From 1977-2011, as every kid who ever looked at the flag page in those old dictionaries could tell you, Libya's official flag was a plain green field.

My question is whether this unusual design had any recorded political consequences. Since green is a color heavily associated with Islam, did any other Muslim-majority country accuse Libya of thematic appropriation, for instance?

  • The answer is likely "no". What would qualify as sufficient evidence to answer the question?
    – Brian Z
    Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 14:12
  • 2
    Maybe a newspaper clipping or some book mentioning a controversy (no matter how minor)? I don't expect that there was a major issue of course. I haven't been able to find anything on my own.
    – Qwokker
    Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 14:19
  • 3
    Do all questions need to allow for a definitive "No" answer? True, this question could remain unanswered for life if the answer is "No", but if it's "Yes", then someone could pipe up with something interesting. That possibility makes the question worthwhile.
    – komodosp
    Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 15:41
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    As for the title question, there may be an answer in What’s in a flag? Apparently, anti-Gaddafi protesters hated the green flag. The article also explains that within Islam green is the color for peace, so apparently no conflict with other Muslim-majority countries.
    – Rick Smith
    Commented Oct 20, 2023 at 15:59
  • 1
    Please, provide reference(s) for the claim that "green is heavily associated with Islam." It may be true in some, or even many, cultures.But it's certainly not universally true everywhere Politics.SE can be read. I know of 1 culture where such an association does exist and 1 where it doesn't. I don't know if it's a result of some history of stereotypes in the 1st or a history of ignorance in the other. Regardless, a claim like this needs some reference on a website like ours.
    – wrod
    Commented Oct 22, 2023 at 10:55

1 Answer 1


Q: Since green is a color heavily associated with Islam, did any other Muslim-majority country accuse Libya of thematic appropriation, for instance?

I could find no record of controversy or objection from other Muslim-led countries.

Q: Did Gaddafi's choice to have a plain green flag for Libya result in any political consequences?

The green flag came to symbolize Gaddafi's political control against which the opposition could rally.

In the increasing opposition during the later years of Gaddafi's control, the National Conference for the Libyan Opposition (2005) adopted the "former Kingdom of Libya's flag" as their standard.

The unrest of the Arab Spring saw the outbreak of the Libyan civil war (2011). Anti-Gaddafi forces also adopted the former flag as a standard.

The plain green flag was a symbol of Gaddafi’s political control over Libya and the former flag represented freedom.

“He [Gaddafi] seemed to imply in his speech that he was Libya, that he made Libya … [but they wish to say] there was a Libya that fought for its independence and that was the flag of Libya before you took power in what you called a revolution.”

And, displaying the former flag of Libya became a rejection of Gaddafi's control.

Elfeituri said the choice of the older flag as a symbol of the revolution came from a sense of “nostalgia”, of a longing for the “good old days”, where, in particular, law and order were maintained.

He said the protesters “do not want anything to do with Gaddafi”, and the green flag is closely associated with the Libyan leader.

Those sentiments to be borne out by protesters against Gaddafi’s rule.

“It represents a free Libya [because] that’s how it was before he [Gaddafi] came along. We just want someone that will listen to us,” said Amina, a 22-year-old student in London at a protest in that city.

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