Muammar Gaddafi: 'Even Arab presidents write their letters in English'

From a speech given by the Libyan President at the Arab-African Cultural Relations, Future Vision symposium, held in Sert, Libya
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The Independent Online

Every Arab broadcasting station displays its logo in English. Does CNN or BBC give itself an Arabic name? Never. But we degrade ourselves. Arabic newspapers have their titles in English for "reasons of distribution". English papers are distributed here but their titles are not written in Arabic.

Then we have sports. On Arabic television you will hear them saying the German team beat the Italian team and some player moved to so and so club. We Arabs do not know these clubs and their players. What does it have to do with us if they beat each other or move anywhere?

Even Arab presidents write their letters in English and French, which is an embarrassment. But when I receive a letter from the President of Ethiopia or Eritrea, the return address is in their own local language.

I challenge any of those sheikhs who sit in television stations like peddlers.If we bring forward words from the Koran and ask the sheikh what they mean, he will not be able to answer. Why? Because they are ancient words, which are now forsaken. If the current situation persists, many words in the Koran will not be known in future.

These are great challenges which you must face. How could you permit an Arabic television station to have its logo in English and an Arab newspaper to have its title in English and an Arab president to write his letter in a foreign language? How could you permit the coverage of American and European sports events by Arab broadcasting stations. Does this promote a culture?

African writers must write in African languages for the people of Africa. You have a responsibility to address the issues of culture, writing, heritage. The future is in your hands. You can be sure of my support and solidarity.

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