So the Teacher-Leader, inspirer of the Green Revolution — revered by his followers but feared and hated by many others — has gone.
Muammar al-Gaddafi was judged by a fellow Arab leader to have “a split personality, both evil”. He may indeed have been crazy, but it was the craziness of a desert fox.
Years back I encountered the Teacher-Leader when reporting on a conference of African leaders in Libya (records David Baird). The media scene was reminiscent of that in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop and some of the leaders present could have qualified for bit parts in The Godfather.
Not the sort of people you would want to meet in a dark alley nor for that matter on a well-illuminated highway. And they were running countries!
But they had been feted in London and other capitals. Politicians had warmly shaken their bloodstained hands, eager to share in their mineral wealth or to conclude profitable trade deals. Read the rest of this entry »