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Keywords:

  • geopolitics;
  • Libya;
  • subaltern

In the wake of armed intervention and civil war in Libya, this commentary considers the changing ways that Libya has been represented in Western narratives. These include being part of a new ‘Roman Empire’ in Mussolini's geopolitics, loyal pro-Western ally in the early Cold War after Libya's independence in 1951, ‘rogue’ and ‘terrorist’ state in the 1970s and 1980s, then success for Western sanctions and diplomacy and subsequently commercial opportunity and cooperative partner in constraining African migration to Europe in the 2000s. The commentary develops the category of subaltern geopolitics. It begins and ends however with issues of memory and massacre: in Libya and Lockerbie, Scotland.