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The Libyan leader has called on "millions" of Libyans to march on Misratah in order to" liberate" it from the rebels. In a "live" audio address he accused the rebels of killing and raping women in the city and of using civilians as human shields. Al-Qadhafi called on the rebels to lay down their arms and urged known local tribes and personalities to help in "liberating" the city. He also accused the Arab Gulf states' leaders of providing the rebels with money and of helping the "Christians" to wage a war on Libya. The following is the full text of Al-Qadhafi's audio address to the meeting of Misratah tribes in Tripoli broadcast by Al-Jamahiriyah TV on 21 July. Sub-headings are inserted editorially:
Misratah privileged city
Peace upon my family of Misratah who are holding a meeting today. I salute you. You know my love for Misratah. Part of my life is linked to Misratah at a very decisive phase, the phase of the preparation for the revolution. I studied in Misratah, I was graduated from Misratah high school and most of my comrades are from Misratah. I was able to recruit a number of free officers from Misratah. Misratah City is dear to me. The happy memories of Misratah have an impact on my life and on the lives of my comrades.
I was very happy to see Misratah prosper after the revolution because I knew how it was before the revolution. Before the revolution, people were riding ordinary bicycles, donkeys or carts pulled by donkeys, not even by horses. Misratah had no port, airport or a factory. Even the most important agricultural land was in the hands of the Italians. You know the Italian farm called Contessa! It was the largest agricultural land which grew olives, grapes etc.
I was very happy to see the post-revolution Misratah where several secret revolutionary cells were formed by the students from Misratah, Zlitan, Khums, Tarhunah, Bani Walid, Tawirgha, Sirte, Sallatah and Sahil Lahham. These were all high-school boarding students in Misratah. There were also middle school students and teachers.
After the revolution, Misratah prospered and the signs of poverty and backwardness had disappeared. The carts, donkeys and even ordinary bicycles disappeared and were replaced by luxurious cars, high buildings and bridges which are more grandiose than the German bridges. Whenever I visited Misratah I felt happy to see such achievements because I knew how Misratah was before the revolution. Meanwhile, we had built the biggest industrial iron and steel factory in Misratah, which had an impact on the life of the whole of Misratah. All the vehicles transporting iron and steel were owned by Misratah residents. Even lorry drivers from other regions used to complain to me and say: Why only Misratah lorries were monopolizing the transport of iron and steel and why did you build iron and steel factory in Misratah and even the transport of iron and steel to other regions was transported by Misratah vehicles? They were jealous of you. They used to complain about the three ports in Misratah and used to say: Why did not you build a port in Sirte, which is situated in the centre? Why didn't you expand the Tripoli port? Why were there three ports in Misratah, one for iron and steel, one for goods and one for fisheries? The supplies and goods which came from Sirte and as far as Fezzan all came through Misratah ports, transported by Misratah trucks and distributed to Tripoli and the whole western region.
We had built huge depots in Misratah for the goods which were imported from abroad. We brought water from Ayn Tawirgha to Misratah and the Great Man-Made River runs through Misratah. Thanks to God Misratah had become very, very developed. A number of cities and municipalities around Misratah were very jealous and they used to say that I was biased towards Misratah: Why three ports, why iron and steel and you built an airport and an aviation academy? Why an airport in Misratah which is only 200 km from Tripoli airport, for instance? Even pilgrims fly direct from Misratah to Mecca. People fly from Misratah to anywhere in Libya. World leaders fly to Misratah. In fact, Misratah became an excellent economic centre, perhaps even at the expense of other regions.
As far as I am concerned I have always respected Misratah and I love it because I lived there during the difficult times and it served as my …