As the world struggles to bring the new coronavirus pandemic under control, claims that the outbreak was predicted by famous individuals are doing the rounds on social media.
Now the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi has entered the fray. A graphic showing Gaddafi is being shared on Facebook and Twitter, with text quoting him as saying: “They will create the virus themselves and they will sell the antidotes afterwards, pretending to take their time to find the solution when they already have it.”
We checked if there was any evidence that Gaddafi said these words.
‘Capitalist countries produce viruses so they can generate and sell vaccinations’
The photo of Gaddafi is real and was taken during his speech at the United Nations general assembly in September 2009. Gaddafi spoke for an hour and 40 minutes, six times longer than his allotted slot. About 87 minutes in, he spoke about viruses.
“Today there is swine flu. Perhaps tomorrow there will be fish flu, because sometimes we produce viruses by controlling them. It is a commercial business. Capitalist companies produce viruses so that they can generate and sell vaccinations. That is very shameful and poor ethics. Vaccinations and medicine should not be sold,” he said.
He went on to say that “medicines should be free of charge and vaccinations given free to children, but capitalist companies produce the viruses and vaccinations and want to make a profit. Why are they not free of charge? We should give them free of charge, and not sell them.”
So yes, Gaddafi did speculate about the creation of viruses and express his concern about the sale of vaccines. But he did not specifically say “they will create the virus themselves and they will sell the antidotes afterwards, pretending to take their time to find the solution when they already have it”.
The quote likely comes from someone’s personal interpretation of Gaddafi’s speech, now being shared online as though it reflects Gaddafi’s exact words. – Africa Check
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