Tea with Gadhafi

It was a turbulent flight into Libya – hovering at thousands of feet for hours as UN fighter jets argued over my complete disregard for the no-fly zone imposed on the war-stricken country. Unfortunately I didn’t get the memo. Alas I seized a rare opportunity to land when the fighter jets had to return to base for refuelling. I passed the desert where Gaddafi was believed to have been born. The air was filled with dust and smoke. Pro and Anti-Gaddafi protesters were in various streets giving bloody exchanges in broad daylight while police officials looked on. Army tankers were operated by civilians and teenagers were wielding sophisticated assault rifles. I caught a glimpse of vandalized barricades and then I saw the abandoned corpses…I suddenly wanted to turn back and go home but my mission had to be completed. As the only person crazy enough to accept this mission, I needed to find out if there was anyway to convince Gaddafi to stop the killings and reach an agreement that would please the Libyan people – their lives depended on it.

I made my way to Gaddafi’s palace and I was escorted by armed bodyguards – not your everyday hefty Club-bouncer types but beautiful women whom I pray you would never have the misfortune of underestimating. They were rumoured to be deadly and quick to take care of any dirty business for their beloved dictator (So I did a good job of keeping my eyes off their assets). To my surprise we didn’t sit in the grandeur of hs lavish living rooms or terraces but in a large tent covered in lace pillows and mats made from raffia palms. There he was – Gaddafi in his elegant attire and that dazed look he wears so well like he was trying to recover from a never-ending hangover. We exchanged our Salaam Walekum-Walekum Salaams with a millisecond embrace. He motioned for me to sit and the bodyguards forced me down by my shoulders. It was going to be an interview like no other.

As I was trying to figure out the most comfortable way to fold my legs on the mat Gaddafi was brandishing a torch (don’t panic)…a Blackberry Torch. When I asked if we could start the interview he asked me to give him a few minutes while he finished chatting with al-Megrahi, also known to the world as The Lockerbie bomber (and there I was thinking he was chatting with his son).  I sipped on the aromatic  tea that was laid on a tray in front of me and almost felt right at home. Once he was through I told him what the media was saying about him – he didn’t care. I told him that the Libyan people were not happy that he usurped power for over 40 years – he didn’t see the big deal. I asked him if he ever thought of handing over to anyone, even his son – he looked confused. He didn’t say much and when he did I barely understood him (I can’t think why he didn’t allow me to come with someone who could translate gibberish).

One thing that he made clear was that it would be a cold day in hell before he would be overthrown in his own country, and that if the people could not show their gratitude towards him then he would have to show them discipline. He then asked me, out of his curiosity, whether I was Pro-Gaddafi or Anti-Gaddafi. I looked around at the hostile faces of the bodyguards. I remembered that I was on unfamiliar terrain with no guarantee of a safe return home. I knew what I wanted to say but I also knew what I had to say if I wanted to make it out of his tent alive… 🙁

How would YOU respond in that situation?

Sources: who2.com

*New post on The Other Side: The Tourist – A true story*

Entry #45 – If there’s any justice in the world…

names of lockerbie bomb victims…Al Megrahi would still be in jail. Well unless there is any evidence to say that he was not involved in the Lockerbie bombing I think he shouldn’t have been released on ‘compassionate grounds’. Yes I deliberately put that in inverted commas because, let’s face it, that’s a whole lot of bull****! Why else would Seif Al-Islam, the son of Col. Gaddafi (the ridiculously oil-rich Libyan leader) claim that every time British diplomats came over to discuss business in the past he would push forward a written request for the bomber’s release which was constantly refused…until now.

To make matters even worse for Britain, Gaddafi himself makes a public statement to the news media thanking UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew for encouraging the Scottish government to release Megrahi. Of course Britain quickly steps up to the plate in the guise of a creepy Lord Mendelson (Business Secretary) to deny all allegations of a trade deal as ‘implausible’ and ‘offensive’. Have you stopped to ask yourself whether the Scottish government have ever released a prisoner on the grounds of a terminal illness? Is there absolute conclusive evidence to confirm that Megrahi really has only less than 3months to live?

Britain has to be careful that it doesn’t damage its relations with the U.S government. 270 innocent people lost their lives after an explosive was detonated in a passenger plane in Lockerbie, Scotland. About 170 of the victims were American. Al Megrahi was convicted after Scotland Intelligence claimed that he was involved in the bombing but was not willing to cough up the names of his accomplices. Megrahi (more commonly referred to as The Lockerbie Bomber) claims he is not responsible for killing anyone but he doesn’t actually deny being part of the syndicate that masterminded this massacre…hmm.

Americans and other revolting citizens watched as Megrahi returned to Libya…in style – cruising in Gaddafi’s private jet, relaxing at a nifty 2-storey manor and enjoying celebrity-acclaim amongst the Libyan residents. The sickening bit for me is that I have not seen one sign of remorse since he was released. He’s smiling now though, probably thinking, ‘بفضل النفط الليبي أنا على الأراضي الليبية’ ! (Ok, if you’re that curious you can translate this in this pretty cool link…or not)