Please note that the poems and essays on this site are copyright and may not be reproduced without the author's permission.

Saturday 19 March 2011

Muammar Qaddafi: King of Kings


Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan chief of state, attends the 12th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 February, 2009. The assembly elected Qaddafi to replace Kikwete as chair of the organization: photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt (US Navy)

File:Muammar al-Gaddafi, 12th AU Summit, 090202-N-0506A-324.jpg

Muammar al-Gaddafi, the Libyan chief of state, attends the 12th African Union Summit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 2 February, 2009: photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jesse B. Awalt (US Navy)

File:Nasser Gaddafi 1969.jpg

Muammar al-Gaddafi, leader of the Libyan revolution, with Egyptian President Gamel Abdel Nasser, 1969 : photo via Al-Ahram (image by Roxanne, 2010)

File:Assad Qaddafi 1977.jpg

Syrian President Hafez al-Assad with Libyan leader Mouammar al-Qaddafi, 1977: photo via Online Museum of Syrian history (image by Roxanne, 2010)

File:Tadic and Gaddafi.jpg

Serbian President (then Minister of Defense) Boris Tadić with Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi, 2008: photographer unknown (image by Avala, 2008)

File:Vladimir Putin with Muammar Gaddafi-2.jpg

President Vladimir Putin of Russia with Libyan leader
Muammar al-Gaddafi, Tripoli, 16 April 2008: photo by Russian Presidential Press and Information Office, 2008

A man checks the execution room inside the burned main prison of Moammar Gadhafi's forces in Benghazi, 28 February 2011: photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters

A man plays with his son in front of a cartoon depicting Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Benghazi, 28 February 2011: photo by Goran Tomasevic/Reuters

A protestor walks over a rug depicting a defaced portrait of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, Benghazi, 25 February 2011: photo by Suhaib Salem/Reuters

Amateur video footage released by Libyan opposition, showing fire in the street, tracer fire and people fleeing, Benghazi, evening of 18/19 February, 2011: photo by AFTP


Anonymous said...

It is very helpful to be presented with this photo array. Seeing a group of picture provokes the assembling and ordering of thoughts in a way that looking at a single photo doesn't and I have to confess that Qadaffi usually renders me speechless. It's hard to believe that a guy like this is walking around. This may sound utterly naive, but it was deeply disturbing to read, as I did a couple of years ago, that Prince Andrew pals around with Qaddafi's son and they still return to England and live there. But that's another story. King of Kings. Ok, then.

TC said...


A trawl through the photo annals reveals a surprisingly broad array of "world leaders" to be found hand in hand with, or at least shoulder to shoulder with, the King of Kings.

His son, to whom we ought to be referring as the National Security Advisor, has interesting pals not just in the tents of the British royals but all round the globe.

Quite the fashion plate is the lad... often he meets with fellow diplomats to compare photo-op wardrobe options.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this also. I meant to say (re Andrew) "they still let him return to England to live there", but my scrambled thoughts are unimportant (and getting increasingly scrambled by the moment). I could go on and on about my former senator Mrs. Clinton, but that would mean getting started, which I won't.

Anonymous said...

A very dark aura is evident around him.

Jeff Hannig said...

Some great photos you've found here, very interesting. As a young man who is rather new to listening to NPR it's nice to have some photos to put to the stories. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Quite right, I don't think they should let Prince Andrew live in Britain, the guy's just an embarrassment.

Qadaffi is a great dresser and thanks to these pictures you can see he always has been, sort of swimming against the tide of fashion. Too bad he didn't pass this gene along to the son Saif, who is a safe dresser of the worst sort.

I'm no fan of Qadaffi, I look on his works and despair, but I'm getting quite irritated by the excuse that he's got to go because he's killing his own people, like he's practically a cannibal. In every other case this action is called a civil war: Abraham Lincoln did it, many kings of France and of England did it (Henry VII, Henry VIII, Charles I to name the first three off the top of my head).


Curtis Faville said...

This business about shifting focus of news stories is something seldom remarked.

We're "concerned" about something--a leader, an event, a principle--which is foregrounded in the media for a specific period of time, after which it is supplanted with a new subject. Our memory of the unfolding and sequence of these areas of focus fades very quickly, as does the record of them.

