Tripoli University was a place of torture during Gaddafi era

By Aishling Phelan

Tripoli University was a place of torture and rape during the Gaddafi era according to the new dean trying to reinvent the country’s most prestigious institution.

Dr. Feisel Krekshi said that when the rebels began excavating the campus last month they found war prisoners in shipping containers and documents full of intelligence on students.

He said that evidence that rape and torture took place on the campus premises had been discovered.

They found a bizarre office suite near Colonel Gaddafi’s favourite lecture hall that contained a queen-size bed, a jacuzzi and a gynaecological examining table. The new dean said that this was vital evidence that Gaddafi, on campus visits, summoned female students and raped them.

Others suggested that possible reasons for the gynaecological examining table included abortions, or repairing hymens.

“This was not a university,” Dr. Krekshi told four students recently. “It was a place of intelligence and torture, a weapon to support all oppression.”

Krekshi, who was secretly assigned the top university job by former rebel commanders, is now facing a huge challenge to live up to the expectations of the rebels and reshape the country’s most important higher learning institution.  It is the first hurdle the rebels face in proving that they are capable of taking control of institutions formerly run by Colonel Gaddafi’s Revolutionary Committees and building a democratic society.

They are in the process of reforming a curriculum that centred on Colonel Qaddafi’s eccentric Green Book and which forced students to spend years studying with a faculty he calls “90 per cent contaminated.”

However Colonel Gaddafi developed Libya into one of the Arab world’s most literate societies and almost half of students are women.

Education was mostly free but lacked diversity and failed to stretch beyond Gaddafi’s strict curriculum. Students lacked skills such as English and critical thinking and during the 1980’s dissident students were publically hanged on campus.

Krekshi said that academics and professors loyal to Gaddafi have been fired and he was now in the process of assessing the remainder of those loyalists who had previously described rebels as ‘rats’ – Colonel Gaddafi’s name for the rebels.

The rebels are torn between whether they should fire Gaddafi loyalists or keep them on so the campus can remain functioning.

Around 120,000 students boycotted their classes during the violent uprising. As the rebellion engulfed the country for months, pro-Qaddafi professors monitored conversations and many now want to penalise students for skipping class.

Students are now said to be modelling their hopes for the university on colleges and institutions they’ve seen in Hollywood movies such as American Pie 2.

 

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