Impact Of Arab Spring Makes For Best Sunday Newspaper Read

The Arab Spring, and the impact it is having on the parts of Northern Africa makes for a fascinating read in the Sunday newspaper.

As the uprising closed in around him, the Libyan dictator Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi warned that if he fell, chaos and holy war would overtake North Africa. “Bin Laden’s people would come to impose ransoms by land and sea,” he told reporters. “We will go back to the time of Redbeard, of pirates, of Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats.”

In a sense, both the hostage crisis in Algeria and the battle raging in Mali are consequences of the fall of Colonel Qaddafi in 2011. Like other strongmen in the region, Colonel Qaddafi had mostly kept in check his country’s various ethnic and tribal factions, either by brutally suppressing them or by co-opting them to fight for his government. He acted as a lid, keeping volatile elements repressed. Once that lid was removed, and the borders that had been enforced by powerful governments became more porous, there was greater freedom for various groups — whether rebels, jihadists or criminals — to join up and make common cause.       

In Mali, for instance, there are the Tuaregs, a nomadic people ethnically distinct both from Arabs, who make up the nations to the north, and the Africans who inhabit southern Mali and control the national government. They fought for Colonel Qaddafi in Libya, then streamed back across the border after his fall, banding together with Islamist groups to form a far more formidable fighting force. They brought with them heavy weapons and a new determination to overthrow the Malian government, which they had battled off and on for decades in a largely secular struggle for greater autonomy.

Even the Algeria gas field attack — which took place near the Libyan border, and may have involved Libyan fighters — reflects the chaos that has prevailed in Libya for the past two years.

Yet Colonel Qaddafi’s fall was only the tipping point, some analysts say, in a region where chaos has been on the rise for years, and men who fight under the banner of jihad have built up enormous reserves of cash through smuggling and other criminal activities. If the rhetoric of the Islamic militants now fighting across North Africa is about holy war, the reality is often closer to a battle among competing gangsters in a region where government authority has long been paper-thin.

Treat Muammar Qaddafi’s Body “As The Future Of Your Children Deserves”

There seems to be a real disconnect from where the Libyan people have been the past 40 years through no fault of their own, and where they wish to be in the decades to come.

Most notably displayed over the media and internet over the past days have been the lines of people wanting to get a close-up look at the body of Muammar Qaddafi.  In a rather awful setting the body of the dictator is sprawled on a mattress in a large cooler.  By all accounts the smell is bad.

There seems morbid glee on too many faces that are lined up with cell phone in hand to snap a picture.  To some extent I get that need to see the dictator dead  given the history they have lived through, and yet it is not making anyone look good.   The past is now over, and the future is to be claimed.  Is this the way they wish to start a new book about their nation?

The connection between the past and the future of Libya seems to be missed by many who fought to undo the wretched excesses and savagery of Qaddafi.  Some common sense needs to be quickly established from those who wish to hold any future power in Libya.

Today I read a most fantastic article about this topic, and use one line to encourage a complete viewing.

Treat that body not as the fallen tyrant deserved, but as the future of your children deserves.

There is a scene in Hamlet where the bereaved Prince turns to the conniving Polonius asking him to treat a group of actors visiting the Elsinore with dignity and generous hospitality. “Good my lord,” Hamlet says, “Will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used, for they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph than their ill report while you live.”

These days are indeed “the abstract and brief chronicles of the time” for future Libyans, for the future of the Arab and Muslim world. They should treat the fallen tyrant not “according to his desert,” but after their own honor and dignity.

Let the pictures and videos of a proper burial and a dignified resting place for Colonel Gaddafi fill the schoolbooks in which future generations of Libyans will read their Arabic alphabet and learn the dignity of their parentage.

The man was a relic, a frightful echo from a past, a monster not entirely of his own making. Heads of state, who in some cases enabled the dictator, are now rejoicing in his downfall.

How unseemly were the scenes of US President Obama, or UK Prime Minister Cameron, rejoicing in Gaddafi’s downfall. But as Omar Mukhtar says in a key scene in the late Mustapha Akkad’s Lion of the Desert (a film about rebels fighting the Italian invasion of Libya) when refusing to kill a captured Italian soldier, “they are not our teachers”.

