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From Garamantes cows to Brent


By: Mansour Abushnaf*

The Libyan Delphi Sibyl, photographed by Michele Angelo on the

Mansour Abushnaf
Mansour Abushnaf

ceiling of Capella Sestina, under the name of “Libyan Sibyl,” says in a prophecy to the Greeks: go to Libya, the land of good deeds, then it warns: those who go to Libya rivaling shall regret.

Herodotus, in his fourth book about his trips to Libya, recorded what he heard about “Garamantes.” The Libyan tribe who built the vast, rich kingdom, with an economy based on convoy trade “transit” between Europe and Africa, besides agriculture and herding, said that “their cows were shepherded backward due to the size of their horns.”

Garamantes pyramids stood still despite there has been three months since they were built, and despite the collapse of Garamantes, transit, and the extinction of cows after their pastures dried up.

The Green Mountain cows still roaming in the green fields, temples, castles and streets of Cyrene still robust and firm, Apollo springs still flow across valleys and corals of the Green Mountain.

The Libyan “Cyrene Nymph” captured Apollo’s heart, the Greek idol, took him to her paradise, to the frosts of the Green Mountain, as said in Greek myths and epics.

Herodotus called Msellata and Tarhouna Hills “beauty Hills” where olives flourished, olive mills spread across those hills, so oil flowed beside Garamantes cows’ milk and trade to Leptis Magna ports, and Oya the new Tripoli and Misrata.

In Girza, Bani Waleed, there are thousands of Obelisks and sculptures made by Libyan sculptors to photograph their daily lives, social and economic activities, plowing, harvesting, and grazing and other industries that dated back to early centuries when Frontiers civilization prevailed in Libya. That was established to protect trade roads between north and south, so goods, culture, arts and religions could flow smoothly.

Transit trade, agriculture, and grazing created a culture that expressed such stages with all the related beliefs and imaginations for life and universe, like believing in the other life, reward, and punishment, all of that was manifested in their burial methods and the way they built pyramids and obelisks to commemorate the deaths.

All those accomplishments belong to the “Neolithic” that separates between the prehistoric human and the modern human, and also between “Homer’s Odyssey,” books, arts and contemporary culture.

The last chapter of the Libyan Odyssey was the tragic end of Girza, as Bani Waleed inhabitants still remember all the details when Girza eclipsed, all people, trees, and animals turned into stones, all their details solidifies, spread across mountains, valleys and abandoned routes. That God’s punishment was due to their ruler’s tyranny and sins.

All aspects of Libyans live froze at the Neolithic age, their tools, clothes, customs, and traditions stopped there.

Who directed and tailored such epic was the Europeans, Libyans, since the first centuries, were cut off all methods of knowledge and culture they knew and developed for years, I mean “carving and wall drawings,” turned to oral culture.

In the “Deform Objects” for the Roman poet Ovid, we hear the screaming of nymphs for Libya after the springs, animal udders dried up, for which Herodotus and Homer once sang, and Michele Angelo drew.

At a United Nations report about the Libyan economy, human and natural resources, after the independence in 1951, the international aids, rental of military bases for America and Britain, and what Libyans inherited from a Neolithic subsistence economy, were the only future for Libya, despite doubting its usefulness, to build a state, besides Libyans faith in merciless, which were not included in the UN report.

In the Economist, BBC News, and Wall Street Journal, Homer singing is back “Libya the land of good available deeds” where oil is flowing smoothly from the south to the northern ports, where no one will compete with Libya in producing the flawless Brent except few from the English northern sea, and where oil and gas pipelines could easily reach Europe, like Garamantes prehistoric trade, that suddenly happen the miracle happen, Libyans have no other choice but to believe in it.

So Libyans entered the modern history via Brent during the sixties, dreaming of a prosperous life, exactly like their Garamantes ancestors, and as pictured by Odyssey, but have they achieved it. Despite the singing of Cyrene nymphs, which started warbling again with the flow of the Brent, Ovid wailing could be heard too.

Brent turned Libyans into displaced from villages and valleys to the cities, pile up in tin houses, forming poverty belts around cities that suffer consequences of poverty, occupation, and war, trying to get up depending on the Brent, and the kingdom conservative governments, as described in the press and literature, turned into public service government also depending on the Brent, so most Libyans were employed in state job, farmers and herders turned to police and military officers.

Little impurities Brent, despite all its achievements for Libyans, had killer defects, most dangerous the utmost confidence in that mixture, and its ability to provide all for free, from shampoo to democracy. Brent storms and flames are erupting now, just as desertification winds did thousands of years ago and burnt Libyans dreams of prosperity, Homers singers stopped singing, and the wailing of Ovid nymphs is heard loud once again over Libya whose springs dried up.

*A Libyan Intellectual and Writer

Translated By LIBYAPROSPECT: Source