Muammar Gaddafi

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I am a Bedouin warrior who brought glory to Libya and will die a martyr.

Muammar abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (7 June 194220 October 2011) was the leader of Libya from 1969, when he overthrew the monarchy in a bloodless coup, until 2011 when he was overthrown by a NATO-backed internal rebellion. He declared Libya a directly democratic state (jamahiriya) in 1977, and stepped down from government office two years later, although he remained the effective center of power. Gaddafi pursued an anti-colonial and pan-African foreign policy that the United States and European countries condemned as sponsorship of terrorism.

Quotes[edit]

Man’s freedom is lacking if somebody else controls what he needs, for need may result in man’s enslavement of man.
There is only one religion which is Islam after Mohammed.… All those believers who do not follow Islam are losers.
The times of Arab nationalism and unity are gone forever. These ideas which mobilized the masses are only a worthless currency.
  • Nothing would please me more, but who else would pump the oil that we need? God damn America.
  • I have nothing to say to him [Ronald Reagan], because he is mad. He is foolish. He is an Israeli dog.
  • When I met Nasser, he said to me, "I see myself when I was young in you. You are the future for the Arab revolution." This meant very, very much to me.
    • The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • Lincoln was a man who created himself from nothing without any help from outside or other people. I followed his struggles. I see certain similarities between him and me.
    • The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • We [Libyans] support the Palestinian resistance, and all the world supports this. We support their just cause, but we are against terrorism.
    • The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • Americans are good people. They have no aggressions against us and they like us as we like them. They must know I don't hate them. I love them.… I hear it is a complex society inside. Many Americans don't know about the outside world. The majority have no concern and no information about other people. They could not even find Africa on a map. I think Americans are good, but America will be taken over and destroyed from the inside by the Zionist lobby. The Americans do not see this. They are getting decadent. Zionists will use this to destroy them.
    • The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • Reagan is mad. If he were here, I would tell him the truth about us. He hears about us only through hostile sources.
    • Remarks quoted in The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • Reagan plays with fire. He doesn't care about international peace. He plays as if he was in the theater. Reagan wants to dominate the world. He wants to find justification to make war. If he does this, if it goes on like this, a cataclysm will take place. Reagan should come and see that I am not a terrorist in a trench with a grenade in my pocket.
    • The Pittsburgh Press (3 August 1986) "Gadhafi, the man the world loves to hate" by Marie Colvin (UPI)
  • My brother! You are my brother for the rest of my life!
    • Gaddafi expressing his gratitude to Nicolae Ceauşescu after recieving a Romanian translation of the Koran, quoted in Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief (1987) by Ion Mihai Pacepa, p. 101
  • I do not support peace in the Middle East. And I do not support Arafat. He is a stupid, incompetent fool!... The stupid fool is a zealot, a warrior, and a clever one. But he doesn't accomplish anything.
    • Remarks quoted in Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief (1987) by Ion Mihai Pacepa, p. 110
  • The times of Arab nationalism and unity are gone forever. These ideas which mobilized the masses are only a worthless currency. Libya has had to put up with too much from the Arabs for whom it has poured forth both blood and money.
    • Remarks (2003), quoted in Nonproliferation Norms (2009) by Maria Rost Rublee, p. 161
  • The Libyans said they'll buy their way out of these three [terrorism] black lists. We'll pay so much, to hell with $2 billion or more. It's not compensation. It's a price. The Americans said it was Libya who did it. It is known that the president was madman Reagan who's got Alzheimer's and has lost his mind. He now crawls on all fours.
    • SBS Dateline (8 October 2003) "The New Libya"
  • The black people’s struggle has vanquished racism. It was God who created colour. Today Obama, a son of Kenya, a son of Africa, has made it in the United States of America.
  • [Somali maritime violence] is a response to greedy Western nations, who invade and exploit Somalia's water resources illegally. It is not a piracy, it is self defence. It is defending the Somalia children's food.
  • During my term in AU, I will initiate an organised compensation claim for Africa and I will fight for a greater voice for Africa in the United Nations Security Council. If they do not want to live with us fairly, it is our planet and they can go to another planet.
  • I am an international leader, the dean of the Arab rulers, the king of kings of Africa and the imam of Muslims, and my international status does not allow me to descend to a lower level.
  • What's going on? … What you are doing is not allowed in Islamic law [halal]. What you are doing is forbidden in Islam [haraam]! … Do you know right from wrong?
  • Let the free people of the world know that we could have bargained over and sold out our cause in return for a personal secure and stable life. We received many offers to this effect but we chose to be at the vanguard of the confrontation as a badge of duty and honour.
    • Last will and testament

