Tuesday, February 03, 2009

who is muammar gaddafi?

I'm really intrigued by Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. As a child, I remember seeing him on television, a dynamic figure, in expensive glasses and lots of bling. His life seems to be a map of post-WWII America's troubled and tangled relationship with the Middle East. He has been both condemned as a terrorist and praised as a humanitarian, depending on the current U.S. administration and the price of petrol. And in his newest incarnation, a champion of African unity and vocal opponent of Al-Qaeda, his political career has taken a turn Reagan-era politicos never saw coming.

While I maintain that Gaddafi is an odd choice, it would seem that Africa is merely seeking someone with experience in leadership... and while Libya may not seem the best source for a unifying figure, Gaddafi does have the distinction of holding together an African country for 40 years, and as the fourth-longest serving head of state (fun trivia: The top three are King Bhumibol of Thailand, Queen Elizabeth and Fidel Castro).

On the worlds' most troubled continent, perhaps Gaddafi is the closest thing to a constant.