Gaddafi Remarks on 'Blackening' Europe Stirs Concerns, Anger
Shantella Y. Sherman | 9/8/2010, 11:42 a.m.
Colonel Solicits Funds from EU to Thwart Illegal African Immigration
In what appears to be a racially incendiary move, Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, recently offered to stem the steady influx of Africans into various European nations in an effort to keep Europe white and civilized. Gaddafi told Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on a recent trip to Rome that the European Union (EU) should pay him at least 5bn euros ($6.3 billion) a year to stop illegal African immigration and avoid a "Black Europe."
Massaging old racial wounds and growing concerns, Gaddafi hoped to capitalize on fears that millions of Africans, who once lived under the subjugation of European colonial rule and who were made citizens of those nations, would continue to migrate to their "Mother Country" impoverished, and without clear means of employment.
"Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even Black, as there are millions who want to come in," Gaddafi reportedly told a European news agency. "We don't know what will happen, what will be the reaction of the white and Christian Europeans faced with this influx of starving and ignorant Africans.
We don't know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions," Gaddafi said.
Historian Abdulmolsen Ali said that the precarious nature of relations between Gaddafi and leaders of African countries, particularly those with large Muslim populations, remains influx. In fact, Ali suggests that while Gaddafi may speak to racial fears in order to press these nations for funds, the monies would largely benefit the Africans themselves.
"Col. Gaddafi has repeatedly said he wants to use the monies supplied by countries within the European Union to strengthen the infrastructure and economies of the African countries where the illegal immigrants are coming from. Is it that Gaddafi is racist against Africans? Maybe. No one knows what is in another man's heart, but if the billions he is seeking annually from each of these countries is provided, the entire African continent may be able to support itself without European influence," Ali said.
Italy has already provided Gaddafi with funds to have Libyans intercept Africans at sea and either hold them in Libya or return them to their respective countries. Italy has received sharp criticism for allowing Libyans to detain or deport without proper screening.
"In many instances these Africans have no permission to be in the country; however, in just as many instances, these are Africans who were made Italian, British and French citizens under colonization," Ali, 58, said.
"These men and women or their parents have fought in European wars on the side of England, France, Germany and Italy, and now that their own lands have been stripped of natural and material wealth - often by these Europeans - they have no place to go. It seems ironic that the same paternalistic governments who subjugated them because they were 'child-like' now wish to disown their child-citizens."
Slowing the migration of Africans to Italy to a trickle seems vital to the Italian economy of late. The European Commission figures estimate that the number of illegals being denied entry at Libyan hands fell in 2009 to 7,300 from 32,052 in 2008. Col. Gaddafi has forged close ties with Italy since a friendship treaty was signed two years ago. It sought to draw a line under historic bitterness between Libya and Italy, its former colonial master.
Col. Gaddafi Courtesy Photo
A confidential internal security report from EU police and border agencies, reportedly leaked to the Statewatch whistleblower, said that 900,000 illegal immigrants were entering the EU every year.
"I don't agree with Gaddafi's choice of words, but he is offering a viable and necessary option to Europe," Olgi Dumfries said. Dumfries, an international development student said that with millions of Africans entering Europe without money or skills, race may be secondary to their unwelcome reception.
"How fair is it for us to disparage what Gaddafi is doing when it is the same thing that American militias do at the Mexican border every day? These Africans are fleeing persecution or looking for jobs. They are a burden and one that will not integrate quickly or easily into mainstream European society; there are language barriers, class barriers, and racial and cultural barriers," Dumfries said.
"It is always best when you are a group of people in need to come to the door with your hat in hand and respectful of the process. If these people are starting out being disrespectful of the immigration process, they deserve to be turned away," she said.
Confusion surrounding Gaddafi's comments in Italy came almost a year after he stunned scores of international leaders during a United Nations address in which he said The United States, Britain, France, Russia and China should be stripped of their powers because of their overt abuses.
"My new proposal is to amend the Charter of the United Nations and transform the general assembly into a world congress so that the Security Council must comply with its orders. The Security Council does not provide us with security but with terror and sanctions," Gaddafi said.
But Ali remains skeptical.
"The fact that Europe is so fearful of turning Black that it will take Gaddafi seriously tells the real story. If he is able to create a United States of Africa - another goal of his - by using finances from Europe, it would be a mixed blessing. Africa wasn't underdeveloped by Africans, but by well-meaning, albeit racist interlopers. The thought of these same Europeans catapulting them into strong competitors for resources, is a pipe dream," Ali said.