Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qadhafi is coming to New York next week. It is an historic first visit for the man who has governed his country for 40 years. Nation of Islam leader Min. Louis Farrakhan, who will also be in town, is hailing the visit as a new dawn for American and Libyan politics, and a wonderful opportunity for the world to see and hear a man he said is a vital participant in the African Renaissance.

“We will just be on hand to welcome our brother, the leader of the African Union, on his first visit to the United States and to the United Nations, where I am sure he will make a major speech, ” said Farrakhan. While he told the AmNews that he had “no idea what [Qadhafi] will bring to the world” in terms of his speech, he knew it would be significant and relevant and on point, and be able to “dispel many of the ugly rumors. ” He roclaimed that despite propaganda to the contrary, Qadhafi has standing all over the world. “Under Bush, he was referred to in a very ugly way, and all the propaganda had Muammar Qadhafi looking like a person the American people would not want to know, “said Farrakhan in an exclusive interview with the Amsterdam News. “He has been a leader of liberation movements throughout the world, but our government has supported many puppet regimes in Africa and Central and South America. Muammar Qadhafi is in his 40th year, the longest leader on the continent. “

Supporting various liberation movements throughout the world did nothing to endear him to the West, the leader of the Nation of Islam determined, but he has established his reputation “and grown as a world leader in Africa and Central and South America. The last place for him to be received is the United States of America. ” What did he anticipate the reception to be? “I am sure that when people hear him on U. S. soil, most will admire him and will learn more about him and respect him. “

Farrakhan is set to meet with Qadhafi, who will address the 192-nation U. N. General Assembly next week. In a grand spectacle in Tripoli last month, Libyan leader Col. Muammar Qadhafi observed the 40th anniversary of the bloodless coup that brought him to power. It was not diminished in the slightest by the Western nation brouhaha that accompanied the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the convicted Lockerbie bomber just released from prison because of his advanced prostate cancer. Following an opening speech from President Barack Obama, Muammar Qadhafi, leader of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Great Jamahiriya, will address the United Nations’ 64th General Session in New York next week. Libya’s reputation is undergoing a Western-okayed makeover. Hundreds of millions of dollars of natural resources struggling to let go of the Big Bogeyman portrayal of Qadhafi, which the oft-berated leader has been subjected to, the media here is having to report to factual changes.

To the chagrin of the West, for decades, Qadhafi has been front and center on numerous liberation movements, such as ones focused on freeing Nelson Mandela, the anti-Apartheid movement in South Africa and the continued Palestinian struggle. Relations with the West con- tinued to go south with sanctions that wracked the North African nation of Libya. And in 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered a U. S. military offensive that killed Qadhafi’s young daughter. But politics and capitalism being what they are means the West has swallowed hard and gone-a-calling to Libya to exploit economic possibilities. Reportedly, lucrative contracts lost during the Reagan administration were picked up again under the administration of oilman President George W. Bush. Qadhafi’s handing over of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi after the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland and eventually agreeing to pay $2 billion in compensation to the 270 victims’ families began the slow process. Qadhafi agreeing to get rid of Libya’s weapons of mass destruction programs led to America deciding to make nice in 2006.

International sanctions were eased and diplomatic relations between Libya and the West were restored. Saeed Shabazz wrote in the September 10 edition of the Amsterdam News:”The Libyans have started a multi-billion dollar building program constructing 27 new universities, airports and seaports, holiday resorts and a massive nano-filtration Wall Street for investors. “Plus, British Petroleum, for example has over $900 million invested in drilling for oil. Libya now has a seat on the 15-nation Security Council until year-end. And the next president of the General Assembly is Ali Abdessalam Treki, a former Libyan ambassador to the United Nations.

“The Libyan government has been voted onto the Security Council this year, and I’m sure the leader will be well received by most of the members of the General Assembly, ” said Farrakhan. This year, Qadhafi was elected chairman of the African Union. Farrakhan noted that, as such, “Not only does Muammar represent the Libyan government and nation, he also represents the other 52 nations [in Africa].”

With rallies planned for next Tuesday, September 22 (48th Street at Third Avenue, 11:30 a.m.) and Wednesday 23 September 23 (United Nations, 47th Street at Second Avenue, 8:30 a. m. ), supporters, and perhaps some not so friendly faces, are expected to gather in Mid-town next week. Minister Farrakhan stated, “[The] American people have a right to protest his presence, but we know that hundreds, maybe thousands, will welcome him. He has been a friend to the Black community in general, and the Muslim community and the Nation of Islam in particular. Our friendship goes back almost as long as he has been a leader. “

Farrakhan told the Amsterdam News that Qadhafi knew the late Elijah Muhammad, leader of the Nation of Islam, and that for years throughout his extended relationship with the NOI, he had “helped me, ” including appointing him the deputy commander of the World(WIPL). Farrakhan praised Qadhafi’s persistence in helping to bring into existence the African Union and working diligently towards creating the United States of Africa, first inspired by Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president, who himself was influenced by Marcus Mosiah Garvey and his Back-to-Africa Movement.

The African Union replaced the 38-year-old Organization of African Unity. “Muammar took the idea of forming the African Union a little over 10 years ago and urged African leaders to consider marching towards a United States of Africa. [In July 2002] the African Union was formed, and many of us are moving steadily but slowly towards the United States of Africa. We have to give Muammar Qadhafi credit for that movement because not only did he spearhead it, but he put much of Libya’s oil wealth behind it. ” Qadhafi follows other African leaders in the belief that the development of an United States of Africa is possible and necessary for the survival and progress of the continent and the Diaspora, and for Africans at home and abroad to reach their fullest potential.

The Chicago-based leader stressed, “Muammar Qaddafi is a leading partner in the rest of the world. It has been to the advantage of some in America to keep from the American people the understanding of Muammar Qadhafi [and his significance] in the African Renaissance. ” Farrakhan said that the hear from the man himself might lend some clarity to what has been reported over the years.

There were the sanctions, he said, the bombing that killed Qadhafi’s daughter and the bringing down of flight Pan Am 103, “which they first said was Iran, then Syria, and then they settled on Libya. The sanctions which lasted 10 years or more caused great suffering for the Libyan people. Under the Bush administration, an agreement was worked out and Libya paid the Lockerbie families huge sums of money. Sanctions were lifted and relations between Tripoli and Washington [are improving]. “

Libya desires American investment and America is eager to give it. Farrakhan predicted that Qadhafi’s visit next week should go some way to “dispel many of the ugly rumors. ” He concluded that the new Democratic government brings optimism to the probability of the dawn of productive relations that had previously been strained, saying, “President Obama is not only the hope of the 53 nations in Africa, but I read that 70 percent of the Europeans that disliked the policy of G. W. Bush are in favor of the positions [he has taken] as the president of the United States. ” As he himself prepares to meet with President Qadhafi in New York City, Min. Louis Farrakhan said, “We are hoping that under President Barack Obama, Libya can come more into the sunlight. The Obama administration can be a great help in this. “