Col. Moammar Kadafi’s portraits hang from the walls of the middle school. All of the walls.
He’s on horseback. He’s in uniform. He’s a young army commander. He’s a fatherly leader of the nation.
His words, spelled out in the collection of occasionally incoherent aphorisms called the Green Book, are woven into weekly lessons. His praises are sung by the students, who chant pro-government slogans for the benefit of a group of visiting journalists, as well as the teachers overseeing the classrooms at Zahra Fatah middle school in central Tripoli.
“We teach them that the power is in the hands of the people,” said Najia Arabi, a political guidance counselor who serves as one of the school’s ideological minders. “Kadafi gave us the freedom, and I feel the freedom.”
But that freedom, apparently, does not mean the freedom to think differently, or even to just be a carefree kid.
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