Devil Of A Spelling

Hat Tip to Brian.

The Clothes Of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi

One has to wonder what the wardrobe of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi most have looked like.  Can you image walking into the closet and finding all the brightly colored robes and military outfits.  Clearly the Libyan dictator needed a full-time valet.  Colonel Muammar Qaddafi never was shy about making an entrance, and one has to wonder if he wore the same outfit twice.

There is a site that looks at the fashion style of Muammar Qaddafi , and it is worth a look.

Here are three of my favorites.


Moammar Gadhafi Snacked On Hamburger During Hair Plugs Operation

Over the past days there have been a slew of stories about the life of Moammar Gadhafi.  Many of them paint a picture of someone out of touch with reality, and also the owner of a truly dark heart.   So it is almost heartening to run into the story below that paints a picture of a man who is vain, and not so unlike many who have the means to make the years slip away with some cosmetic changes.

The former dictator was known for his vanity–in March, a Brazilian plastic surgeon came forward with an account of a four hour cosmetic procedure he’d performed on Gadhafi in 1995. “He told me that he had been in power for 25 years at that time, and  that he did not want the young people of his nation to see him as an old  man,” Dr. Liacyr Ribeiro told the AP. “I recommended a facelift, but he  refused.” Gadhafi received hair plugs and had fat from his belly injected into his face to counteract the appearance of aging. The operation occurred in the middle of the night in Gadhafi’s compound in Tripoli. He insisted on local anesthesia, so he could remain awake during the procedure; midway through the surgery, he paused to snack on a hamburger.

Young Muammar al-Qaddafi And King Idris

If the news from Libya has captivated your attention, and you find yourself digging back through books on your shelves or combing through the internet for a deeper understanding of how Muammar al-Qaddafi  came to power than this post is for you.

I have been caught up in the Libya story and found what I think is a gem.  I was looking at Foreign Policy and came across rare photographs of the young colonel and the ruler he overthrew.  Enjoy.

Below is a photo of Qaddafi sharing a laugh with Nasser, his longtime hero, who died a year after Qaddafi seized power.  Nasser–now there was an interesting man.

Below is a picture of a  frail-looking King Idris reviews Libyan troops in Western-style sailor uniforms during the later years of his rule. Qaddafi overthrew the king while he was receiving medical treatment in Turkey.

Will Muammar el-Qaddafi Be Buried At Sea?


The BBC’s Caroline Hawley in Tripoli says the
authorities now have to decide how to deal with Col Gaddafi’s death and in
particular his burial.

They have said they will conduct a secret burial and there is some
speculation that they might even try to bury him at sea, as happened with
al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden, to prevent any grave being turned into a
shrine, she adds.

Oil Minister Ali Tarhouni told Reuters news agency that Col Gaddafi’s body
was not going to be released from a morgue in Misrata for immediate burial.

“I told them to keep it in the freezer for a few days… to make sure that
everybody knows he is dead,” he said.

Picture Of Corpse Of Muammar el-Qaddafi As Burial Plans Put On Hold

Where and when to bury Muammar el-Qaddafi have not been solved as of this posting.

Libya’s Transitional National Council, the shaky interim government in Tripoli, had said initially that Colonel Qaddafi would be buried on Friday in accordance with Islamic law, which generally requires a burial within 24 hours, but that the location of the grave had not been determined, news agencies reported.       

But Ali Tarhouni, the minister who officially confirmed the death of Colonel Qaddafi to the council, said the burial would be delayed pending an investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death and a decision about the burial site. Officials did not give specifics about the timing or possible location. Hours later, Mahmoud Jibril, the interim prime minister, said Colonel Qaddafi’s burial could take place in the next 48 hours but he was not more specific.       

Officials also said an autopsy had been conducted on Colonel Qaddafi but there was no sign of any surgical cutting on his body by medical examiners Friday as it lay on a table in a refrigerated Misurata meat locker, thrown open for public viewing in this port city, which was especially hateful toward Colonel Qaddafi because his military inflicted heavy casualties here during the struggle to oust him.