Sunday, October 07, 2012

Review of Gaddafi's Gaffes by Nigerian tribune

TheE slain former Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, was a man of many parts. He was also somebody who contradicted himself on a number of sensitive international issues. Anuoluwapo Akande reviews Abla Ungalski’s new book,

To a young mind, Muammar  Gaddafi’s statements could form an everlasting impression on an issue, but the author of Gaddafi’s Gaffes, Abla Ungalski, was lucky to have probed further when Gaddafi actually said that the great writer, Williams Shakespeare, was from Benghazi in Libya, and that his real name was Sheikh Speare.

Ungalski was confused by this, because since the age of 13, he had been an avid follower of Shakespeare’s works, and for someone to say his literary hero was not from Stratford Upon Avon, but Benghazi, was just too much for him to swallow.

The author was, however, happy when his father dismissed Gaddafi’s statement, saying, ‘Don’t let other people’s dream become your nightmare. Gaddafi is a dreamer. He imagined it.”
The statement by Gaddafi about Shakespeare had actually made the author to take special interest in who Gaddafi was, and as a result, he searched everywhere on materials about the former Libyan leader, and the result of the study into the life of his man reveals his many contradictions on different issues.

Another interesting aspect of this man’s life is about his obsessive desire for universal recognition as a brilliant statesman, a political philosopher, a religious expert, social analyst and reformist, as well as the world’s best president.

Gaddafi sought for recognition, which the world vowed not give him, and when persuasions failed, he sought to buy this recognition from Sub-Saharan Africa, which he considered the easiest target, by funding various projects in poor African countries.

The Africans understood him and paid him lip service to attain funds to develop their countries. As years went by, he saw his ambition for global recognition go up in smoke and frustration kept in.
The quotations in the book are from Gaddafi’s speeches, thoughts or his Green Book, which he published in 1975, and the author was able to highlight contradictions, inconsistencies, absurdity and the comic nature of some of his thoughts and declarations.

For example, in  his address to the students of Oxford University on Africa in the 21st century, on May 16, 2007, he says, “I am neither a politician nor a diplomat....,” but two years later, during an Arab League Summit, he declares, “I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa and the union of Muslims....”

He also once contradicted himself on his tribe. Speaking on a Libyan Television in 2007, Gaddafi says, “Libya is an African country. May Allah help the Arabs and keep them away from us. We don’t want anything to do with them,” and two years later, he says, “Arabs have no hostility or animosity towards Israel. We are cousins and of the same race....”

On the United Nations Security Council membership, Gaddafi says, “This door must be closed; the door to security council membership should be...... No one can force us to join the security council”, but surprisingly, at the same event, which was during the UN General Assembly meeting, he says, “No one can say that the African Union does not deserve a permanent seat.......”

The late maximum ruler also spoke about migration, with Libya being a transit route to Europe. On  this, he says, “At the Libyan border, I recently stopped 1,000 African migrants headed for Europe........ They have the right to do so,” but less than a year later, during an interview with the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), Gaddafi declares, “There are millions of Africans who want to come in....... We don’t know what will be the reaction of the White and Christian Europeans with the influx of starving and ignorant Africans......... Tomorrow, Europe might no longer be European, and may even be black, we don’t know if Europe will remain an advanced and united continent or if it will be destroyed, as happened with the barbarian invasions....”

These are just few of Colonel Gadaffi’s contradictions. Those who wish to know more about such contradictions can get the book, Gaddafi’s Gaffes, which reveals the mind of a man who could be described as someone who spoke for the moment, not minding what he had said on certain issues earlier, or what he would say in the future.

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