The Earth By Muammar Gaddafi

You can leave everything, except the earth. The earth is the only thing you cannot do without. If you destroy other things, you might not lose out, but beware of destroying the earth, because you will then lose everything.

The source of biological life, at which human life stands at the top, is food. The earth is the container for this nourishment, which comes in different types… solid, fluid, gaseous. The earth is its container, so do not break the only container we have, for which there is no substitute.

If you destroy agricultural land, for example, it is as if you are destroying the only vessel containing your food, without which you will not be able to consume it.

If you destroy agricultural land, it is as if you are destroying the only vessel containing your drink, for which there is no other receptacle, so how will you be able to consume it?

The earth is the lung through which you breathe, so if you destroy it, you will have no way to breathe.

If the rain falls down upon you without having land, you will not benefit at all. Therefore, the sky has no value for us without our having land.

If oxygen is found somewhere in outer space, what is the benefit if there is no earth? All of history’s conflicts throughout the ages have been led by man against man, or against nature, have been about land. Land has been the crux of the conflict. Even space has been used for the sake of land.

Truly, the earth is your mother; she gave birth to you from her insides. She is the one who nursed you and fed you. Do not be disobedient to your mother — and do not shear her hair, cut off her limbs, rip her flesh, or wound her body.

You must only trim her nails, make her body clean of dirt or filth. Give her medicine to cure any disease. Do not place great weights above her breast, weights of mud or stone above her ribs. Respect her, and remember that if you are too harsh with her, you will not find another.

Sweep the accumulated iron, mud, and stone from her back. Relieve her of the burdens that others have placed on her unfairly. Revere the cradle in which you grew up, the lap in which you lay.

Do not destroy your final resting-place, your place of refuge, or you are the losers[1] and you shall truly regret it.[2]

Land remains land only if we preserve its bounty. Land that is bountiful is truly useful land — guard it well. If we lay tile or pave it, build upon it, we will have killed it, and it will no longer give us its bounty. It will then become merely tile or asphalt, concrete or marble. And these things do not give us anything.

They do not grow plants or give us water; they are useful to neither man nor animal. The earth will then have died. Do not kill the earth — do not kill your very life.

The earth is water and nourishment, and the dead land that has been covered by buildings and construction does not give this water and nourishment. Thus, there is no life upon a dead earth.

What kind of people are they who kill the earth and bury it alive? Upon what kind of land will their life depend afterwards? Where will they live, and where will they obtain their food and drink?

The earth is something for which there is no alternative, so whither then are you going? [3] In heaven there are trees, and not roads, sidewalks, public squares or buildings.

Ruining the earth is its misuse, its transformation into something other than land good for producing water and food. Thus, those who turn agricultural land into land that cannot grow any thing are the ones who spoil this land. [4]


Implicit reference to many verses; especially Sura 5, verse 30; Sura 2, verse 27; Sura 103, verse 2.
Holy Quran, Sura 5, verse 31.
Holy Quran, Sura 81, verse 26.
Holy Quran, Sura 18, verse 94.

Excerpt from “Escape to Hell and Other Stories” by Muammar Qaddafi
©Stanke Publishers, NYC 1998

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