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Gaddafi's Back-to-Africa Plan

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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MUA' PROBLEMS Gaddafi

While Americans enjoyed fireworks and backyard barbecues, Libyan leader and reformed bad boy Muammar Gaddafi was pouring one out for his broken dream of African independence.

The crazy-dreamin' colonel is turning up the volume on the idea espoused earlier by African historic figures Marcus Garvey and Kwame Nkrumah: a United States of Africa. Gaddafi believes that a united African continent could become a "black giant" capable of solving its own problems, and last week he took his case to an African Union meeting held in Ghana. The summit was in many ways a climax for a man who long has worked to beef up his pan-African bona fides by wearing duds decorated with the African continent, paying Libyan Arabs to marry black Africans, and by freely funding any number of African states and suspect political movements.

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Gaddafi didn't exactly put his best foot forward—he ditched the opening ceremony after his characteristically odd request to be seated separately from all of the other heads of state was rejected. But he reportedly bounced back, delivering a "well-researched" Power Point presentation about the possible mechanics of a continental government. The self-described "soldier for Africa" went on to summarize the key issue with a little help from Shakespeare: "For Africa, the matter is to be or not to be."

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