Colonel Gaddafi’s showmanship was most on display on his foreign visits – when he sleeps in a Bedouin tent guarded by dozens of female bodyguards! Strange, isn’t it? Probably, since he was born to a Bedouin herdsman in 1942 in a ‘tent’ near Sirte on the Mediterranean coast – he was re-living that moment every time and basking in the glory of his success despite his humble beginnings! Yes, he had a penchant for Bedouin tents!! And, he has ruled Libya for 40 years – longest serving leader in the Arab world.
Now, Libya is in flames – and is most likely a candidate for civil war. Tripoli has descended in chaos after the ‘revolt’ by pro-democracy protesters spread from Benghazi, where it started, to across the country!
Libya is the fourth largest oil producer in Africa – and 90% of Libyan oil exports come from the eastern region of Cyrenaica, the epicenter of revolt against the strongman/ dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Instability will set in soon, if the current situation is not brought under control and these flames are reaching as far as China – a communist country and the second largest economy in the world! China has closed many internet sites/ even the You tube – I just cannot understand – how fast the events have taken place, so quick – primarily due to media coverage and extensive use of high tech communication devices. Distances do not matter anymore in the 21st century!
Gaddafi took power in a bloodless military coup in the year 1969 and in the 1970s he formulated his ‘Third Universal Theory’ – middle path between communism and capitalism. He built up armed forces, improved the living standards in Libya, spending billions of dollars from his country’s oil income. He used tough tactics with those who dissented with his policies; tried to merge Libya, Egypt and Syria but miserably failed to build pan-Arabism, a vision of late Egyptian leader Gamal Nasser whom Gaddafi admired a lot. He is shunned by the West for his links to terrorism and the ex President of United States, Ronald Reagan sent war planes to bomb Libya in 1986, calling him a ‘Mad dog’!
It seems like – though, it is very difficult to confirm – ‘People’s power has triumphed!’ Arab revolution is in the making – creating unrest, mayhem and death of innocent civilians across the Middle East. Libya, like all other Arab (Muslim) states could not get any where close to democracy in the past! WILL IT NOW??