The Colonel is dead. No, not the chicken guy, but rather that crazy cat of Tripoli, the “King of Kings of Africa”, I am of course referring to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi . Coming to power at the age of 27 and ruling for 42 years straight, he was a dictator amongst dictators. A cashew in a can of peanuts. His brutality was matched only by his mercurial personality and his menagerie of eccentricities that left the West perplexed.
Gaddafi: the terrorist
Throughout the 1980s, Gaddafi sponsored every anti-West terrorist group that could buy a Pan-Am ticket to Tripoli. Gaddafi’s Venture Terrorist credentials make Khomeini look like a bitch (please, no Fatwahs on me), as Gaddafi sponsored the Irish Republican Army, the Red Army Faction, ordered the bombing of a Berlin disco (targeting American servicemen), and then took down Pan-Am 103 in retaliation for Reagan’s bombing of Tripoli (which itself was a retaliation for the Berlin bombing).
Reagan called him a “mad dog”, and rightly so, the Gaddafi of the 80s was like Tyson of the 90s.
Gaddafi: the lover of black women
Homie didn’t play. He was crazy as a coconut, and thats even after you minus out the whole ‘godfather of terrorism’ thing.
Did you know in 1998 Gaddafi issued an edict to his people instructing them to marry blackwomen so that Libya would eventually become a black country? ( I don’t think anybody in his entourage had the balls to tell him he was brown). This also explains his clothing choices, which made him look more like Winnie Mandela than a Arab revolutionary. Most bizzarre was his well-known crush on Condoleezza Rice and the scrapbook he kept of her.
Gaddafi: the philosopher
Beyond being a terrorist mastermind, Gaddafi was also a philosopher. He would disappear into the desert and live in a tent while contemplating the meaning of being a Pan-African dictator. Chairman Mao might have had the “Little Red Book”, but Gaddafi produced the “Green Book”(it rocketed to #1 on the Libyan best-seller list…surprise, surprise). Needless to say, The Green Book was required
reading in every Libyan classroom.
Gaddafi: the man with 112 names
Even more puzzling is the spelling of his name. I have never seen such disagreement amongst the press as to the spelling of one person’s name. Depending on which newspaper you read, you could find his name spelled:
“Muammar el-Qaddafi” – New York Times
“Muammar Gaddafi” – BBC
“Moammar Gadhafi” – CNN
“Moammar Kadafi” – LA Times
In fact, an ABC article listed 112 accepted variations of Gaddafi’s name.
Gaddafi: the mellow, middle-aged dictator
After the Pan-Am bombing, Gaddafi briefly became pariah #1 for the West. That is until Saddam Hussein, Slobodan Milosevic and Osama Bin Laden appeared on the global stage and shunted the Colonel to the 3rd line. While the world went to shit, Gaddafi seemed to mellow with age. In 1998, Gaddafi issued the first arrest warrants for Osama Bin Laden after two British intelligence agents were killed in Tripoli by an Al-Qeda affiliate. In 2004 he agreed to give up his chemical weapons programs and open up his country to UN inspections. In 2003 he finally agreed to paying $2 billion in reparations for the PanAm bombing.
Mellow? Perhaps. Crazy? Always. In 2009, Gaddafi was invited to speak for 15 minutes at the UN General Assembly, he went on for 1.5 hours. During the course of his speech he literally tore up the UN Charter, professed his undying admiration for President Obama, and ended it off by saying the UN should be moved to Europe so that delegates don’t arrive all jet-lagged.
“There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet.”
- Colonel Gaddafi, Columbia University in 2003
But don’t call him a dictator, call him “Colonel”. I always wondered why he kept the title of “Colonel” when by all measures he was very much a King. Ok, maybe King is too imperial sounding, I get it, so why not General? Field Marshal? Generalissimo? Comrade? Or how about taking a page from his kindred spirit Idi Amin, “the uncrowned King of Scotland”?
Gaddafi: the tweeter
In a way, Gaddafi reminds me of Charlie Sheen. Equally crazy, yet equally resolute in their own sanity, I am surprised Gaddafi didn’t start tweeting during the Libyan revolution (how about @theColonel as a handle?). Given the encyclopedia of published Gaddafisms, he’d make Charlie Sheen (@charliesheen) sound as interesting as Henry Blodget (@hblodget)
He might even have given @omgbobbyg a run for his money
I find the idea of a dictator like Gaddafi tweeting while being bombed quite interesting. Imagine the connundrum that would emerge if Gaddafi started tweeting shit like “hey @Obama: you missed me, bitch!” and in turn become a pop culture icon from his looney tweets? How would we reconcile the dichotomy of our politicians claiming he is a mortal enemy while at the same time our capitalism seeks to exploit him? Now that’s what I call a social experiment for the ages. Of all the dictators who could have done it, Gaddafi was crazy and bombastic enough to do it.
It’s to bad he chose oppression, brutality and murder over tweeting. Ah well, one of these days some dictator is going to get it right. Kim Jong-un, here’s looking at you kid.