We're "concerned" about Khadafi for a week or so, but we lose interest quickly. If he isn't deposed within a week, we move to Gen Petraeus's latest report from the field in Afghanistan, then to a disaster in Japan, then to Illinois where government workers are deprived of union bargaining.

Meanwhile, these stories continue to evolve, even as we move on to new concerns. The idea that we must "keep track" of all these things is a spur to constant anxiety, but this too passes. We know we're supposed to be concerned about all these things, and we know just as well that we can't "keep up" with them all, and there isn't enough compassion and time and influence we have to spend in actively responding. We've become passive--and our vicarious regard for all this stuff becomes a kind of expedient apathy.

We're all so concerned. But what does it mean? Where does it lead? The man who tends his sheep in the mountains of Macedonia is in the same boat we are, but none of this distraction disturbs his day. We're all "connected" but in what sense?

Sometimes it all seems like elaborate hand-wringing. I'm not suggesting we ignore these things, just that their progress, and the tenor of our response to them, be kept in mind. We're preoccupied with something only long enough for our patience to thin, at which point we become seduced by the next thing. As news junkies, we consume and consume, and try to form some responsible, useful picture of the world. But someone else is behind the green curtain. We're living through some news director's scenario of reality, who decides what the pace and duration of each bit will be.

"Now, in other news of the day...."

Anonymous said...

But about Mutassim Gadaffi & Hillary Clinton: it's not fair when small countries have very tall leaders. This is why Photoshop and tiered seating were invented.

TC said...


"We're all 'connected' but in what sense?"

Good question, one asks it of oneself often.

I think the answer is, "In the sense that we are alive".


Astute style analysis, though you've unaccountably left out elevator heels as a power balancer.

But someone says "I'm sure she does wear high heels, but up against the son of Gaddafi, she hasn't got a chance."

(Just the sort of thing somebody who's not American might be expected to say, of course.)

By the by, it's perhaps not generally known that the young tall fellow's suit lapels are protected by zirconium cladding, at great expense to the world's zircon supply. Hopefully our sapient Secretary of State will have been briefed in advance on this, and administered a sturdy dose of potassium iodide just to be prepared should he have caught fire due to an errant flash-bulb explosion (not to be confused with a runway-targeted assassination attempt, of course).

About singling out this particular bloody civil war and brutal corrupt dictatorship, rather than any of the many other bloody civil wars and brutal dictatorships in present-day Africa, in which to intervene, it does seem rather inconsistent; though on the other hand it does seem entirely consistent with directing "foreign policy" specifically toward those areas rich in that substance the obtaining of which will allow the mass of xenophobic Americans to maintain the practise of their great secular religion, the Church of Lifestyle.

(Hint: it's not zircon.)

TC said...


That dark aura seems to come from some older, atavistic world.

I don't know that any number of missiles would ever completely wipe away the murky origins, in the species, of that aura.

TC said...

... and thinking a bit further about Curtis F.'s legitimate annoyance with feeling as though "living through some news director's scenario of reality, who decides what the pace and duration of each bit will be": I think we all share that annoyance, and don't like having our attention and concentration capacities disrespected to the degree it can be assumed we are able to attend only for a few seconds to any given reality-byte, before the stream moves on.

On the other hand, I think it's also true that the turnings of recent events in Japan and Libya have been characterized by, if anything, a lack of "direction" on the part of anybody.

What grabs the mind, and properly, are the breakthrough moments in which we come to realize that the orders of things, as we take them for granted, are not really orders at all but merely tenuous temporary arrangements of convenience (or inconvenience).

And then when something happens that undermines this illusion of control, we are brought up short -- as we should be.

Anonymous said...

You're saying Libya exports maple syrup? I'd no idea, but now I see why Canada's got involved.

You're quite right about the control being illusory, but isn't it inborn for us to want control of our environment, and to feel we've got it? Nobody yearns for chaos. The idea of being the first person to take a trip to Mars absolutely fills me with dread, partly for this reason and partly because of the claustrophobia and boredom. (Knowing it's not going to happen doesn't help.)

Anonymous said...

Someone pointed out at my blog that Putin looks exactly like a meerkat.

TC said...


Someone observed here that the pointy nose is very much the same, but the meerkat is far prettier and has much better posture.

About the maple syrup -- Bingo! (as we say).

Being selected for the first trip to Mars is (sigh of relief) the one thing we are NOT worried about this week.