Gadhafi wants to experience charms of N.J.After North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi may be the world’s most widely ridiculed leader. Wait, it gets better: He’s making his first visit to the United States in September.
By: Dale McFeatters, The Dickinson Press
After North Korea’s Kim Jong Il, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi may be the world’s most widely ridiculed leader. Wait, it gets better: He’s making his first visit to the United States in September.
And, yes, he’s apparently bringing his famous tent. Gadhafi entertains and occasionally lives in a tent pitched outside the presidential palace in Tripoli. When he went to Brussels, Belgium, for an economic meeting, he pitched his tent, which comes with a satellite dish, on the grounds of a chateau. The tent is supposed to represent his Bedouin origins, but maybe he just likes to camp.
If we’re lucky, he’ll bring along his 15 female bodyguards, who have changing wardrobes of khaki and blue camouflage in which they stand around looking stern. NBC’s “Today” is probably even now trying to book them.
The likely campsite is the grounds of a mansion owned by the Libyan mission to the United Nations in the upscale suburb of Englewood, N.J. Apparently even with the bodyguards the Libyans decided that camping in New York’s Central Park might be too dangerous. However, this unsought honor makes the residents of Englewood unhappy because of Gadhafi’s long history of support for terrorism.
But that is so 1980s. He has renounced terrorism. Indeed, in Brussels he proclaimed, “Libya has decided to lead the world peace movement,” although no one recalled Libya being asked to undertake that particular chore. Still, it would have been nice if he’d done that before his agents blew up a U.S. airliner over Scotland, killing 270 people.
An Orthodox rabbi lives next door to Libya’s Englewood property and he might want to duck into the tent to discuss “The White Book,” Gadhafi’s plan for bringing peace to the Israelis and Palestinians. Basically, he would have them all live together in a state called “Isratine.”
Gadhafi, it must be said, is full of ideas. The best of his thinking is in a 1975 volume called “The Green Book,” on sale in Libyan bookstores everywhere, often the only book aside from the Quran on sale in Libyan bookstores. He is not a big believer in a free press or a free much-of-anything-else.
Part 1 of “The Green Book” is “The Solution of the Problem of Democracy.” The solution to democracy in Libya seems to have been to eliminate it altogether in favor of a pervasive police state.
In theory, the will of the people percolates up through a series of committees in a formless and thoroughly ineffective process familiar to student leftists of the ‘60s. In keeping with his philosophy, Gadhafi has no formal title, although if you must call him something, “Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya” will do, or “Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution” for short.
Gadhafi has aspirations beyond being a mere Guide. He is currently president of the African Union. He would like to see the AU transformed into the United States of Africa, which he, of course, would head. But enthusiasm seems to be lacking among the prospective member states.
Gadhafi is only 67 and has proved adept as eluding numerous attempts to kill him, including one by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. As part of his “Solution of the Problem of Democracy,” he eliminated any mechanism for replacing himself. He does have seven sons and one daughter, so the process of succession could be quite lively.
The people of Englewood probably feel put upon enough already, but they could do the world a great favor by convincing Gadhafi to stay. Six million Libyans would thank them.
— McFeatters writes for Scripps Howard News Service. E-mail him at McFeattersD@SHNS.com.