Was this the craziest speech of all time?
It went for 90 minutes, six times longer than the time allocated, so if you’re after a full transcript you’ll have to wait until Sunday.
Not since Kruschev banged his shoe on the table has the United Nations played host to a comparable level of madness, as Libya’s Colonel Gaddafi launched a sleep-deprived rant this morning which made Fidel Castro sound succint, Boris Yeltsin look dignified and Kim Jong-Il seem sane.
I’m not suggesting that you subject yourself to the above video in its entirety - it’s only 10 minutes long, no-one has yet bothered to upload the full 80 minutes - but the first couple of minutes are worth a look, as it seems Gadaffi has been mugged by the stationery aisle at Officeworks as he takes to the podium with a mountain of yellow legal paper and pieces of foolscap, and then waves like a sports star at the crowd before delivering his opus magnum.
It’s hard to distill the speech into an intelligible format. But it covered everything from terrorism to the decline of capitalism to the assasination of John F Kennedy to Israel to the American civil rights movement to Somalian piracy to swine flu to responsibility for the Holocaust to the fact that he’d been up since 4am and needed a bit of a lie down.
Introduced by a Libyan diplomat as “the leader of the revolution, president of the African Union, King of Kings of Africa,” Colonel Gaddafi set the scene by referring to the UN Security Council as “a terror council” and then delivered some of the following gems:
On Obama: “We are happy and proud that a son of Africa is president of the U.S. in a place where blacks could not go in a bus where whites go.Obama is a glimpse in the dark, and I am afraid that we may go back to square one. Can you guarantee how America will governed after Obama? We are content and happy if Obama can stay forever as the president of America.”
On JFK: “We know that the Israeli Jack Ruby killed Lee Harvey Oswald, who had killed the president. And then this Israeli died. We have to know how and why this happened, so such things will not be repeated.”
On swine flu: “Perhaps this swine virus was one of those that was created in a laboratory and got out of control because it was going to be used as military weapon.”
On Somalian piracy: “These men are not pirates. We are the pirates. We are all pirates. We went there to their territorial waters, and they are just protecting the food of their children.”
On the Holocaust: “You are the ones who burned them, not us. You expelled them.”
On the Taliban: “If the Taliban wants to make a religious state, okay, like the Vatican. Does the Vatican constitute a danger against us? No.”
He also said that the problems of the Middle East could be solved with the creation of a new nation called “Isratine”.
Perhaps aware that he was drifting Gaddafi himself explains that his beat poetry stylings were in part the result of jetlag, and the fact that he was barred from pitching his bedouin tent in Central Park and had to erect it instead at Donald Trump’s place.
“I woke up at 4am, before dawn!” he cried. “You’re all tired after a sleepless night!”
“Everyone here today came across the Atlantic or the Pacific, and I ask you, why? Is this Jerusalem or Mecca? All of you have jetlag and are physically tired. Many of you are very tired because your biological mind should be asleep right now. Think about it, why should we continue to meet here in America?”
For all Gaddafi’s weirdness, there’s an interesting take on it here in The Financial Times by Gideon Rachman which argues that sections of the developing world (and not just the Arab world) will respond positively to aspects of what he says, particularly in his criticisms of the UN.
The person who probably hated it the most is British PM Gordon Brown who copped intense domestic flak over the release and repatriation of Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi, and has been doing everything he can at the UN to avoid bumping into his new chum.
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