The Arabist

The Arabist

By Issandr El Amrani and friends.

Qadhafi in Rome


Italy -- I love Italy, some of my best friends are Italian as they say -- but really how high of a standard can you set for a country run by a gangster who's actually been re-elected despite the many financial and other scandals around him? (Yes I feel the same way about the US and Bush). Still, rather disappointing to see a major European power honor and play host to Muammar al-Qadhafi, now the longest-serving dictator in the world. As always Qadhafi's amusing attire detracts from his brutal record:

Gheddafi è accompagnato da una folta delegazione, comprese le "amazzoni", la celebre guardia del corpo tutta al femminile con baschi rossi e divise militari. Occhiali neri, cappello e alta uniforme, il colonnello non passa inosservato. In particolare le attenzioni (e le polemiche) si sono concentrate su una foto appuntata sulla divisa: ritrae un eroe della resistenza libica contro gli italiani, Omar Al Muktar, noto come il "leone del deserto". Non solo: l'ultimo discendente di Al Muktar, ormai ottantenne, è sbucato dall'aereo subito dopo il leader libico.

Sure, there are a lot of oil and other contracts for the Italians, and many diplomats and grandees from other countries are lining up for those interminable waits at Qadhafi's presidential palaces, beady eyes darting to and fro under sweaty brows as they feverishly imagine all the money there is to be made from this poor, unlucky country.

But luckily not all Italians are happy about the half-mad Libyan dictator's visit, and some have made this nice posted telling Qadhafi his tent (he famously travels with his Bedouin tent) is not welcome in Rome.


Get the high-rez version here. By the wonderful artist Gianluca Costantini.