Gadhafi says fear drives world economic system

William Maclean SEBHA, Libya, Reuters

Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi criticised the world financial system as a dictatorship based on fear on Friday but said Libya’s only pragmatic choice after sanctions was to accept the unfair reality of world trade.

Speaking in a rare public debate with Western scholars, Gadhafi added Libya, whose press is state controlled, accepted the Internet and international satellite television because it showed Libyans what he called the weakness of Western democracy.

“The prevailing powers today are in the hands of those who have economic and military power which puts fear in others. They can make you starve. They can close the doors for your exports of raw materials such as coffee or oil,” Gadhafi said.

“This is an international dictatorship that is being practised against people, especially poor people,” he said of conditions imposed by Western aid donors on poor countries.

“Those who threaten you with military power or with the (U.N.) Security Council are the people who are controlling the world and if you go against the tide you might be destroyed.”

“The Libyans … realised this very well. From this realistic and pragmatic point of view Libya has improved its relations with the world,” he told the debate, intended to mark the 30th anniversary of his declaration of a Jamahiriyah or state of the masses.

The two-hour discussion was held in a small room in front of a small group of invited journalists in the southern desert town of Sebha where Gadhafi made the proclamation on March 2, 1977.