Perspectives

The Gadhafi I Know - A Commentary on the Libyan Leader

By A. Akbar Muhammad | Last updated: Oct 19, 2011 - 5:21:00 PM

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(FinalCall.com) - Listening and looking at the news reports on Libya since the turmoil began earlier this year, the corporate media portrayal of the North African country and its unjustly deposed leader is a depiction that's nowhere near the Muammar Gadhafi I know. I traveled to Libya for the first time in February, 1977 with Minister Louis Farrakhan, the leader of the Nation of Islam and reflecting on our relationship with Muammar Gadhafi and the Libyan people that spans decades, it is disheartening to hear these reports which imply that in 42 years, Muammar Gadhafi has done nothing for Libya and his people. I thought long and hard about how the Western press shaped how Muammar Gadhafi is seen by the world since the uprisings against the Libyan government started in March.

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I was a member of the Nation of Islam for nine years when Muammar Gadhafi came to power on September 1, 1969 in what later became known to the world as the Great Al-Fateh Revolution. Young people engaged in struggle worldwide were proud of the group of army officers led by the 27-year-old Muammar Gadhafi. He was inspired by Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt and the Free Officer Movement that swept King Farouk out of power who was more concerned with pleasing England and Western interests than caring for the needs of his people. So it was in Libya where the young officers took power from its monarch, King Idriss Al-Sanousi, another minion of foreign powers. At the time of the Al-Fateh revolution, the Libyan people were poor and only 15 percent of the people had an education. We all took notice when the young officers led by Brother Gadhafi nationalized the oil industry in Libya; boldly closed the American and British military bases there and banned alcohol because the Libyans were an Islamic people.

The Gadhafi I know is the Gadhafi who came to power to change the power equation where outside forces were taking advantage of Libya's rich oil deposits for their own benefit while the Libyan people suffered in abject poverty and squalor.

The Gadhafi I know sent young Libyans to school all over the world as he strengthened and established schools all over Libya. The Gadhafi I know made free housing available to the masses of his people in Libya. The Gadhafi I know embarked on a great agricultural project called the “Green of the Desert” to grow produce to feed his people and cut down on importing food, taking Libyan mouths out of foreigners' kitchens. The Gadhafi I know embarked on one of the greatest engineering feats of the world called the “Great Man-Made River.”

The Gadhafi I know reached out to those who were struggling against oppressed rulers in the Arab and African world as well as other parts of the world. In generosity and solidarity, he used proceeds from the wealth of Libyan resources to support the movements, giving many of their causes international exposure. The Gadhafi I know gave international recognition to the plight of Indians in the Western Hemisphere and gave support for the Native American cause.

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After being in power for only three years—because of the notoriety of Muhammad Ali, especially in the Muslim world—the work of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad came to Brother Gadhafi's attention. In 1972, he made available a loan to the Nation of Islam to purchase what is now known as Mosque Maryam, the Nation of Islam headquarters and flagship mosque—this is the Gadhafi who I know.

The Gadhafi I know continued to open his hands and country to the Honorable Elijah Muhammad through his students, Imam Warithudeen Mohammed and the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. He loaned the Nation of Islam $5 million dollars for economic development projects in the 1980s. He helped finance “World Friendship Tours” that aided Minister Farrakhan to globally spread the message of atonement, reconciliation and responsibility that undergirded the 1995 Million Man March.

The Gadhafi I know wrote in his Green Book about the rise of the Black man, a vision that many of his own people disagreed with which is reflected in the current war against his government. Black workers in Libya are now suffering persecution from racism under the guise of being accused of being mercenaries hired by Muammar Gadhafi.

There are hundreds of thousands of Libyans in a population of six million who are Black. The Gadhafi I know reignited an idea of the great Africans like Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, Sekou Toure of Guinea and others, who yearned for the United States of Africa. Brother Gadhafi pushed the transformation of the former Organization of African Unity into the African Union as a necessary first step towards a United States of Africa. Who will pick up this banner now that the Transitional National Counsel backed by foreign powers has waged a war that removed Bro. Gadhafi from his seat of power? The Gadhafi I know is a leader who is responsible for many African leaders being in power in today. Those leaders know who they are and without the help and encouragement from Muammar Gadhafi they never would have achieved becoming leaders of their nations.

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South African President Nelson Mandela (left) clasps hands with Libyan leader Col. Moammar Qadhafi during Mr. Mandela's arrival in Tripoli, Oct 22, 1997 In background is Mr. Qadhafi's house which was attacked by U.S. fighters in April 1986. AP Photo/Mohamed El-Dakhakhny
The Gadhafi I know gave recognition to African Traditional leaders and for the first time in history brought them all together at conferences held in Tripoli and other African nations. The Gadhafi I know brought hundreds of thousands of people together to celebrate Mawlid al-Nabi, the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him). In the midst of volatile social and political climates, he called hundreds of thousands of Muslims together in places like Niger and Nigeria, leading them in prayer and preaching the importance of their unity.

The Gadhafi I know survived the most expensive assassination attempt in history by the United States government in April 1986 when America bombed Tripoli in an attempt to kill him. The Gadhafi I know suffered 14 years of devastating sanctions that his people survived, yet opened his borders to all that would come.

The Gadhafi I know financed the great film called “The Lion of the Desert” about the Libyan liberation fighter Omar Mukhtar who led and won the war for independence against Italy. He also financed the classic movie called “The Messenger” on the life of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him).

The Gadhafi I know opened an Islamic college and brought students from every corner of the Muslim world, mostly from African nations and gave them a free education so they could return to their countries and contribute to development and advancement.

The Gadhafi I know may not have been perfect as no man is perfect. Perfection is only found with God, but he struggled to do what he believed was right to assist the suffering masses and encourage them in their opposition to unjust rulers and colonial masters who exploited and oppressed them. The corporate controlled media has branded Gadhafi, so people who don't know him will think the worst of him. I recently returned from a conference in Iran, where one of the speakers from the TNC of Libya accused Gadhafi of killing 400 children by infecting them with AIDS. These are the kind of vicious lies that people let stand and allow others to attack a man who tried doing the best he could for his own people. I challenged this speaker by asking him, “Are you saying to this audience that Gadhafi infected 400 children with AIDS? And his answer was “Yes.” The world knows what happened to those children and how they contracted AIDS. His phony charge was vicious and gratuitous, that he can falsely accuse the man responsible for his education. This is not the Gadhafi I know.

Related news:

Muammar Gadhafi: Our First Real BLACK President  (FCN, 07-01-2011)

Gold, Oil, Africa and Why the West Wants Gadhafi Dead  (FCN, 06-07-2011)

Fidel Castro on Libya and Gadhafi: Nato, war, lies and business  (03-16-2011)

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