Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation

February 21, 2011 at 06:21 (Middle East, Resistance) (, , , , , )

Professor David Held just sent an email with a public statement on Saif al-Gaddafi’s donation of £1.5 million to LSE Global Governance.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ARTICLE HAS MOVED TO OUR NEW WEBSITE

Dear Jerome Roos,

Thank you for your email and understandable concern.

The LSE has issued a statement about the whole matter which is now on its website. I have also just written a personal statement which I attach for you.

Yours sincerely,

David Held

Personal Statement by David Held

21 February 2011

I watched the speech last night by Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and was deeply disturbed by its failure to grasp the changing circumstances of the Middle East in general, and of Libya in particular. Rather than seeing the opportunity for reform based on liberal democratic values and human rights, Saif al-Islam Gaddafi stressed the threat of civil war and foreign intervention.

I have known Saif al-Islam Gaddafi for several years since he did a PhD at the LSE. During this time I came to know a young man who was caught between loyalties to his family and a desire to reform his country. In many discussions and meetings I encouraged the development of his reform agenda and subsequently sought to support it through research on the North Africa Programme funded by the Gaddafi International Charity and Development Foundation (see here).

My support for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was always conditional on him resolving the dilemma that he faced in a progressive and democratic direction. The speech last night makes it abundantly clear that his commitment to transforming his country has been overwhelmed by the crisis he finds himself in. He tragically, but fatefully, made the wrong judgement. As a result, the LSE has stopped new work on the North Africa Programme, although we will continue to pursue research and policy development, as we have done, on behalf of the democratisation process in the Middle East.

Clearly this is far from enough. Hundreds of peaceful protesters have been brutally murdered by Gaddafi’s stormtroopers and mercenaries, and all Professor Held can conjure up is that Gaddafi must have been “overwhelmed by the crisis he finds himself in”?

Please join me in demanding a more outspoken denouncement of Saif al-Gaddafi by David Held and the LSE, including the restitution of all money the Center for Global Governance has received so far (£300.000) and a public apology from David Held for his absurd statements in praise of Saif al-Gaddafi (more on this in an article coming later today).

It only takes 2 minutes to send an email to Professor Held and let your voice be heard. People are dying in Libya just to secure their most basic rights to freedom of expression and a dignified existence. We cannot allow our own academic and political elites to get away with hypocrisy and soft statements on the matter.

Also read:

LSE Director Quits over Gaddafi Ties
After 11 days of one reputation-wrecking embarrassment after another, the embattled dictator director of the Libyan London School of Economics, Sir Howard Davies, has finally stepped down over his emphatic toadying to the Gaddafi regime.

Did David Held, Lord Desai and the LSE Overlook Gaddafi’s PhD Plagiarism?
A careful Wiki-study of Saif al-Gaddafi’s PhD thesis at the London School of Economics yields an astonishing amount of suspicious, non-cited similarities to other texts.

Plot Thickens in LSE-Gaddafi Connection
Not just David Held and Howard Davies cuddled up to the Gaddafi regime. Anthony Giddens, former LSE Director and advisor to Tony Blair, also publicly defended the Libyan dictator back in 2007.

Gaddafi and the LSE: On the Wrong Side of History Once Again
The LSE’s cozy relationship with the Gaddafi regime is but one instance of a much larger problem: the systematic failure of Western liberals to practice what they preach. Whence this bizarre hypocrisy?

LSE Students Occupy Senior Commons Room
LSE students have occupied the senior commons room to demand the immediate restitution of Gaddafi’s blood money to the Libyan people.

Call upon LSE Students to Demand the Restitution of Gaddafi’s Blood Money
This is a plea to all LSE students and alumni to occupy the Old Theater and not to leave until the Center for Global Governance returns Saif al-Gaddafi’s £1.5 million donation to the Libyan people.

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19 Comments

  1. Anonymous said,

    I think Held’s statement is appropriate. Have you watched Saif al-Islam Gaddafi’s full TV statement?

    Saif al-Islam Gaddafi said he was sorry for the victims. His point of view might be wrong and hopefully there will not be civil war after the revolution, but I do understand his fear. Looking at the 20th century it is also understandable to fear intervention by western countries even though I personally don’t think the west would want to destabilize Libya.

    I think Saif al-Islam Gaddafi actually has good intentions, but because of his personal involvement and because of the complexity of the issue he took the wrong path.

    Anyway, I don’t believe he is a new Pol Pot and one should consider that he himself has not ordered the violence.

    As to Prof. Helds defence:

    1. I think it was right to look for dialog and to work together with Saif al-Islam Gaddafi – the people who died, did not die because of this collaboration.

    2. Listen to Held’s remarks/questions in the the panel discussion on democracy in Libya at 1h5min20sec: http://richmedia.lse.ac.uk/publicLecturesAndEvents/20100525_1830_libyaPastPresentAndFuture.mp3

    3. A recent article in openDemocracy:

    http://www.opendemocracy.net/kristian-coates-ulrichsen-david-held-alia-brahimi/arab-1989

    • Jérôme E. Roos said,

      Thank you for your extensive reply, it’s much appreciated. To a great extent I agree with what you wrote: Saif al-Gaddafi is indeed in an extremely complicated situation, torn between loyalties towards his father and loyalties towards his own ideals. David Held should also be commended for his approachability on the matter and his swift replies to people’s concerns. I believe that Professor Held, more than Gaddafi, really does have the best intentions at heart.

      That said, however, I think the severity of the situation calls for a more unambiguous denouncement of the violence. Professor Held has signaled his disappointment with the speech, but (at least in this statement) did not clearly condemn the excessive use of force by the Gaddafi regime, of which Saif is an unalieanable part (remember he was being groomed to succeed his father as the leader of the nation).