Speeches[edit]

  • Your armed forces have toppled the reactionary, backward and corrupt regime. With one strike your heroic army has toppled idols and destroyed them in one of Providence's fateful moments. As of now Libya shall be free and sovereign, a republic under the name of the Libyan Arab Republic. No oppressed or deceived or wronged, no master and no slave; but free brothers in a society over which, God willing, shall flutter the banner of brotherhood and equality. And thus shall we build glory, revive heritage and avenge a wounded dignity. Sons of the Bedouins, sons of the desert, sons of the ancient cities, sons of the countryside, sons of the villages, the hour of work has struck and so let us forge ahead.
    • Radio broadcast from Benghazi (1 September 1969), quoted in The Libyan Revolution: Its Origins and Legacy (2009) by Nicholas Hagger
  • Irrespective of the conflict with America, it is a human duty to show sympathy with the American people and be with them at these horrifying and awesome events which are bound to awaken human conscience. When I was five, my brother was shot by an Israeli soldier, since then I have been dedicated to uniting the Arab countries throughout the Middle East and retain a trade flow with the west.
  • La donna deve essere addestrata a combattere dentro le case, a preparare una cintura esplosiva e a farsi saltare in aria insieme coi soldati nemici. Chiunque abbia una macchina deve prepararla e sapere come si fa a sistemare l'esplosivo e a trasformarla in un'autobomba. Dobbiamo addestrare le donne a disporre esplosivi nelle macchine e a farle scoppiare in mezzo ai nemici, a far esplodere le case per farle crollare sui soldati nemici. Bisogna preparare trappole. Avete visto come il nemico controlla i bagagli: bisogna manipolare queste valige per farle esplodere quando loro le aprono. Si deve insegnare alle donne a minare gli armadi, le borse, le scarpe, i giocattoli dei bambini, in modo che scoppino sui soldati nemici.
  • Women must be trained to fight in houses, prepare explosive belts and blow themselves up alongside enemy soldiers. Anyone with a car must prepare it and know how to install explosives and turn it into a car-bomb. We must train women to place explosives in cars and blow them up in the midst of enemies, and blow up houses so that they can collapse on enemy soldiers. Traps must be prepared. You have seen how the enemy checks baggage: we must fix these suitcases in order for them to explode when they open them. Women must be taught to place mines in cupboards, bags, shoes, children's toys so that they explode on enemy soldiers.
    • Speech to the women of Sabha, October 4 2003; cited in ilfoglio.it
  • There is no state with a democracy except Libya on the whole planet.
    • Video lecture at Columbia University (23 March 2006), quoted in BBC News (23 March 2006) "Gaddafi gives lesson on democracy"
  • In the Middle East, the opposition is quite different than the opposition in advanced countries. In our countries, the opposition takes the form of explosions, assassinations, killings.
    • Video lecture at Columbia University (23 March 2006), quoted in BBC News (23 March 2006) "Gaddafi gives lesson on democracy"
  • It was our hope that Libya with its revolution would become a model of freedom, popular democracy and a state free from oppression and injustice. However Libya became another conventional state, even a dictatorial or police state. This is deeply regrettable. We are not like that, nor do we want to be like that.
    • Speech to heads of justice of the Jamahiriya (20 May 2009) [1]
  • We have 50 million Muslims in Europe. There are signs that Allah will grant Islam victory in Europe—without swords, without guns, without conquest—will turn it into a Muslim continent within a few decades.
    • Speech (10 April 2006), quoted in New York Sun (6 September 2009) "Terrorists Promise More Attacks Like 9/11" by Steven Stalinsky
  • There are serious mistakes, among them the one saying that Jesus came as a messenger for other people other than the sons of Israel.… Christianity is not a faith for people in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Other people who are not sons of Israel have nothing to do with that religion.… It is a mistake that another religion exists alongside Islam. There is only one religion which is Islam after Mohammed.… All those believers who do not follow Islam are losers.
    • Sermon to a prayer meeting in Niger (30 March 2007), quoted in Reuters UK (30 March 2007) "Gaddafi says only Islam a universal religion" by Salah Sarrar
  • Today there is a divide that we must acknowledge, and we must know who is deepening it. Perhaps it is colonialism—the enemy of Islam, the enemy of the Arabs, the enemy of the Persians—that is deepening it.… They have divided Islam into two Islams, and there came to be Shi'ite Islam and Sunni Islam. This is a bid'a [heresy]… When did Muhammad say: "I have brought you Shi'ite Islam and Sunni Islam?"… they have now begun to group the Arabs against Iran and Iran against the Arabs, and then Shi'ites against Sunnis and Sunnis against Shi'ites.… Are we Muslims, or are we Shi'ites and Sunnis?! For whose benefit is this? It is for the benefit of the "other" that we are speaking about, for the benefit of the enemy, for the benefit of colonialism.
  • Whenever I ask about Pepsi-Cola or Coca-Cola, people immediately say it is an American or European drink. This is not true. The kola is African. They have taken the cheap raw material from us. They produced it, they made it into a drink, and they sell it to us for a high price. Why are Pepsi-Cola and Coca-Cola expensive? Because they have taken our kola, produced it, and sold it back to us. We should produce it ourselves and sell it to them.
  • The statements of our Kenyan brother of American nationality, Obama, on Jerusalem … show that he either ignores international politics and did not study the Middle East conflict or that it [Barack Obama's expression of solidarity with Israel] is a campaign lie. We fear that Obama will feel that, because he is black with an inferiority complex, this will make him behave worse than the whites. This will be a tragedy. We tell him to be proud of himself as a black and feel that all Africa is behind him.
  • I am a Bedouin warrior who brought glory to Libya and will die a martyr.
    • Televised address to the nation
  • We will fight in every valley, in every street, in every oasis, and every town. We won't surrender again; we are not women; we will keep fighting.
  • I call on the Libyan people, men and women, to go out into the squares and the streets in all the cities in their millions. … Go peacefully... be courageous, rise up, go to the streets, raise our green flags to the skies. … Don't be afraid of anyone. You are the people. You have right on your side. You are the rightful people of this land.

The Green Book (1975)[edit]

  • The era of the masses, which follows the age of the republics, excites the feelings and dazzles the eyes. But even though the vision of this era denotes genuine freedom of the masses and their happy emancipation from the bonds of external authoritarian structures, it warns also of the dangers of a period of chaos and demagoguery, and the threat of a return to the authority of the individual, the sect and party, instead of the authority of the people. Theoretically, this is genuine democracy but, realistically, the strong always rules. That is, the stronger party in the society is the one that rules.
    • The Green Book (1975)
  • Man’s freedom is lacking if somebody else controls what he needs, for need may result in man’s enslavement of man.
    • The Green Book (1975)
  • Any class which becomes heir to a society, inherits, at the same time, its characteristics. That is to say that if the working class crushes all other classes, for instance, it becomes heir of the society, that is, it becomes the material and social base of the society. The heir bears the traits of the one he inherits from, though they may not be evident at once. As time passes, attributes of other eliminated classes emerge in the very ranks of the working class. And the possessors of those characteristics take the attitudes and points of view appropriate to their characteristics. Thus the working class turns out to be a separate society, showing the same contradictions as the old society.
    • The Green Book (1975)
  • Popular congresses are the only means to achieve popular democracy. Any system of government other than popular congresses is undemocratic.
    • The Green Book (1975)

Letter to Barack Obama[edit]

Letter send To Barack Obama (6 April 2011)
  • We have been hurt more morally that physically because of what had happened against us in both deeds and words by you. Despite all this you will always remain our son whatever happened. We still pray that you continue to be president of the U.S.A. We Endeavour and hope that you will gain victory in the new election campaigne. You are a man who has enough courage to annul a wrong and mistaken action. I am sure that you are able to shoulder the responsibility for that. Enough evidence is available, Bearing in mind that you are the president of the strongest power in the world nowadays, and since Nato is waging an unjust war against a small people of a developing country. This country had already been subjected to embargo and sanctions, furthermore it also suffered a direct military armed aggression during Reagan’s time. This country is Libya. Hence, to serving world peace … Friendship between our peoples … and for the sake of economic, and security cooperation against terror, you are in a position to keep Nato off the Libyan affair for good.
  • As you know too well democracy and building of civil society cannot be achieved by means of missiles and aircraft, or by backing armed member of AlQuaeda in Benghazi.
  • You — yourself — said on many occasions, one of them in the UN General Assembly, I was witness to that personally, that America is not responsible for the security of other peoples. That America helps only. This is the right logic.
  • Our dear son, Excellency, Baraka Hussein Abu oumama, your intervention is the name of the U.S.A. is a must, so that Nato would withdraw finally from the Libyan affair. Libya should be left to Libyans within the African union frame. The problem now stands as follows:-
  • 1. There is Nato intervention politically as well as military.
  • 2. Terror conducted by AlQaueda gangs that have been armed in some cities, and by force refused to allow people to go back to their normal life, and carry on with exercising their social people’s power as usual.

