Muammar al-Gaddafi: A Critical Analysis
It’s been an exciting week here in America. Cheese-heads are protesting in Wisconsin, NBA players are jumping over cars, and Congressmen are sending creepy pictures all over the internet.
Furries deserve representation too! [Ed. Note: No, they don’t]
But in case you haven’t been paying attention, some wild stuff is happening over on the other side of the world. In the wake of the overthrow of regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, protesters across the Middle East and Africa are taking to the streets calling for democratic reforms.
Nowhere have these protests taken a more serious turn than in Libya. Reports out of Libya have been sketchy, but in various places it has been reported that tens of thousands of people are in the streets, that there are mass defections of Libyan diplomats and military figures to the sides of the protesters, that the military and mercenaries were attempting to brutally suppress the protests, and entire swaths of the country are no longer under government control.
One thing we do know is that to defuse the situation and convince his people to chill out, Muammar Gaddafi, Libya’s dictator for 41 years, gave an internationally televised speech.
He certainly dressed to impress. And he has shown the ability to give mind-blowing speeches before. Did he finally put all these rabble-rousers in their place? Will they finally go back to pounding sand for a living like they did back in the good old days? Let’s take a look at some of his main bullet-points and their probable effectiveness:
- “You men and women who love Gaddafi … get out of your homes and fill the streets…. Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs…. Starting tomorrow the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them.”
Analysis: First of all, A+ for referring to himself in the third person. We see here that Gaddafi isn’t going to cave to the protests like the pansy-ass leaders of Tunisia and Egypt did. He isn’t going to listen to them. No, he is going to fight them. Well, have his surrogates fight them by attacking them in their lairs. It is a bold strategy, but risky. He needs a strong speech the rest of the way to send the protesters back into their lairs and inspire the lair-seeking beaters to start seeking out the lairs for the beatings.
- Characterizing the protesters as rats and drug addicts who are controlled by bearded men
Analysis: Insulting the protesters is another bold move. I think of it like trash talk in a basketball game; maybe by insulting your opponents you can get inside their heads and get them off their game. The bearded men conspiracy theory is more likely to confuse than enrage, however. He should have stuck with the time-honored “yo’ mama” line of attack. As is, his insults merely distract from his central thesis. Whatever that may be.
- “People in front of tanks were crushed. The unity of China was more important than those people on Tiananmen Square…. When Tiananmen Square happened, tanks were sent in to deal with them. It’s not a joke. I will do whatever it takes to make sure part of the country isn’t taken away.”
Analysis: I’m glad he told me it’s not a joke, because the image of tanks crushing people had me in stitches. He’s getting too far afield here. People don’t want a history lesson, they want inspiration!
- “You can demonstrate peacefully as long as your demonstrations are in protest at what is happening in Gaza or Iraq, not against what is happening in your own country.”
Analysis: No, no, no. The cardinal rule of negotiation is “don’t negotiate with yourself,” and that’s what he’s doing here. He started off the speech by promising to beat them into their lairs like the rats and pawns of bearded men that they are, now he’s already conceding that they can protest the Iraq war (P.S.- an Iraq war protest? That is so 2004, no way are the Libyans buying that one). Give an inch, and people will take a mile. All of that credibility he built up earlier with the outfit and the tough talk is just wasted away.
Final verdict: Gaddafi had a chance with this speech to stem the tide of freedom and democracy once and for all. But he couldn’t deliver. Thus, the people of Libya rendered their verdict: