Skip to main content

Colonel Qaddafi is coming!!!

Colonel Qaddafi is coming to the U.S.!!! Run for your lives!

When I was a kid in the 80s, Qaddafi was the boogie man! He was like the bin-Laden or the Saddam Hussien of my early childhood. I've got his name and his leering face so indelibly stamped in my mind as an omnipresent threat to my life, that I simply cannot wrap my mind around the fact we're accepting him into this country.

I mean, when I was a kid I prayed to got at night to keep me safe from the Libyans. I dreamed up ways that we could send Rambo and Arnold Schwartzenegger (circa Commando) over there to destroy the whole country and assasinate Qaddafi. I drew comic strips of a Qaddafi vs. Reagan steel cage match! When we played "guns" outside in the yard, we fought against Qaddafi and the Libyans! For god's sake, I'm not the only was in Back to the Future!

It's as if they dug this guy up from some 80s Bad Guy Time Capsule. I mean, what's next? Bi-Lateral talks with Skeletor at Castle Grey Skull? A "Beer Summit" with the C.O.B.R.A. Commander?? A workout session with Ivan Drago???

Still, as with all Bad Guys, there was always something dangerously fascinating about Colonel Qaddafi...that smug and aloof apearance; that uniform bedecked with tons of military medals; those tinted Aviator sunglass hiding the wily glance; his crack team of Amazon body gaurds; his impossible rankling of the entire civilized world from what amounts to a forgotten patch of desert the size of Alaska.

Yes, I have to say I am more than a little intrigued.

Naturally I've heard all about how Libya has made a somewhat grudging march back into the fold of the world community, about how Qaddafi has pledged his support to help fight Al-Qaeda, and about his role in the African Union movement, etc. And I think that's all great. I really do. Joining the world community sounds to me like a step in the right direction for a country that doesn't have a lot else going for it but some few patches of oil, a really imposing solid-green flag, and an iconic leader with cool shades. But, when and if it comes to "Us vs. Them," you don't have to be Political Science professor to know where Libya will probably line up. Hopefully, however, it won't come to that.

Meantime, I think Libya remains an interesting story. I'm not 100% sure of the chapter and verse, but I think they pretty narrowly escaped having their country bombed to rubble. Had Qaddafi rattled his sabre in the 90s, or the 2000s, that very thing might just have happened, and for the past seven years we would've been talking about The War in Libya instead of The War in Iraq. But Qaddafi seems to have snatched a kind of victory out of the jaws of defeat. Perhaps he wised up, on some level?

However, as far as I know, Libya still is not a democracy and doesn't have anything close to what we could call a "government" in the modern sense. I belive there is some kind of "council" that makes all the decisions, and that a sort of Socialism exists there. I'm going to research it further, you can count on it. So save the critical E-mails for after my next post entitled: Everything I Ever Learned About Libya I Found on Wikipedia.

Net-net, I'm still not sure how I feel about the "New Libya" and Qaddafi's attempts to modernize it. John F. Kennedy had a great saying, "Sincerity is subject to proof." I think Libya's turnaround is still subject to proof. But on some level it's still good to see that progress seems to be being made, and that it's not unthinkable that a country that was once our sworn enemy has now at least earned a seat at the table.

It's also about time that I dislodge myself from the idea that Qaddafi is a comic book character.


Popular posts from this blog

New Yorker Fiction Review: "The Apologizer" by Milan Kundera

Issue: May 4, 2015

Rating: $$

Review: It took me five years and three separate attempts to finish Milan Kundera's famous novel, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, but in spite of that, quotes and insights from that book still rattle round my head on a weekly basis. What I mean to say is: my feelings on Kundera are very similar to my feelings on Haruki Murakami. I enjoy reading his work, but in small doses, like this short story.

Like Murakami, Kundera uses elements of magical realism, but where in a Murakami story you might encounter a flying dolphin or a disappearing hotel or a person who has lived his whole life in the same room, refusing to leave, Kundera's magical realism offers more direct insights and perspective on real life.

In Kundera's worlds, time and space are malleable and everything that ever happened in history is happening at the same time, and the narrator is a completely omniscient, caring, witty, and hands-on god-like being.

And so it is with "The Apo…

New Yorker Fiction Reviews: "Meet the President!" by Zadie Smith

Each week I review the short fiction from a recent issue of The New Yorker. If you told me when I was 12 that I'd be doing this I'd have been like, "Dork. There's no such thing as blogs," and I'd have been right...

Issue: Aug. 12 & 19, 2013

Story: "Meet the President!"

Author:Zadie Smith

(Please note: I've developed a highly sophisticated grading system, which I'll be using from now on.  Each story will now receive a Final Grade of either READ IT or DON'T READ it. See the bottom of the review for this story's grade...after you've read the review, natch.)

Plot: Set in England, far into the future (lets say 2113) a privileged youth of 15, named Bill Peek, encounters a few poor villagers from a small, abandoned coastal town on the southeast shore. He meets a little girl named Aggie, who is going to her sister's funeral. Peek is cut-off from real life by a sophisticated video game system that is implanted in his head, therefore th…

A Piece of Advice I Learned From My Grandfather

My grandfather was one of the most learned men I know. He read widely and voraciously, and not just in the sciences (he was a doctor); he loved politics, philosophy, and great literature as well. Whenever he finished a book he would write his thoughts about the book in the front cover and then sign and date it. To this day every once in a while I will open a book from my bookshelf or my mother's bookshelf, or at one of my family members' homes, and there will be my grandfather's handwriting. He was also a great giver of his books; if you remarked that you liked a particular one or wanted to read it, you were almost sure to take it home with you.

Reading is a very solitary pursuit but my grandfather was not a solitary person. He relished having family and friends around him which is convenient because he was blessed with a lot of both. And he carried out his intellectual life in a very "public" way as well. He was, in some ways, an intellectual evangelist. If he r…