Every once in a while a unique character pops up in the world and makes everyone scratch their head.
Libya’s leader for the last 41 years has fit that bill enough for the entire world. Unfortunately, for the most part, it has been his outlandish attire and escapades that have drawn the world’s attention and not the brutal disregard for the citizens of his country.
OK…OK…I do find it a bit humorous that he looks like a Arabic version of Keith Richards. I also find it humorous that he has 40-member bodyguard contingent, known as the Amazonian Guard that is entirely female (All women who qualify for duty supposedly must be virgins, and are hand-picked by Gaddafi himself). Would that be good or bad for women’s rights? It is also funny to think that when traveling he will not walk up more than a certain amount of steps, and sleeps in Bedouin style tents.
Seriously now, we all know that Muammar Gaddafi left the train car called reality at full speed a long time ago, but all of this flash and rhetoric that has come out of the life of Libya’s leader for 41 years has overshadowed one of the most diabolical authoritarian regimes the modern world has seen. Gaddafi has joined with leaders such as Idi Amin, Hugo Chavez, and Vladimir Putin (seems as though the two were considering putting a Russian military base in Libya) in what seemed to be a strange attempt to emulate the political career of Che Guevara. I suppose you can only go around killing your own people and others around the world for so long before that mystique wears off. Before we laugh anymore about this “out of touch” loony…let me bring the laughter to a screeching halt. Here is a list of just some of the conflicts, terror acts, and terrorist groups that Gaddafi has been involved with, given financial backing to, hailed, or directly was responsible for (in no particular order).
- He praised the Lod Airport Massacre of 1972 carried out by the Japanese Red Army, and called for Palestinians to carry out similar acts.
- He was a major Financier of the “Black September Movement” responsible for the 1972 Munich Olympics.
- He fed Soviet made arms to the Irish Republican Army.
- Support for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front
- Support for the New People’s Army
- Strong supporter of the PLO (Palestine Liberation Organization)
- Applauded the assassination of Anwar Sadat (Egypt’s President)
- Financed radical sections of the Nation of Islam within the United States
- Hailed the Rome and Vienna Airport attacks of 1985 that killed 19 and wounded 140 people.
- The 1986 bombing of the La Belle nightclub in West Berlin killing and injuring 229 people.
- Financial and arms support for FARC in Columbia.
- 1989 bombing of UTA flight 772
- 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland
- He has consistently killed off any political opposition within his own country
Before the freezing of assets by western and European countries, Gaddafi’s wealth was said to be approximately $70 billion. The average wage for a single person in Libya is about $105/ month…think about that for a moment.
Libya controls approximately 2% of the world’s oil, much of which is sold to European concerns. With the current revolution ongoing in Libya, it looks like we have an excuse for the gasoline companies to charge us $5.00 a gallon now or more. Hey, somebody has to get rich with all this killing going on, right? Don’t worry, I will get those guys another time.
Currently, Libya’s people seem to be taking care of the matter just fine. Gaddafi is within his last days as leader. Yes, it took quite some time for the people to gather strength enough to rise up against him, but it is happening now and that is all that matters. Who cares if it took the nearby revolutions of Egypt and Tunisia to spur them on? This world will be rid of a butcher of man.
The fight of the Libyan people against Muammar Gaddafi signifies the ability of the individual to create significant collective change. It all starts within a singular mind. Just like all of the other Middle Eastern countries today in turmoil, the people are now completely tired of the oppression, human rights violations, the lack of a viable standard of living, and authoritarian rule…and they want change.
You know what? I hope they get exactly what they want.
Goodbye Gaddafi…I don’t believe I will be seeing you where you are going.
————– Erik Sudberg