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 #46 – Tea anyone?

tea‘I would like some tea, please. Don’t ask me HOW I would like it. Don’t try to make small talk with me. Up until 2minutes ago we were total strangers. You are not doing this because you want to. You are doing this because you have to. Don’t try to stall me with questions that would only intensify a thirst which, before you came prouncing along, wasn’t initially there. Just pour it and drop it and I’ll try not to sip it and spill it. I don’t care if it’s Iced Tea or Regular hot tea. I don’t care if its Earl Grey, De-Caff, Herbal or Chai Tea. I don’t care if it’s made by Lipton, Twinning’s, PG Tips, Tetley or low-budget teabags made for Economy class passengers. I don’t care if it comes with milk either so don’t ask me if I want full creamed, skimmed, semi-skimmed, evaporated, condensed, powdered, or any other white liquid substance that was supposedly drawn from a cow…or goat for that matter. Don’t assume that I would use the sugar in the sachet. You don’t know if I like to use sweetners. You don’t know if I take my tea with honey. You must be thinking that if I allowed you to ask how I take my tea I could have responded with a single-sentence which would save time and energy for both you and I? Well I would have said something like “I take it in a teacup like everyone else” – not the kind of answer you would like to hear. So now that you’ve probably learnt a thing or two (or not) ask me how I would like take my tea…I dare you’ xD