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Former African Union Leader Offers to Die as a Martyr

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Special to the NNPA from the Global Information Network –

Facing the almost inevitable dissolution of his 43 year regime, Muammar al-Gaddafi made what could be his last television address last week.

“I will not leave the country, and I will die as a martyr," Gaddafi, 68, said, blaming the week-old popular revolt on mercenaries, drug users and foreign influences.

Along with a growing movement against the Gaddafi family empire, defections were reported in the Libyan leader’s cabinet including “Gaddafi’s No. 2,” the interior minister, and Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali. "This regime is shaking, and this is the time to get rid of him," Aujali said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "The people are being kill[ed] in a brutal way. The people, they are without weapons, and the regime, they have all kind of weapons."

Resentment, ignited by revolts in Egypt and Tunisia, boiled over as Gaddafi positioned his son Saif al-Islam to take over his seat. Libyans lack civil liberties, are subjected to arbitrary arrest and detention, the confiscation of lands, and discrimination that singles out ethnic and tribal minorities. There is no constitution; Gaddafi’s “Green Book” is the basis for the political system. Political parties are banned as are free elections.

While unpopular at home, Gaddafi was an influential force throughout Africa, spending vast sums of oil money on projects in Liberia, Niger, Chad, the Central African Republic, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan. He was the largest benefactor of the African Union which he chaired in 2009, and called for a “United States of Africa,” with its own common army, its own passport, and its own currency (to be named “the Afro”). “Without Gaddafi, the pan-African movement is dead,” said Laura Seay, a political scientist at Morehouse College in Atlanta who specializes in African politics.

“He was the only prominent voice driving that movement. He was keeping those ideas alive. There’s nobody else with the financial resources available.”

“For better or worse, he will leave a vacuum behind him on the African landscape,” observed Geoffrey York, writing for the British Globe and Mail.

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