He may be brown and not black, all right, but there is no denying that Muammar Gadaffi bears an uncanny resemblance to the Black American sitcom star of the yesteryear comedy that was known as ‘The Jeffersons’.
The main actor in ‘The Jeffersons’ was a swaggering and unscrupulous short man dealing in odd bits, who had slowly risen into the ranks of respectable business men through dubious means.
The programme ran from January 1975 to June 1985, which means many of you may not know its main actor, Sherman Hemsley.
Which, however, does not mean that many at the UN Headquarters, last September 2009, would have confessed the same ignorance, having been generally more advanced in age. Why they took Qadhafi for Hemsley must have been borne of their will to deride him!
And talking about belittling the Libyan president, the man himself may have played a part in the people’s scornful behaviour towards him. For instance, what are we supposed to take as his name?
I’ve seen newspapers and books that spelt his names as: Muammar Qadafi, Mo’amar Gadhafi, Muamar Kaddafy, Moamar El Kadhafi, Mulazim Awwal Mu’ammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Qasdhafi, and all of thirty-something other variations!
All of which would be very well if at least we knew his title as leader of Libya.
The man has been called ‘Prime Minister’, ‘Guide of the First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, ‘Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution’ and, lately, just ‘King of Kings’.
So, it was as ‘King of Kings’, figurehead of a thousand African kingdoms and current Chairman of African Union (AU), that he gave a dressing down to the UN General Assembly last September 23rd.
Much as he gave a plausible account of himself, it was as “a short man, swathed in saffron robes and a black felt hat waving his arms around and shouting ‘Terrorism!’ that Muammar Gaddafi was seen.
According to American newspapers, Gaddafi grabbed his allotted 15 minutes and “ran with it so hard he stretched it to an hour and 40 minutes”, six times longer than other heads of state.
The papers are in agreement, however, that he didn’t even begin to scratch the record of the longest speaker to address the UN General Assembly.
The overall record is still firmly held by India’s then UN ambassador, Krishna Menon, who in 1957 lambasted the assembly for more than nine hours without so much as a slight pause.
Even the exuberant tongue of the patriarch of the Cuban Isle, Fidel Castro, could not beat that, in spite of posting a respectable four hours 29 minutes, three years later.
The papers are also in accord that Gadaffi could have stretched his speech further if he had not been “suffering from severe sleep deprivation.”
They go on: “The US state department, New York city council and Donald Trump had prevented him from laying his weary head in an air-conditioned tent in New Jersey, Central Park and Bedford.”
You’d appreciate the validity of that assertion, too, if you knew how inseparable Gadaffi is with his Bedouin tent. It does not only house him, but also a posse of his continually coffee-imbued elders.
As I said earlier, however, all this rigmarole around him shrouded the serious message that he laboriously tried to transmit in his rambling delivery.
Ninety years after the foundation of League of Nations, precursor to the United Nations Organisation, to safeguard the world’s collective security, what do we have on the scorecard?
This far, we have witnessed the outbreak of sixty-five wars of aggression, eight of which have “claimed the lives of millions of people, perpetrated by a veto-holding member of the Security Council.”
No prizes in guessing which country Qadhafi is referring to! For being a monopoly of the few rich nations of the earth, therefore, the Security Council is the “Terror Council”, according to Kaddafi!
From there, he rambles on about the riches of colonised states that were appropriated by colonialists, and how the states should be compensated.
Why, he poses, should even the UN headquarters be in New York, which is not only far from the centre of the earth but also hard to access and, once there, you are constrained by stringent security concerns?
To Kadhaffy, the only good thing to happen to the West was the ascendance of “our son”, Barack Obama, to power in USA! According to him, Obama has “raised the slogan for change”.
Who, if not the West, is responsible for the Korean war, the Suez Canal war, the Vietnam war, the Panama invasion, the Grenada war, the bombing of Somalia, the Yugoslavia war, the Iraqi war and, today, the Afghan war?
By the time Qadhaffy counted off the number of assassinated leaders most people must have been snoozing! Even then, his tirade was food for thought.