Though unlikely to open the floodgates towards some sort of reparations throughout the developing world, Italy’s decision to compensate Libya for its occupation of the country is interesting. It remains to be seen what action other countries, or at least their publics, will now take given that Italy apologized for its colonial past. Of course, any political move of this nature is quid pro quo and so while Italy will pay Libya, Libya will undoubtedly be expected to make some concessions of its own. Earlier in the week, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi proclaimed that his country would abandon its socialist policies and embrace the free market system. If that is the case, or even if Libya does decide to embrace the market, the 5 billion it is set to receive from Italy will be chump change in comparison to what multinational corporations will be taking out of the country in the decades to come.
From Time: Italy Pays Reparations to Libya
One of the perks of one-man rule is picking your national holidays. Libya’s Col. Muammar Gaddafi has invented a few fêtes for his North African nation since seizing power in a 1969 coup. Three years ago, during stalled negotiations with Italy over reparations for Rome’s colonial rule in Libya, he added another: Oct. 7 became “Vendetta Against Italians Day.”
Now, in an unprecedented act of contrition by a former European colonial power, Italy has formally apologized for its past injustices during its 30-year reign in Libya early last century, and agreed to pay $5 billion in reparations to Tripoli. Gaddafi promptly declared Aug 30 – the day the deal was inked in – Libyan-Italian Friendship Day.
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