Who is Muammar Gaddafi? Background and Trivia
He lives in Bedouin-style tents while on diplomatic missions, meeting national leaders while donned in national African clothing. That and much more makes him one of the most exotic national leaders in the world -- Muammar al-Gaddafi has been the President of Libya for forty years now, but he still manages to maintain a certain level of mystique about him.
But, who is Muammar Gaddafi? And, why does his persona attract so much interest wherever he goes?
Gaddafi had a tumultuous youth, having been part of a military revolutionary group in his school. He later joined a military academy where he organized the over-throw of the monarch family in a coup that got Gaddafi the leadership of Libya in 1969. Gaddafi was 27 years old at the time.
Gaddafi's political views combine Arabic nationalism and "popular" democracy to result in "Islamic socialism." In accordance with the pillars of Islam, Gaddafi imposed bans on alcohol and gambling. At the same time, he emphasized education and welfare. Gaddafi stands for the unity between all Arab nations. Gaddafi also gave strong support for Palestinians.
Oil And Lockerbie Bomber Release
Despite being an oil-rich nation, Libya faced tough sanctions on oil exportation for much of the 90's over Gaddafi's refusal to release Lockerbie bomber al-Megrahi. Eventually, al-Megrahi was surrendered to Scottish police for trial. Just recently, al-Megrahi was released on compassion grounds to let him die in his native Libya. Upon al-Megrahi's return, Gaddafi's warm welcome of the Lockerbie bomber was condemned by many political leaders around the world.
Style And Lodgings
Gaddafi is big on national costumes and "aviator" sunglasses. Gaddafi prefers to live in tents, not just at home, but wherever he goes on diplomatic missions. Such, he erected tents on Champs Elysee during his 2007 visit to France. He did the same in Rome -- at the Villa Doria Pamphili park. While on his visit to New York City to address the UN General Assembly today, Gaddafi was not allowed to set up his tent in Central Park as was originally planned due to concerns voiced by community leaders. Instead, Gaddafi will set up his tent on property owned by US entrepreneur Donald Trump.
The variety of the misspellings of Gaddafi's name is quite extraordinary. In the wake of his speech before the UN General Assembly today, the information about Gaddafi was a hot item on Google, but the way people were searching for Gaddafi varied quite a bit with spelling variations ranging from "khadafy" to "gadhafi" and even "omar kadafi."