Interviews[edit]

When everyone is part of the people’s congress, what need is there for an opposition? Opposition to what? You oppose a government! If there is no government, and the people govern themselves on their own, what are they going to oppose?
  • Why should we be closer to the Soviets? Because the Americans have challenged us. America is involved in a conspiracy [against the Arab world], primarily because of its policy toward Israel. In our view, whoever is against the Americans stands with us. The enemy of your enemy is your friend.
  • Israel is a colonialist-imperialist phenomenon. There is no such thing as an Israeli people. Before 1948, world geography knew of no state such as Israel. Israel is the result of an invasion, of aggression.
  • Did Libya invade Italy or was it Italy that invaded Libya? You attack us now as you did then. In other ways, with other systems, by supporting Israel, opposing Arab unity and our revolutions, frowning on Islam and calling us fanatics. We’ve been too patient with you. We’ve put up with your provocation for too long. If we hadn’t been so wise, we would have gone to war with you a thousand times. We didn’t because we think the use of force is a last resort for survival and because we have always been on the side of civilisation. After all, during the Middle Ages we civilised you. You were poor barbarians, primitive, savage creatures.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • The science you enjoy now is the science we taught you. The medicine you treat yourselves with is the medicine we gave you. It’s the same with the astronomy you know, the mathematics, the literature, the art...
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • I think these Western phenomena derive from capitalist society. They’re movements denoting rejection of a society that has to be torn down. Whether they are called the Red Brigades or the hippies or the Beatles or the Children of God. And even though I’m against kidnappings and hijackings, I don’t want to interfere with what they’re doing.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • We are not responsible for what might be done with the weapons we give to the Palestinians. We give them to the Palestinians because we believe in their cause and we believe we have a duty to help them. What happens afterwards is none of my business. If I am to be found guilty by proxy, I prefer charges that are direct. But there is no proof.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • Revolution is when the masses make the revolution. A people’s revolution. But even when the revolution is made by others in the name of the masses, expressing what the masses want, it can be revolution. A people’s revolution because it has the support of the masses and interprets the will of the masses.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • I staged a coup d’état and the workers staged the revolution, occupying the factories, becoming partners instead of employees, eliminating the monarchic administration and setting up people’s committees. In short, they liberated themselves. Students did the same. Today in Libya, only the people count.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • Hitler and Mussolini exploited the support of the masses to rule the people. We revolutionaries enjoy the support of the masses to help the people become capable of ruling themselves on their own. I myself am constantly appealing to the masses to govern on their own. I say to my people: ‘If you love me, listen to me. And govern yourselves on your own’. That’s why they love me because, unlike Hitler, who said ‘I’ll do it all for you’, I say ‘Do it on your own.
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • When everyone is part of the people’s congress, what need is there for an opposition? Opposition to what? You oppose a government! If there is no government, and the people govern themselves on their own, what are they going to oppose? Something that isn’t there?
    • Interview with Oriana Fallaci (2 December 1979), Corriere della Sera
  • We believe America is practicing all kinds of terrorism against Libya. Even the accusation that we are involved in terrorism is in itself an act of terrorism.
  • I have nothing but scorn for the notion of an Islamic bomb. There is no such thing as an Islamic bomb or a Christian bomb. Any such weapon is a means of terrorizing humanity, and we are against the manufacture and acquisition of nuclear weapons. This is in line with our definition of—and opposition to—terrorism.
  • Africa is closer to me in every way than Iraq or Syria.
    • Interview (2001), quoted in BBC News (6 February 2001) "Analysis: Gaddafi's revolution" by Gerald Butt
  • 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. They did not fight with us against the Italians, and they did not fight with us against the Americans. They did not lift the sanctions and siege from us. On the contrary, they gloated at us, and benefited from our hardship….
    • Interview with Al Jazeera (27 March 2007)
  • I won't be a party to a conspiracy to mobilize the Arabs against the Persians. Only the forces of colonialism benefit from such a conspiracy. I won't be a party to a conspiracy that splits Islam into two - Shiite Islam and Sunni Islam – mobilizing Sunni Islam against Shiite Islam.
    • Interview with Al Jazeera (27 March 2007)
  • I am defending the Jews to prevent them from becoming extinct, because they are doomed to become extinct if they continue this way.… I am convinced that the solution is to establish a democratic state for the Jews and the Palestinians, a state that will be called Palestine, Isratine, or whatever they want. This is the fundamental solution, or else the Jews will be annihilated in the future, because the Palestinians have [strategic] depth.
    • Interview with Al Jazeera (27 March 2007)

