gadhafi senegal 298.
(photo credit: AP)
Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi called on Europe to pay reparations to Africa for years of colonial mistreatment.
Wearing a green shirt and a green handkerchief, the color of the Libyan revolution, Gadhafi addressed Senegal on Wednesday, telling its people to organize themselves into committees to claim their payback from France, their colonial master.
"The people of Africa deserve reparations for the damages and abuses that they were subjected to during colonialism," Gadhafi said on the occasion of Senegal's independence day. "Colonization must never be repeated. We need to force the colonizers to pay."
The Libyan dictator, who has ruled his country for 30 years, was one of the guests of honor at the independence celebration, held a day after the inauguration of President Abdoulaye Wade, Senegal's 80-year-old patriarch who was recently re-elected to a second term.
To prevent Africa from being ruled by outsiders again, Gadhafi said it is imperative to create a "United States of Africa," protected by a single, unified army.
He criticized Europe for turning back thousands of illegal immigrants, many of whom leave in flimsy wooden boats from Senegal's shore.
"They call it illegal immigration. But when they came here from Europe to occupy us, did they call it illegal immigration? We need to go and reclaim our pillaged resources. They left us in poverty, with our mines empty. With the riches the stole from us, they built their industrial powers," he said.
Gadhafi was one of roughly 20 heads of state invited by Wade to attend his inauguration. Senegal won its independence from France 47 years ago.