From the March-April 2018 issue of News & Letters
On Feb. 7, many Libyans celebrated the seventh anniversary of the revolution that overthrew long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Others took the opportunity to reflect on the missed opportunities and violence since 2011, and criticize the factions vying for power. Both these reactions are justified.
What is not justified is the nostalgia some “Leftists” indulge in for Gaddafi’s rule. The dictator’s toxic influence has outlived him.
Gaddafi’s billionaire friend, disgraced Italian president Silvio Berlusconi, has returned as a power broker in the anti-immigrant Italian Far Right. Here is what Gaddafi said in a joint press conference with Berlusconi in Rome in 2009, as he asked for billions of dollars to block immigration to the European Union:
Tomorrow Europe might no longer be European, and even black, as there are millions who want to come in. 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.
By no coincidence, this is the very racist rhetoric Berlusconi hopes will give his Italian Far Right victory in the March 4 elections.
—Gerry Emmett, Mar. 3, 2018