Al Jazeera's mobile phone wiretaps[edit]

  • What's wrong with the Spanish? Tell them they do not appreciate their own interests. Tell them we will recognize the Basques. Threaten them with this, and recognize Andalusia.
    • Statement (5 April 2011), as quoted in "Libya on the Line: An interactive timeline Browse through a collection of conversations between Gaddafi, Saif al-Islam and other senior Libyan officials" at Aljazeera (11 May 2012)

Quotes about Gaddafi[edit]

The way he was martyred on behest of imperialist forces indicates that he was anti-imperialist, brave, courageous and a great revolutionary. Ghinwa Bhutto
  • I take this opportunity to reiterate my thanks and my appreciation to my dear Brother Leader Muammar Gaddafi, Leader of the Libyan revolution, for his honourable initiative that our people have received with great satisfaction and of facilitating the movement and activities of Tunisian Libya sister and treat them just like the Libyans. This confirms a sincere brotherhood and the strong support we have always received from him and to the brotherly Libyan people.
  • Love him or not, we must recognize that this is one of the greatest African leaders who influenced several generations, including mine, and found in the constancy and courage of his positions what we research in a hero. In a word: pride.
  • The way he was martyred on behest of imperialist forces indicates that he was anti-imperialist, brave, courageous and a great revolutionary.
  • Gaddafi was a great leader, a true revolutionary who should not be confused with the new Libyan leadership swept into power by NATO's bayonets and by oil multinationals.
  • Liberator of Libya, He will be remembered as a great fighter, a revolutionary and martyr.
  • He's stupid. He's clinically stupid... He's the most stupid of all.
  • He is intelligent and effectively capable of anything. But I think he has gone too far in this crisis and it is going to be very difficult for him to remain in power.
    • Claude Moniquet,[7] (March 3, 2011)
  • I know something of the good of Moammar Gadhafi that made me to love him as a brother and to feel a great sense of loss at his assassination, He died in honor, fighting for the Libya that he believed in.
  • The actual evidence … is that Qaddafi senior has reached his Ceausescu moment: a full-dress (in the literal sense) meltdown into paranoia, megalomania, and delusion. His recent speeches and appearances have shown him stinking with madness and hysteria. His age and condition, at any rate, set a very sharp limit to the duration of his regime. If that regime implodes while he is still "in place," then all the grim consequences foreseen by the realists will be incurred in any case. Weapons will get into the wrong hands; divide-and-rule tactics (already a stock in trade) will intensify; religious and tribal passions will be deliberately inflamed. The main difference will be that we merely watched this happen
    • Christopher Hitchens, in "Don't Let Qaddafi Win: Ignore the "realists." If we do nothing, the situation in Libya can only get worse", in Slate (14 March 2011)]
  • Arrivare a mettere in ginocchio un intero popolo, fargli avallare dei concetti stravaganti e irrazionali, mantenerlo nell'ignoranza e nella povertà: ecco ciò che è riuscito a fare quest'uomo, che ha resistito per 42 anni senza mai esitare di soffocare ogni tentativo di opposizione. Niente giornalisti, niente testimoni, lui non è raggiungibile, è il maestro assoluto e arrogante. Spesso sono stati ricordati i suoi problemi psichologici, ma non occorre una tecnica di analisi sofisticata per coglierli. Basta guardarlo: il suo narcisismo è patologico, il suo egocentrismo è patetico, la sua arroganza è terrificante.
  • Succeeding in forcing an entire people on its knees, making it endorse extravagant and irrational concepts, keeping it in ignorance and poverty: this is what this man, who has survived 42 years without ever hesitating to suffocate any attempt at opposition, has achieved. No journalists, no witnesses, he is unapproachable, the arrogant, absolute master. Often, his psychological problems are brought up, but a sophisticated analysis is not needed to pin them down. One need only look at him: his narcissism is pathological, his egocentrism pathetic, and his arrogance terrifying.
  • He died as a hero, Allah will bless him, oil diggers will be punished.
