Sunday, February 20, 2011

Qaddafi is Not Funny

Muammar Qaddafi is known to be the joke of the Arab world. Just type his name on youtube and you'll get an endless number of some hilarious speeches and remarks he's made in interviews and conferences. He clearly suffers from one or more psychological conditions that seem to be refractory to medical therapy.

That would have been funny to watch if Qaddafi was a celebrity not reluctant to embarrass himself in any possible occasion.

But when it comes to ruling a large and a very oil-rich country inhabited by only 6 million people, it stops being funny. One would expect such a country to have the best schools, colleges, hospitals, roads and energy plans in the world. Instead, Libya remains a third world country in most aspects. It's doing well when you compare it to the rest of Africa, but when you compare it to what it should be, it is centuries behind.

To my surprise I met many Libyans living who live in the United States, and among them I haven't met anyone who admired Al-Qaddafi. What's even worse is the horrifying stories I heard about how he handled any opposition to his regime.

One of these stories was his involvement in the war against Chad. Al-Qaddafi decided to get involved in a civil war in neighboring Chad, and actually did occupy part of this country as if he need more land (Libya is the 17th largest country in the world). One day he told high school students in Libya they were going on a field trip. He sent buses to their schools, gave them guns and sent them to fight in Chad. Thousands of Libyans died and got injured in a brutal war in 1986. Qaddafi claimed a decisive victory in Chad initially, but when he suffered a bad defeat he went on Libyan TV to criticize the "stupid military that decided on its own to get involved in this war". He didn't want Libyans to see those who were wounded with visible injuries such as head injuries or amputations, so he ordered the military to kill those injured. Yes that's right, he ordered the silent execution of those Libyan civilians and soldiers who were forced to fight in an unnecessary war against their will and were severely injured. Instead of an apology or compensation he got them killed. Nobody can argue with him. Nobody can call for change.

There are numerous of stories in Libya that reflect his brutality and make Saddam Hussain look like an angel. Unlike Saddam who established a solid health care system and got his people (men and women) extremely well-educated, Qaddafi tried to keep his people oppressed and incapable of any critical thinking.

During the very short period I worked in Jordan, I was shocked at the number of Libyan patients who traveled to Jordan to get medical care. Libya has the potential to build a Mayo clinic in every little village. Libyan doctors seem only to shine when they the country. Wealthy Libyans would never stay in Libya to get treated for anything or receive education. Leaving the country is the way to secure a future even though their country is so damn rich.

Even though I've never been to Libya, and I don't intentionally follow their news or read books about it, I can easily come up with a list for 1000 reasons why Qaddafi has been a terrible president. Maybe I will when I have more time.

To symbolize the corruption and autocracy the Libyans are subjected to think, think of the beloved son, Al-Saa'idi Al-Qaddafi. He decided to play football, placed himself as the captain of the Libyan national team even though he didn't play for any club at the time. He ordered the players to pass him the ball in every game. When the team was coached by a talented Italian coach (Bersellini), the first thing he did was fire Al-Saadi because "he wasn't a football player". The Libyan Federation fired the coach instead and brought Al-Saadi to the team. Al-Saadi then paid millions of dollars to top-quality Italian clubs just to include him in the squad. They didn't let him play a single minute, and he was eventually asked to leave Italy because he failed a drug test.

This is how Libya is run, violent dictator, family running the country, opposition is crushed (literally), corruption is the rule, and stupidity is king. Qaddafi seems funny when he talks, but nothing about his corruption or violence is funny. It wasn't surprising to learn today that he asked his military to shoot peaceful demonstrators from helicopters. What was surprising to me was to see protests growing in numbers, which gives me another reason to be very proud of those people. His people have had enough, and they're willing to sacrifice their lives for a better future for their kids. It's good to be an Arab these days.

(Aboce is a picture of Qaddafi with a picture of Omar Al-Mukhtar. Reminds me of a picture of Madonna wearing a cross)


Maysaloon said...

A poignant reminder, thanks for posting. I am one of the people who take him for a joke, though I never once believed he should remain for an extra minute in power.

As we say,
و من شر البلية ما يضحك

SimSim said...

some of the people I talk to here questioning the Libyan mental health for keeping such a lunatic as president !!

he -some how- got power but in sha2 allah soon he will join Zain el3abedeen and Mubarak ! say ameen !

shamma said...


Can you give me any references regarding the story you mention about students being sent to war in Chad under the disguise of a school/field trip?


PH said...

Internet is crap and I don't know how long it will last, so I'll be posting and updating as I go. Refresh to read.

Benghazi :

Libyanna ( mobile company ) sent a message to all the citizens of Benghazi telling them to go home; as it is their job to defend Benghazi.
Weapons and soldiers arrived from Bieda and its surrounding area.
The 64th battalion and Abdulfath Younis's ( عبدالفتاح يونس) special forces battalion attacking the main revolutionary guard garison in benghazi ( الفضيل بوعمر). Fighting is ongoing.
General Population of Benghazi arming up with everything in their grasp.
People chanting muammer here we come for you, death is coming.
Crowds are larger than ever seen ( they were nearly 100,000 ) three days ago.
Helicopter shot down by the people of Benghazi.
Beni Walid :

We called 20 mintues ago and got confirmation that a battalion from the Werfalla tribe are on their way to Tripoli ( anti - government ).
Zawiya :

Call 15 minutes ago, the city is free and empty of any government battalions. We told them what is happening in Benghazi and they said they are on their way to Tripoli to free it !

PH said...

@shamma :

It is a known fact in Libya every family has at least one person who experienced that.

Furthermore, those who managed to escape were banned from re-enlisting in the education system and thus were left without a degree.

Hareega said...

Maysaloon, ditto

SimSim... there was actually a meeting for Arab psychiatrists and a participant tried to analyze the paranoid schizophrenia of Qaddafi, the Libyan delegation heavily objected of course

Hareega said...

Shamma... my only reference is a 44-year Libyan engineer who used to sit with me in Starbucks , he used to live in Libya that time

There are several other terrible stories about him, he murdered anyone who would oppose anything that relates to him or his green book or African dream.

Hareega said...

great blog, thank you very much for the updates, keep sending them whenever you can, they are the real deal, I'd rather follow them than watch CNN, what you are doing is amazing

kinzi said...

Lunatic is one thing, blood thirsty lunatic is quite another.

I don't get why people turn a blind eye to the atrocities of regional leaders, it seems something Western media DOES cover well.

I think he looks a bit like Michael Jackson, too. Uniform, too much skin whitener, weird hair.

Tez said...

btw its always good to be an arab not only these days

Tez said...

he is Hitler number 2

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