Text of Libyan Leader’s speech via Media at African Summit – Arab racism
Why is there a racist position from the Arabs? Our African brothers have their justification.First they consider Arabs immigrants from the Arab peninsula who came and occupied North Africa as they came and occupied Andulsia, the Mediterranean, southern Italy and elsewhere. The second thing, the Arabs not only accused but condemned by contributing to the slave trade in Africa and I announced this and recognised and condemned it strongly. I consider it a shame in the history of the Arabs especially the Arabs in Africa. In the Arab peninsula they treat the blacks as they treat slaves although slavery has no connection with the colour. The slave may be white, black or yellow and the Arabs contributed to hunting the Africans in the jungle as the Americans and the Europeans did. In fact the Arabs practised far worse racism than the racism of the West.
The West shipped blacks and used them like animals, muels, donkeys, camels and horses. As a physical muscle to cover swamps and pave the roads and build a new America and Europe. The Arabs however practised another racism: individualistic racism. They did not use them in such projects but they sold Africans and they processed them individually. The effects of this are still in Libya today and I am fighting such effects. We find that even in Libya social effects and I am against it and it should be abrogated. When there is a social event they bring a black family to cook the food. Why not a white family? If a white family wants to get a reward or money or knows how to cook why not a white family? Why should they only look for a black family to cook the food? Cooking could be done by a white or a black person. But this is the remains of existing Arab racism and we recognise it. When they bring folkloric groups they must be Libyan blacks. Why are the whites not the ones who beat the drums at such festivities. This is shameful and should be changed and it is the remains of racism that they practise. This is the racist culture of the Arabs. The Africans are aware of this and they know that the Arabs despise this race. They sold it and contributed to slavery. This is one of the things that made them that the Arabs should not assume a post. The position in the end is a racist position. The Arabs were initially racists and now the other Africans who are not Arabs are racist against the Arabs existing now.
The other issue that the Arabs in one period had a misunderstanding or shortsightedness during the phase of the liberation of Africa when they stood by the feudals and the sultans who were of Arab origin and sided with the Islamic communities. I mean the Islamic minorities in Africa. And no onw warned them against this mistake save Ahmed Ben Bella when he went to Jamal Abdel Nasser and told him Mr President there is a wrong strategic position exercised by yourself or by Egypt or by the Arabs. What is is? He told him you are making a broadcast inciting Muslims in Zanzibar and Tanjanika and Abyssinia and that region. But the Arabs there are feudals. They are sultans and kings and they are the remains of the old society and these countries want to get liberated. Then if you are attacking Nyere because the feudals in Zanzibar are against Nyere he is a liberation hero, an African hero. All African liberation movements are in Dar Es Salam.
Abdul Naser understood this and said correct and therefore there was a historic and strategic meeting between Jamal Abdul Naser and Nyere to liberate Africa and combat colonialism and racism. Revolutions that took place in Africa especially the socialist progressive revolutions, confronted the sultans, the remains of the Arab sultans, the sheikhs and the feduals who used to occupy vast areas of land enslave people and exercise slavery on blacks to the extent that during that period they asked leaders of the founding fathers of African Unity to deprive the Arabs from being members of the organisation. The Organisation of the African Union should be confined to sub-saharan Africa. Why? They said because the Arabs are racists.
This belief still exists today to a degree that when we say for instance Ali Tereki who is Libyan Arab to be president of the African Union Commission it arouses surprise. Some African leaders are surprised. They say, how, how? It means something new that breaks the custom that we made. The custom that there is a position against the Arabs.
If this takes place, let us suppose that they don’t accept Ali Tereki in Addis Ababa now it means, no doubt a racist position. There is no justification save a racist position. Why Al Tereki is the one to fill the vacuum after Konari? I mean Konari was head of state and he became chairman of the commission. After we removed Konari and replace him with another unknown official, no matter how he was, Konari would leave behind a big vacuum in the African Union Commission and this vacuum must be filled.
Tereki is a veteran, a skilled person, experienced, known by all the Africans. He specialises in Africa and is the best person to assume this post. But they say to you he is from North Africa from the Arabic speaking. We are not accustomed for one from this group to head the OAU or the African Union Commission.
This is the secret behind the surprise now. They were shocked when we presented this name. All of them were shocked. They said we are not accustomed to this. They said a black person is supposed to be the chairman of the commission. Obviously there was a racist culture existing from the Arabs against the Africans and from black Africans against Arabs from the days of Houphuet-Boigny and the days of Singaore.
On the other hand the Arabs were biased to their culture against the African culture. Ben Bella managed to take such a stand and directed this orientation in the right direction and Abdul Nasser was convinced by the explanations of Ben Bella and he reorganised his policies in Africa and played a very important role in Africa and in their unity. He helped the peoples and the liberation movement and played a very important role in Africa, their unity and helping the liberation movements. Egypt played a prominent role in the liberation of Africa.