      In this situation, I think we would all do well to push for as unequivocal and strong a statement from the LSE as possible. This will have to involve the restitution of the 300.000 pounds to the Libyan people — perhaps, as the LSE Student Union suggested, in the form of a scholarship fund for Libyan students. I don’t think anyone’s words can be taken seriously as long as their bank accounts are balanced by virtue of having received, quite literally, blood money.

      These are just my personal views though, and I am sharing them to inspire people to action, but I do not in the least sense expect everyone to agree with me on the issue and I appreciate you taking your time to share your thoughts with me!

      Wishing you all the best,

      Jerome

      • Anonymous said,

        In the statement
        (http://www2.lse.ac.uk/newsAndMedia/news/archives/2011/02/Activities%20of%20the%20North%20Africa%20Programme%20v2.doc) it says:

        “The funding for the Programme was raised by the GICDF from private sector companies, none of which are owned or controlled by Libya.”

        and

        “he funds so far have been used to develop a research programme on North Africa, focused on politics, economics and society. To date, the research projects being pursued include work on human rights, women and development, democracy and civil society, and economic diversification. Apart from this, the monies are reserved for public lectures and seminars at the LSE, sponsoring Libyan students to attend LSE Summer School, PhD studentships, and academic exchange with Libyan scholars.”

        _______

        For me it is still unclear where the many came from exactly, but it seems as if it did not come from the Libyan people and it was spent at least partly for scholarships. Really I believe it should be made 100% transparent where the money came from and if the scholarships were garnted to students who deserved it.

        As to the condemnation of violence against the protesters I couldnt agree more with you!

        All the best 2 you too.

  2. Anonymous said,

    …but I might still change my mind as I am not a Held- nor a Gaddafi-Expert.

    Your reporting on the case was/is fabulous!
    thx!

  3. Gaddafi and the LSE: On the Wrong Side of History Once Again « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] knew what to do. The liberal defenders of democracy suddenly found themselves on the offensive, apologizing and fending off accusations rather than showing solidarity with the world’s new torchbearers of [...]

  4. VM said,

    “My support for Saif al-Islam Gaddafi was always conditional on him resolving the dilemma that he faced in a progressive and democratic direction.”

    It’s amazing the dilemmas that can be resolved with £1.5 million.

  5. LSE Students Occupy Senior Commons Room « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation Professor David Held just sent an email with a public statement on Saif al-Gaddafi’s donation of £1.5 million to LSE Global Governance.  [...]

  6. Call upon LSE Students to Demand the Restitution of Gaddafi’s Blood Money « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation « Reflections on a Revolution said, [...]

  7. Plot Thickens in LSE-Gaddafi Connection « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] Popular Call upon LSE Students to Demand the Restitution of Gaddafi's Blood MoneyPersonal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi's LSE DonationGaddafi and the LSE: On the Wrong Side of History Once AgainPlot Thickens in LSE-Gaddafi [...]

  8. Lamis said,

    I think the LSE should continue and go ahead with the program. Maintain absolute transparency and swifltly provide numerous scholarships to students from the MENA region. Someone MUST benefit from all this and giving away the money won’t help anyone. I realise that the Qaddafi went to school at LSE, but I also know that when regular people go to university, they usually come out with more sense and a real education! LSE wash away your sinse by educating the people of the MENA! It is their money afterall…

    • Jérôme E. Roos said,

      Dear Lamis,

      Thank you for sharing your views. I don’t think anyone would want the money to just be given away. Fully agree that the LSE should focus on education of people in the Middle East and North Africa! This is why I believe that the right thing to do would be to re-invest the 300,000 pounds in a scholarship fund for Libyan students from less fortunate backgrounds than Saif al-Gaddafi.

      Thanks again for sharing your thoughts!

      Jerome

  9. George Purcell said,

    What is most astonishing to me is the appalling quality of the work–indeed, of the basic thesis. How is that mess PhD level work at LSE?

  10. (Old) Call upon LSE Students to Demand the Restitution of Gaddafi’s Blood Money « ISM-UK said,

    [...] Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation Professor David Held just sent an email with a public statement on Saif al-Gaddafi’s donation of £1.5 million to LSE Global Governance. [...]

  11. Gaddafi, en ledare som lyssnar och förstår | Mothugg said,

    [...] hans student Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, son till Moammar Gaddafi, fått en doktorsgrad vid LSE och donerat 1,5 miljoner brittiska pund till den Global Governance Research Unit vid LSE som Held [...]

  12. Un Chien Andalou said,

    This is the same David Held of the LSE, which almost had a Blair School of Government. In many ways, all the “global governance” fluff that Held talks about is often compromised when large donations come into the picture. Am sure there are other donors who just as suspect!

    http://debaser84.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/when-words-come-back-to-bite-you/

  13. LSE Director Quits over Gaddafi Ties « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation Professor David Held just sent an email with a public statement on Saif al-Gaddafi’s donation of £1.5 million to LSE Global Governance. [...]

  14. Did David Held, Lord Desai and the LSE Overlook Gaddafi’s PhD Plagiarism? « Reflections on a Revolution said,

    [...] Lord Desai and the LSE Overlook Gaddafi's PhD Plagiarism?Plot Thickens in LSE-Gaddafi ConnectionPersonal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi's LSE DonationStudents Occupy LSE to Protest Gaddafi LinkGaddafi and the LSE: On the Wrong Side of History Once [...]

  15. Robert said,

  16. Libya, intellectuals and democracy: an open letter to Professor David Held » On Books, Movies and Other Stuff said,

    [...] ‘Personal Statement by David Held on Gaddafi’s LSE Donation’ (February 21, [...]

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