Muammar’s Funny Side

Didja hear the one about the sentinel at his Bab-al-Aziziyah estate in Tripoli?

Guard at compound to rebels: “Gaddafi? You have the wrong place. This is the Qaddafy residence.”


Andy Borowitz

Yes, there’s much to laugh about concerning Muammar Qaddafi, especially now that the former Libyan dictator has been reduced to scurrying through underground tunnels, occasionally finding the time and microphone to record more “Zenga Zenga”-type rants for broadcast on whatever medium will still have him. (Listening to one of those being rebroadcast today on the Flemish radio news, I swear I also heard chickens clucking in the background – anyone else encounter this?) Hans-Christian Rößler of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung pitches in with a combination comedy-sketch/political obituary entitled Dictator and figure of fun.

After all, this was the man who thought he had come up with a “Third Universal Theory,” one that pointed to that elusive middle way between capitalism and communism, and explained it all in the “Green Book” he required all his citizens to purchase. This was the ruler who never promoted himself above “Colonel,” and who even resigned all his offices – on paper, at least – back in 1979, who insisted on staying overnight in his Bedouin tent no matter where he traveled, including at the French President’s Elysée Palace.

But it’s here that the humor starts to turn sour, when one realizes the many international friends in high places (to include that Elysée Palace) that Qaddafi managed to accumulate. This happened especially following the turn of the century and was due to his country’s vast reserves of oil as well as – it must be admitted – his willingness to give up his weapons of mass destruction, an attitude that only blossomed just after the invasion of Iraq.

Nonetheless, in light of Qaddafi’s evident eagerness to send tanks to massacre rebels popping up throughout his country starting last February/March – something that directly caused an Arab League appeal for help and the resulting UN Security Council resolution authorizing intervention – all those who chose to make friends with him about ten years or so ago must be feeling some embarrassment. Indeed, how could they have done that knowing what they surely knew even then – about Lockerbie, about the funding and material support he was known to supply to terrorist movements of all stripes, including the IRA, about what the world already knew concerning how he treated his people? In the final analysis, with this character the humor does not extend very far.

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