Anousheh Kehar" />
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Sunday, September 24, 2023


World leaders worry about AU

Libya’s socialist leader Moammar Gadhafi was elected to head the African Union by a 53-member summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Feb. 2.

Before this, Gadhafi was unable to attain such a position because of his controversial stance in the international community. His philosophy has been questioned since he established a ‘state of the masses,’ which undeniably became an autocracy.’

He presented more of a conundrum when the country was associated with terrorist attacks against the international community in 1988, stemming from the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.

Libya suffered from losing ties with the international community, from sanctions imposed by the U.N. and from repayment of compensation to the victims’ families.

Gadhafi also failed to persuade the Arab nations to unite. Other Arab leaders viewed him as unpredictable and did not give him the respect he demanded. However, the Arab people admired him for his courage.

In 2003, Gadhafi began taking measures to reverse Libya’s isolation. His new agenda to build relations with the rest of the world and to exploit the oil reserves in Libya has been successful.

After reanalyzing, Gadhafi directed his efforts to the pan-African vision. He is ambitious in wanting to transform the continent into the United States of Africa, much like the European Union.

His turning over a new leaf is being well received by the region. This is the first time in the 46-year history of the AU and its predecessor, the Organization of African Unity, Libya will hold the chairmanship.

‘I think his time has come ‘hellip; he’s worked for it. I think it’s up to us to make sure it comes out best,’ Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said.

U.S. political analyst Benjamin Barber described Gadhafi as ‘surprisingly philosophical and reflective in his temperament – for an autocrat.’

‘He sees himself very much as an intellectual,’ Barber said.

Rhetoric aside, Libyans remain under an iron fist. Not only does the government stringently control the media and suppress opposition, but corruption and violence are prevalent.

Many Libyans remain in the dark about Gadhafi’s reformation and do not believe they will enjoy the benefits of Libya’s wealth.

Ghadafi’s attempts to renovate Libya may be an effort to strengthen his legacy before the transition of power away from him.

At the declaration of Gadhafi’s new appointment at the AU, he brought an entourage, which referred to itself as the ‘traditional kings of Africa’ and Gadhafi as the ‘king of kings.’

‘It remains to be seen if he is capable of being serious about anything,’ said J. Stephen Morrison, director of the Africa program at the Center for International and Strategic Studies.

Anousheh Kehar is an architecture sophomore and may be reached at [email protected].

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