Mu’ammar al-Qadhdhāfi is a thug. The Libyan kleptocracy is based on his personal brand of Islamic socialism through military force, utilizing tactics of terrorism and bribery.
Financed by wealth stolen from its producers by nationalization, this philosopher-despot has spread money far and wide, although ensuring that his extended family and hired elite are particularly aggrandized.
Possessing little taste personally for barbarous acts (according to Middle East scholar Daniel Pipes, to whom I also owe the correct spelling of the thug’s name) Qadhdhāfi has proven skilled at hiring others to do the dirty work. Mercenaries recruited from poor African nations form much of the Colonel’s offensive.
Like the old don of a mobster family, Qadhdhāfi may have done a bit of slaughter in his own time, but that was before he rose to head the mob. Now he just makes offers that people cannot refuse.
Ronald Reagan called him a “mad dog”. Over the years, many have taken exception to particular acts of terrorism connected to the Libyan regime. Still, the regime stands. Today, Canada’s Macleans magazine calls him a madman. A recent National Post article by Sarah Boesveld has a theme that calls into question the sanity of Colonel Qadhdhāfi. Intellectuals in the west seem disappointed in the man who recently gave up on his quest for weapons of mass destruction. Now that the rebel tribes have been inspired to force him out, everyone agrees he must go.
Citing as evidence that Qadhdhāfi appears to be in denial and has ordered firing on Libyan citizens, a diagnosis of “serious mental illness” has been suggested. The Boesveld article quotes psychiatric professionals and influential world leaders who unanimously show concern for the Bedouin’s state of mental health.
In particular, Susan Rice, US ambassador to the United Nations is quoted as saying that Colonel Qadhdhāfi “sounds…delusional” and “unfit to lead”.
Unfit to lead? Where have all these indignant people been for the last 42 years? First of all, I don’t think the incunabulum of psychology ought to be given much weight. The discipline has yet to concede that man has free will.
By logical extension, according to contemporary psychology, neurotic problems can be projected onto others or other things—just as Qadhdhāfi is said to be doing by many intellectuals. According to the Libyan dictator someone else is manipulating the citizenry. He repeatedly tries to appeal to their sense of being oppressed by the rest of the world. The world is corrupt in having deprived Muslims, Arab Muslims in particular, of their superiority.
Mu’ammar is a racist, a socialist and a career revolutionary. Western leaders and intellectuals have tolerated, venerated and interviewed this thug for 4 decades. Collectively they seem to have come away with the notion that the Colonel might be “coming around”. Moral relativism has a lot to answer for.
Such hopefulness has also been projected on the Colonel’s son, Saif al-Islam (Sword of Islam). The heir-apparent to the Libyan regime is one of them—a PhD in political philosophy from the London School of Economics prepared him to move in elite circles. Showering the institution with $2.3 million in ill-gotten gains guaranteed it.
Imagine everyone’s surprise then, when Saif al-Islam was most lately seen brandishing a weapon and exhorting the Libyans to defend the regime. Peter Goodspeed of the National Post has written about this Jekyll and Hyde case.
It is not so strange however. The family is under attack. They have to “go to the mattresses”. The world is against them this time. Interpol is on the hunt and banks are being ordered to freeze related assets.
It was once “cutting edge” for celebrities, religious freaks, diplomats, university intellectuals and political elites the world over to hobnob with major socialists like the Qadhdhāfis. From t-shirt images to concerts and cocktail parties the faces of these thugs have represented the avant-garde. The money was good too, if you ignore the fact that the wealth generating it was stolen from its producers with the tacit approval of western governments.
So what a disappointment this is to them all now. There can be only one explanation. That eccentric Arab who lives in a tent must be going nuts. Something else is responsible.
©Copyright 2011 Edward Podritske