Saturday, October 22, 2011

Libya's Qadhafi, Qaddafi, Kadafi, or Gaddafi, is Dead: Now What?

The Colonel's name got spelled Qadhafi, Qaddafi, Kadafi, or Gaddafi: depending on who decided how to transliterate his name into the Latin alphabet.1 However it's spelled, the bottom line this weekend is that he's dead.

'Richest Man in the Cemetery'

The Los Angeles Times says that the Colonel may have earned a place in history. Folks are still piecing together the late ruler's financial records, but it looks like his investments totaled around $200,000,000. That's around $30,000 for each Libyan who wasn't the Colonel.

It's not the sort of accomplishment I'd want to be remembered for: but it is fame of a sort. The odds are pretty good that Qadhafi, Qaddafi, Kadafi, Gaddafi, or whatever, will join that elite cadre of ripoff rulers which includes Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire and Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines. Both of whom are dead.

Not that there's anything special about their being dead. That happens to all of us, given time. I'm more concerned about what happens after that. And that's another topic, for another blog.2

The Colonel's Death: Oops, There's a Video

Forensic evidence - and a video - doesn't match the official story about how the Colonel died. I'm not surprised: whoever made the official announcement may have been fed bogus information by whoever killed the Colonel. Still, it's not the best way to start a new government. I've put excerpts from recent news and views at the end of this post.3

I sincerely hope that whoever winds up running Libya next remembers that we're living in the Information Age: and that lies don't have anything close to the shelf life they did when I was growing up.

Speaking of shelf life: The Colonel's body was stored in a commercial freezer in a shopping center. Appropriate, in a way, considering the care with which the Colonel siphoned wealth out of Libya's citizenry and into his personal accounts.

The Colonel is Dead: Now What?

Folks in Syria who are fed up with the current regime say that their own autocrat is next on the list. They may be right.

As I've said before, this isn't the 20th century any more. Or the 18th, for that matter. I think we're looking at one of those big changes in world culture. Which is good news, since it looks like there's less room for rapacious rulers: and bad news, since old-school autocrats will probably kill quite a few folks before going down.

Related posts:
News and views:
1 Even when both writing systems use symbols to indicate sounds, like the Latin alphabet, transliteration from one alphabet to another can be tricky. American English, for example, uses either "k" or "ck" to indicate the same sound, but "c" can represent either the "k" sound, or the "s" sound - and "s" can represent the "sh" sound. I've mentioned issues involving spelling a few times:2 No rants about how someone I don't like will burn in Hell. I really don't need that kind of trouble. I've posted about life, death, and all that, in another blog:3 Excerpts from News and views:
"Libyan Official: Liberation to Be Declared Sunday"
Associated Press, via FoxNews.com (October 22, 2011)

"Libya's new leaders will declare liberation on Sunday, officials said, a move that will start the clock for elections after months of bloodshed that culminated in the death of longtime dictator Muammar Qaddafi.

"But the victory has been clouded by questions over how Qaddafi was killed after images emerged showing he was found alive and taunted and beaten by his captors.

"The long-awaited declaration of liberation will come more than two months after revolutionary forces swept into Tripoli and seized control of most of the oil-rich North African nation. It was stalled by fierce resistance by Qaddafi loyalists in his hometown of Sirte, Bani Walid and pockets in the South...."
"Syrians Rally, Saying Assad Is Next"
Nour Malas, The Wall Street Journal (October 22, 2011)

"Bolstered by scenes of jubilation in Libya, protesters in Syria and Yemen streamed out to rally against their longtime leaders Friday, warning their presidents to take a cue from Moammar Gadhafi's violent death.

"Official reactions were muted in the region. Arab media marked the death of Libya's 42-year autocrat as a remarkable victory for pro-democracy protesters in the Middle East.

"In an image from an amateur video from Idlib, Syria, ralliers' signs call Libyan events 'a victory for all Arabs.'

" 'He will be remembered in history as the chancellor of all tyrants,' an editorial in the pan-Arab newspaper Al Hayat said. Lebanese daily An-Nahar said the event 'takes the Arab Spring revolutions to a new turn, folding a painful page.' ..."
As Libya takes stock, Moammar Kadafi's hidden riches astound"
Paul Richter, Los Angeles Times (October 21, 2011)

"New estimates of the former leader's assets — more than $200 billion — are called 'staggering.' If they prove true, he would rank among the world's most rapacious leaders.

"Moammar Kadafi secretly salted away more than $200 billion in bank accounts, real estate and corporate investments around the world before he was killed, about $30,000 for every Libyan citizen and double the amount that Western governments previously had suspected, according to senior Libyan officials.

"The new estimates of the deposed dictator's hidden cash, gold reserves and investments are 'staggering,' one person who has studied detailed records of the asset search said Friday. 'No one truly appreciated the scope of it.'

"If the values prove accurate, Kadafi will go down in history as one of the most rapacious as well as one of the most bizarre world leaders, on a scale with the late Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire or the late Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines...."
"U.S. and U.N. Demand Details From Libyan Leaders on How Qaddafi Died"
Kareem Fahim, Rick Gladstone, The New York Times (October 21, 2011)

"International calls mounted Friday for Libya's interim leaders to provide a fuller accounting of the final moments before Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi's violent, messy death, as new videos circulated that showed him and his son Muatassim alive, apparently while in the custody of the former rebels.

"The United Nations and two leading human rights groups called for a thorough investigation into precisely how Colonel Qaddafi, who was seen on the Internet in cellphone videos bleeding and heaving as he was manhandled by screaming fighters, wound up dead with what appeared to be bullet wounds to the head.

"One video in particular was receiving heightened scrutiny on Friday because it showed a conscious Colonel Qaddafi wiping blood off the left side of his face, revealing no bullet wound. Later videos of his corpse showed a bullet wound in the same spot, adding to skepticism about the interim government's official explanation that he was accidentally killed during a shootout with Qaddafi loyalists...."
"Colonel Gaddafi dead: Libyan tyrant's body stored in shopping centre freezer"
Mirror.co.uk (October 21, 2011)

"Colonel Gaddafi's blood-soaked body has been stashed in a shopping centre freezer, it emerged today.

"With his burial not scheduled for several days, the dead tyrant's corpse is being kept in a chiller used by restaurants to store perishable foods.

"The shopping centre is in the coastal city of Misrata, home of the fighters who killed the ousted leader a day earlier in his hometown of Sirte.

"Gaddafi's body, stripped to the waist and wearing beige trousers, is laid on a bloodied mattress on the floor of the room-sized freezer.

"A bullet hole is visible on the left side of his head and in the centre of his chest, and dried blood streaks his arms and head.

"Gaddafi final pleas to his captors emerged in new video today,[sic]

"He is heard to say: 'What you're doing is wrong, guys. What you're doing is wrong.

" 'Do you know what is right or wrong?'..."

2 comments:

Brigid said...

Extra vowel: "Latin alphabet, transliteratione from one"

The Friendly Neighborhood Proofreader

Brian Gill said...

Brigid,

Oops. I'd been doing that quite a bit. Fixed, and thanks!

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

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