  • Ceauşescu has been fascinated by Gadhafi ever since the latter seized power in Libya in 1969 at the age of 27. Ceauşescu's interest stemmed in part from the fact that he himself had been considered youthful when he came to power in 1965, at the age of 27... Their most important similarity, however, is in their dreams. Gadhafi has gigantic plans to build up Libya as an international power and himself as the undisputed world leader of Islam. Ceauşescu wants to place his country at the center of world politics, to make himself an international figure, and to become the leader of the Third World.
    • Ion Mihai Pacepa, Red Horizons: Chronicles of a Communist Spy Chief (1987) p. 98
  • Look, I can't take that Mister Gaddafi seriously at all. I can only wish him well in serving his country as I am serving mine, and can only remind him that he shouldn't squeal so loudly.
  • For most Africans, Gaddafi is a generous man, a humanist, known for his unselfish support for the struggle against the racist regime in South Africa. If he had been an egotist, he wouldn’t have risked the wrath of the West to help the ANC both militarily and financially in the fight against apartheid. This was why Mandela, soon after his release from 27 years in jail, decided to break the UN embargo and travel to Libya on 23 October 1997. Mandela didn’t mince his words when the former US president Bill Clinton said the visit was an ‘unwelcome’ one – ‘No country can claim to be the policeman of the world and no state can dictate to another what it should do’. He added – ‘Those that yesterday were friends of our enemies have the gall today to tell me not to visit my brother Gaddafi, they are advising us to be ungrateful and forget our friends of the past.
  • We know that this mad dog of the Middle East has a goal of a world revolution, Muslim fundamentalist revolution, which is targeted on many of his own Arab compatriots. And where we figure in that, I don't know. Maybe we're just the enemy because—it's a little like climbing Mount Everest—because we're here. But there's no question but that he has singled us out more and more for attack, and we're aware of that. As I say, we're gathering evidence as fast as we can.
  • The way things turned out in Misrata was not what Khadafy had hoped for. Right to the very bitter end, he remained a prisoner of his illusions. For four decades, he had heard people, men and women, shouting themselves hoarse with promises of dying for him. For four decades, he had distributed vast sums of money, generated by Libya’s huge oil exports, among a few hundred thousand “Fedaees” or “self-sacrificers,” individuals who were supposed to fight for him to the end. When high on hubris and the “stimulant” drugs he took, the colonel claimed to have “an army of Omar Mukhtars” under his command, named after a bandit who became a local hero by fighting Italian colonialists in 1912. Yet the first city to rise against Khadafy was Tobruk — Omar Mukhtar’s birthplace. Then Benghazi rose, followed by Braiga. As each town and city rose against him, the colonel promised to fight back from another. His last stands were in Bani-Walid and Sirte. Tens of thousands of Omar Mukhtars did enter the battlefield. But they were fighting not for but against him.
  • It is uncertain … whether Muammar Gaddafi has studied the fate of the man who died on Bosworth Field. But if he died, he might find it instructive. Like Richard, Gaddafi came to power in a palace coup, when he and a group of young officers - the Tripoli equivalents of the Duke of Buckingham et al - overthrew the popular but ailing Idris, Libya's first and only king, in 1969. With a ruthlessness that might have impressed the Duke of Gloucester, Gaddafi had Idris tried in absentia while disinheriting all of his heirs... Just as Richard was challenged by a coalition of the willing assembled around the Lancastrian Earl of Richmond, so have Libyan rebels seeking Gaddafi's overthrow declared their allegiance to the memory of the old king and used his tricolour standard as their symbol of resistance. Gaddafi's well-documented use of assassins, sent abroad to hunt down and murder his enemies during the 1970s and 1980s, and his complicity in the 1988 destruction of Pan Am flight 103, provides a clear echo of Richard's monstrous methodology in commading the killings of the young princes and numerous perceived rivals. Gaddafi's resort to 'human shields'... to protect himself from Nato bombs is no less lethally duplicitous than Richard's treatment of Lady Anne.
    • Simon Tisdall, as quoted in "Trail of Tyranny" in The Old Vic (Summer 2011)

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