Lusaka, Zambia — A crowd of pro-Libya students assembled at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka, where the 37th summit of the OAU is being held and waited patiently on one of the lawns to meet the man who has suddenly become their idol.
Some of the students were among those who gave Muammar Al-Gaddafi a rapturous welcome when he flew into Zambia on Saturday. The colonel's sleek green stretch limousine has become a feature of the summit as it glides in and out of the conference centre, accompanied by jittery bodyguards.
He finally met the students under a large, carpeted marquee, pitched in the grounds of a presidential guesthouse, and they put questions and waited eagerly for his response.
Sitting on a green chair, and clad in his signature brown wrap and a fetching felt hat, Gaddafi charmed the students and gave them 20 solid minutes of his vision, alternately smiling graciously, looking grave and steely, or indulgent. He spoke in Arabic, which was directly translated into English. Al-Gaddafi was an instant success with the young people. (Ofeibea Quist-Arcton)
Lusaka, I thank you for this meeting. I also thank you for the warm reception. I consider [this] meeting with you fruitful and useful because you are at a level of awareness. I admire your awareness and enlightenment about the cause of Africa. (Applause)
I fear [those who would] make the African Union a copy of the OAU. Enemies of Africa want that. They want Africa to stand still, to stay in its place. (Applause)
The world now is changing and transforming into big blocs at the continental level. Europe is being transformed into one state.
North America, likewise, is moving to be one state, or similar to one state.
In the continent of Asia, there is something like that, [a] transformation of this kind - the ten member countries in the Asean bloc. Also the bloc of Indian Ocean is progressing. We have also the independent states of the former Soviet Union.
We wish and hope that Latin America would be such a bloc or such a state... The nationalistic states, the small ones, are not viable. They have no future any longer.
Even the European countries have seen that they have no future, it is not viable for them to be strong... unless [in a] bigger framework, of the European Union. We know that European countries are big countries, industrialized countries, they are the nuclear powers.
Despite this fact, they have come to know and see that have no future and they have no place unless they come together as the European Union. If the situation is like that, [how much] more [so for] we African small mini-states.
Africa either would be one bloc united or it would be colonised by these big blocs. America wants to enter Africa, not in the interest or for the benefit of Africa (Applause), but to usurp the wealth of Africa.
They fool and laugh at governments. And they make believe that they are their friends. They do that to fool us. (Applause) The way America looks upon Africa [is] as if it is a mine to be used for its own factories. (Applause)
Europe wants Africa to be its back garden, backyard. And when did they respect us?
They never did so. Do they think that we have forgotten our history?
(Shouts of "Viva Muammar Gaddafi, Viva!").
Do they believe that we are illiterate and that we don't read history? We are aware, we are enlightened, we know. We know when they came to us what they did to us? (Applause). They treated us like animals in the jungle. (Applause). As a matter of fact, they hunted us in our villages and in our homes.
You know that there are millions of blacks in the United States, or in America? (Shouts of "Yes!"). What is the cause for that? Because their ancestors and their grandfathers, they were hunted and caught by them and were taken there. (Shouts of agreement).
More than one hundred million black Africans were taken to that part of the world. They tied us with ropes and they put us on ships. If they saw anyone who is not strong enough from the masses, they were thrown in the sea for the fish.
(Shouts of "shame, Shame on them!")
You know they used to choose us according to how much we weighed and how strong we are and whether we are old or young or whether we are man or woman. They made a physical check upon us. And the places where they used to do such things are still in Africa. We know where they are -- in Benin, in Senegal and all along the African coast. And anyone who refused to do that and rebelled, he would be tied and put in the dungeon underground. Anyone who was on board and got sick, he would be thrown into the sea.
They got us to fill the mines of the land and they used this to dig the channels and the canals for their rivers. They also used us to make their roads, to build their roads.
They used to flog us and beat us with sticks and kick us with their boots. You know what they say? They say the blacks are inferior. And the white man only deserves life. (Catcalls)
Can we forget this tragedy? No, never. No. And after that, they came and colonized us. Europe came here and divided us through colonization. They said that they owned the land, our territory.
How come that Guinea Bissau would be the property of Portugal, or Zimbabwe even be the property of Britain? Or Zambia be the property of Britain? This is how they divided us among them, they took shares between them. Their kings, their queens, their princes and princesses. All of them take a piece of land and some people say this is my people and my land. You see even their names, the names of our villages and our cities, were named after their kings and queens.
Zambia used to be called Rhodesia. It's not Rhodesian, but they made it like that. Zimbabwe was Southern Rhodesia, it was named after their King - as if we have no ancestors or grandfathers or children or land. (Applause)
Those people who used to do those things to us and look upon us like that, how can we have confidence in them or rest assured about them? It is in their mentality and their culture, that we are not human beings and that we must be slaves to them. They treat us like animals or they viewed us like animals. How can we trust that America is coming to support Africans or help Africans? How can Europeans aid or help Africa? They want to steal our land or usurp our wealth.
