By Armand Whyte, OSL
Libya's ex-leader Col Muammar Gaddafi was killed after an assault on his home town of Sirte.
Libya's acting prime minister Mahmoud Jibril announced:
We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Gaddafi has been killed.
Gaddafi's body was put on display in a refrigerated meat container before he was buried in the desert with his son Mutassim.
Sherrod Blakely was invited to Colonel Gaddafi's compound in Tripoli, Libya. He was given 40 minutes with the under-fire Arab leader, who defended his revolution and explained why he chooses virgins as his personal bodyguards. The interview was translated from the Arabic by Marwan Moussa.
Question: Sir, I would like to hear what you think of the demonstrations against you, and the fact that the opposition controls so much of the west of Libya. We have seen demonstrations everywhere ...
Colonel Gaddafi: What you have seen, I do not believe. What you say is lies and propaganda aimed at destabilizing our beautiful revolution.
Question: But there are people, many thousands of people, asking you to resign or leave.
Colonel Gaddafi: What you describe is nothing but the work of dogs. I have a rifle, I will shoot these dogs. The people love me; they will lay down their lives for me. We will not be ruled by mongrels and thieves.
Question: You will not resign, sir?
Colonel Gaddafi: Resign from what? The question is absurd. I have no official position. I am not president or queen or prime minister. I am the spirit of the revolution.
Question: We have seen the opposition seizing control of Benghazi, the second city of Libya. You no longer control that city.
Colonel Gaddafi: That is nonsense. What you saw in Benghazi was a folk music festival. It was young people celebrating our culture and our revolution.
Question: What do you say about the freezing of your assets?
Colonel Gaddafi: This is a desert country. Our asses do not freeze.
Question: How do you explain the wave of protests and demands for reform that are sweeping across the Middle East and North Africa?
Colonel Gaddafi: I do not see these things you describe. It is terrorists and troublemakers wishing to destroy our revolution. Foreign powers want to steal our oil. They do not want us to be free nations. The West wants us to be slaves to colonial masters, but we will not return to days of slavery. We are not children. We are warriors. We will fight to the last drop of blood.
Question: You will not leave the country, sir?
Colonel Gaddafi: I will not leave. Do you ask Obama if he will leave the United States? Do you ask Queen Elizabeth if she will leave the shores of the United Kingdom? This is my country. I will die here, and I will die for my country.
Question: May we ask you questions of a more personal nature, sir?
Colonel Gaddafi: [Mutters to his aides:
These people are scoundrels.] You cannot insult me more than you have done. So, [Gaddafi waves his hand in the air], ask your questions.
Question: You are accused by many diplomats who have met you of being erratic and unbalanced. They say your dress style is, well, idiosyncratic...
Colonel Gaddafi: Are you calling me an idiot? Then you are the fool.
Question: No, no. I mean to say that it has been said your clothing style is eccentric.
Colonel Gaddafi: You wish me to dress in suit and tie. You wish me to look like the fools in the West, everyone alike. But no, I am a man of the desert. I am a man of the open spaces, the big sky. I wear the clothes of my people, my culture. I wear what I want. I will not wear the suit and tie because fools in the West says I must. In America, many men wear their hat the wrong way, the front is the back. I do not comment on this. I do not say they must change.
Question: Is it true your personal bodyguards are an elite force of virgins personally chosen by you?
Colonel Gaddafi: Under every rock you turn, there is a bad smell. Your every word hides a lie. I will tell you about my bodyguards. I am interested in promoting the rights of women. Each one of these beautiful virgins would lay down her life for me. They would offer their blood to save me because they love me and our glorious revolution.
Question: You do not have intimate relations with these young women?
Colonel Gaddafi: I cannot believe your impertinence! Do you ask president Obama, our African brother, if he is intimate with his personal bodyguards? I am sure you do not. And I am sure he does not do these things, unlike the other president, what was his name? Clinton... Why must I suffer these questions? It is madness.
Question: I did not wish to insult you, sir. I was told by your assistant, the major, that I was free to ask you anything.
Colonel Gaddafi: Yes, anything of relevance. You are not free to ask me about my washing habits or bathroom visits. You are not free to ask me about intimate things. This is rudeness and madness. I would strike you down if it were not for the promise I have given to listen to you. But I am growing tired ... [says to his aide:
These fools must leave soon. I am losing patience with their nonsense. You said this would be a serious interview.]
Question: May we ask a final question, sir?
Colonel Gaddafi: Yes, one last question.
Question: Is there anything in the West that you like or admire? Do you hate us all?
Colonel Gaddafi: More foolishness. I hate no one. How can I hate you? I pity you, but I do not hate.
Question: But is there anything about us you like?
Colonel Gaddafi: Yes, I like Hollywood films. I watch Lara Croft many times. It is a fine movie. I enjoy Resident Evil, the whole series. The Kill Bill is much fun, too. The Dragon Tattoo woman is very fine. And Lady Vengeance, the film from Korea, it is excellent.
Question: All of the women you mention would make excellent bodyguards for you, sir.
Colonel Gaddafi: [Laughs] This is true. But you Americans make one big mistake, you think life is Hollywood and Hollywood is life. But Hollywood is no more than a factory of dreams. You live in a factory of dreams.
At this point, a young woman tells us that the interview is over. Colonel Gaddafi gets up and leaves. We are shown out of his compound by four armed, uniformed women wearing high heeled boots.
This piece of f(r)iction is by Marwan Moussa and Sherrod Blakely. First published in 'Digest of North African Affairs'.