culture and an imitation of the West that has no place here."
In the West, a distinction is made between "an official governmental society and a civil society (made up of) non governmental institutions," he said, while in Libya society is "entirely civil”.
After Gaddafi headed a coup that overthrew the monarchy, he introduced in 1977 the state of the masses (Al-Jamahiriya), built on people's congresses whose representatives sit in the GPC. This body, in theory, takes all political decisions, passes legislation and names ministers.
"Does a lawyer need a union to defend himself?" Gaddafi asked, after saying that unions were created for the weak.
However, he did encourage the creation of charitable organisations to help the "neediest" in society, such as orphans, abandoned women or even diabetics.
First Published: Friday, January 29, 2010, 10:31