But is it true that we are slaves? NO. Is it true that a black man is really inferior vis a vis a white one?
One hundred years after decolonisation, by force we expect them to leave Africa. (wild applause). This is when they understood that we are people we have land, we have dignity and we can do something.
They used to make believe that we would accept the fact, as they see it, that we are inferior to them. And our ancestors and grandfathers were deceived by that. They thought the white man is a holy man and a good man, till they saw what the white man did in Africa. He became a thief. They found out that the white man is a thief and with no morals. And when there was war and fighting with them, the white man knew that the black man can have victory and can fight him and can be stronger than him and even quell him.
Can we believe (the white man) that he is coming to help us and we have confidence in him? We should rely upon ourselves. We have everything. We have the raw materials. We have the forest and the jungle and the air. We have the water. We have the people and we have the land. We are not in need of America and Europe.
They are here just to take our land, our wealth, to steal it. All the wars that we hear of and know in Africa are a conspiracy on the part of America and Europe, so that Africa is not united.
Look at the problem of the Great Lakes. They created such a problem. Who created the problem in West Africa - in Sierra Leone and Liberia? Who created war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, they did so.
[Because of] this, we want to go back to the African, the People's one and the official one.
This is the time and the era of African unity. And we don't want it to be a copy of the past 30 years. Because, over the past 30 years, unity was led by the governments of Africa. Now we want a People's Africa, that's why I'm talking to the youth of Africa. That's why I'm directing my attention to the youth of Africa and the African women (Applause).
Because the African woman is the strongest woman in the world. But she should be educated. The personality of the African woman is stronger than the man's personality.
You men should be part of that. Who is the woman? She is your wife, she is your mother, she is your sister.
I want the African Union to be led by the people of Africa, popular Africa, by youth, by women. Syndicates and unions. People's masses. From now I would like the Jamahariya to be led by the youth and by women. From now on, don't let the destiny and the future of Africa to be decided only by the governments and the presidents. Some governments only think about the four years or the five years that they are in office. And the president, once his term comes to an end, he doesn't care, you see?
But the African people are not tied to four years or five years of terms in office. You own Africa, Africa belongs to you. And for your grandchildren and your sons. For this reason, the youth should lead and be at the vanguard of the African Union. All African youth should be mobilized and the African women should be mobilized as well. You should pressure the government. (Applause). And you should push the hesitant rulers, presidents. They didn't do anything over the past decade.
The OAU was established in 1963, the idea was to make the whole of Africa move from backwardness to development. But nothing has been done. Do you know why? Because rules and governments were in charge. Now we want the masses to be the leadership.
Because this is your destiny, your call, your future, your future. You should take the chance and adopt it. Africa should be stronger than America, stronger than Europe.
The son of the freedom fighter [and first post-independence prime minister of Congo, Patrice] Lumumba came to see me, together with the son of Kwame Nkrumah [first post-independence president of Ghana] and the son of Gamal Abdel Nasser [of Egypt]. They told me it is a must for me to start a movement of the young African people, the youth. They told me to achieve, together, the African Union. They told me not to rely on governments to achieve this aim.
They told me that we should rely upon young men and women. That is why I am in the process of mobilizing young men, youth and women. And when the idea is well-defined, and clear-cut and crystal, then we can know how to forge our way ahead. We can know how the modalities or the mechanism of the movement, what its name and slogans are. This movement should not be a party. We have tried [political] parties and they have done nothing.
The leader thinks parties were imported from Europe, similar to the way we import a box of tissues like this one. (Laughter). We should create the movement that is suitable to us, that represents our country, our history, our mores, our people. You should speak with me about this movement, I have more ideas about it.
We shall have continuous contact until we achieve our aims. And each one of you should inform the greatest number possible of youths, who are not present today in this gathering with us. I mean each one of you is committed to recruit ten young men with him. And each woman is committed to recruit ten young women with her. And these ten are committed to recruit another ten, so that this can be multiplied. (Applause).
You see, like when there is a pool of water and you throw a stone in it, you see that there are circles because of the stone that was thrown. And every time there is movement in the water, then there will be ripples and waves in this pool, till they reach the shores.
It will have life and oxygen and fish. This is Africa. It is a still pool. We want to create movement and waves in this pool. (Applause).
The Americans and Europeans, they laugh at us, saying the young Africans are useless, doing nothing. They just say that they take drugs and they drink etc. We have to prove the opposite. And we are serious, that we are able to unite our continent, to make it stronger than America and stronger than Europe.
Long live Africa.
(Shouts of "Viva Muammar Gaddafi, Viva". "Viva Muammar Gaddafi")