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Tuesday, 10 October, 2000, 11:57 GMT 12:57 UK
Gaddafi's Libya: African brother or simply racist ?
During the past week, thousands of African immigrants living in Libya have been attacked by local residents. Some have had to take refuge in their respective embassies.
So how do you regard Gaddafi's Libya? As a beacon of hope and unity for Africa? Or as a country where racism is as rife as anywhere else?
This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.
As a Libyan I fully support the revolts that are taking place against Gaddafi's "imported" criminals. Our society, culture and economy is being raped. Ask Mr. Gaddafi: Where is the 350 billion dollars of our national budget missing?
The name 'Gaddafi' is an omen and a sign of bloodshed. It connotes terrorism and criminality par excellence. It portends evil to Africa and to the world at large. How can you expect good thing to come out of evil? Gaddafi has not represented any good to Africa. Truly, the only people he can lead are the Libyans since 'in the land of the blinds, one-eyed man is the king'.
Robert A, Liberia
Let's be realistic. Libyan society has to protect the values that made the country such a source of admiration - hence the influx of immigrants. They don't want a repeat of South Africa where crime and social unrest is out of control. My advice is, don't blame Gaddafi and the Libyans, blame your leaders back home.
Gaddafi is a troubled leader for
a troubled country
in a troubled continent.
I still regard Gadaffi as an African hero and a
strong leader who is at the vanguard of African
unity. It is up to every independent country
to uphold the constitution of their land and bring to
justice anyone who violates the law.
I would not go that far to call Libyans or Gaddafi racist because we Africans should remember who our friends were during the apartheid era.
Gaddafi played a key role in the anti-apartheid era.
Therefore, he should at least get credit for that.
Let us be more realistic about this issue. If you commit a crime, you have to pay the consequences, that is all that's happened in Libya.
Every country has a right to protect their society by any means. I support the Libyan people and their government. Africa would be a better place today if we had more leaders like Gaddafi.
Charles Puyue Karrow, Liberia/ USA
Those who buy into Gaddafi's promises, no matter where they come from,
are either ignorant of his reality, or else they know it but choose to
gamble with their own and their citizens' safety and future. It is
foolish to think that the governments of Africa are ignorant of
Gaddafi's record. They have no one to blame but their own greed and
The truth is out. There can never be any 'African Unity' with the Arabs of the Maghreb. They see themselves as Middle Eastern and not African.
The recent deportation of a few Africans from Tripoli shouldn't nullify Gaddafi's credit and struggle towards uniting African nations. A country is entitled to take its own legal measures when people violate its laws and that is what happened to the illegal African immigrants.
Is Gaddafi a racist? Is the sky blue? Is it cold in the Antarctic? People often wonder why there are so many wars in Africa. Well, the answer is in Tripoli. Gaddafi has sown, financed, and midwifed conflicts everywhere in Africa. It is obvious that the lives of black Africans mean nothing to him. In my book, that makes him a racist.
Gaddafi's acts are directed by his urge to gain popularity so that he can have some political gains in future. He is committing a heinous crime against the human race and doesn't know that he is causing an embarrassment to his country!
Daniel Berhane, Eritrea/ UK
African nations have to be strong economically before unity can be achieved. We have to strengthen regional economies, through trade, market reforms, banking and currency evaluation before true African unity can exist.
Libya never has been and never will be a racist country. I am proud of being a Libyan and it really hurts to be called a racist. What's happened in Libya is that we try to protect our society from those thugs who attempt to offend our generosity and integrity. We are a very conservative society and we will never allow people to abuse our religion by selling alcohol and drugs.
We are proud of our leader and we will support him for achieving his goals.
I think most African leaders are afraid of Gaddafi and it's very sad for the continent.
Mustafa Saleem, Libya
Gaddafi is neither a beacon of hope and unity for Africa nor the Arab world - that position is simply too big for him. The problem with Mr Gaddafi is that he is not a politician; he is more like a traditional leader who just happened to be in the wrong job. He lacks any consistency in politics and he hardly takes anything seriously. Even people who don't have any grudge against him don't trust him because of his sudden change of heart, often without a good reason. As for racism, I think the people of Libya are like any other people in the world.
Gaddafi should work with other Africans on what they want and not what Libya and Gaddafi want for the continent.
Let the Libyans and Gaddafi prove their love for Africa by at least accommodating other Africans in Libya.
Gaddafi is just simply protecting his home front from colonial looters which I believe we all have seen in the past. If he is doing or trying to make fellow Africans to be conscious, does that make him a racist?
Hashim K Daboh, Sierra Leone
Is it racism if someone doesn't want to be offended by his religion and dignity?
No of course. I think what Gaddafi is saying no to alcohol, prostitution and drugs; which are already destroying Islamic culture.
How do you believe that Gadaffi is interested to unify Africa? He is racist and has a hidden agenda that is simply to spread his philosophy or "Libyanism" to Africa. He is trying to exploit some poor African nation. He is trying to be popular in Africa by donating money to some poor nation. If he wants African Unity what happen in Libya should not be occur. I really feel sorry to those African brothers who become victims in Libya. Gaddafi should be ashamed of himself.
James Cameron, UK/ Tripoli
One only has to look the war in Sudan and slavery in Mauritania, to know that there is a deep divide between Arab and Black Africa. If you ignore the grandiose statements of people like Gaddafi, the reality is that Arab Africa looks to the Middle East and the Mediterranean as its natural home not Africa. A lot of North African consider themselves, nationals of their country first, Arabs second, and Africans last if at all.
Daud Mohammed, Somalia
Gaddafi is too arrogant. And his behaviour has also made Libyan people blindly arrogant. Such arrogance has simply become racism. Gaddafi is too irrational and the only people he can lead are the Libyans.
In my association with Arabs, l think they are the biggest racists l have ever known. The recent assault on African immigrants in Libya is a heinous crime and entirely contradicts the preaching of Gaddafi's Africanism.
Gaddafi, a beacon of hope and unity in Africa? What a joke. Does he think that the world has forgotten that he still has blood on his hands? African leaders are afraid of him. They do not want to annoy him knowing fully well that he is capable of committing heinous crimes in any part of Africa.
During slavery, Africans were sent both East (to the Arab world) and West to the Americas. The slaves endured inhumane treatment on both sides, but several generations later, those that went to the Americas at least claimed some of their freedom. But the slaves that went East to the Arab world were not that lucky. I am not saying all Arabs are racists, but the majority look down on Africans, based on their mistaken race profiling, which is there are whites, then Arabs, finally Africans!
Gaddafi's Libya is no more a beacon of hope and unity for Africa than a mere country where racism is as rife as anywhere else or even more.
How can the Libyan authorities allow the local residents to attack their fellow African immigrants, harassing and intimidating them in the eyes of the so-called African freedom fighters? I understand that it is getting worst to the extend that some immigrants have had to take refuge in their respective embassies. What a total embarrassment and disgrace to Africa!
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