Gaddafi’s Weird regime ends

Colonel Gaddafi was such a weird figure, so eccentric that it sometimes obscured the serious unpleasantness of the regime which he ran for 42 years.

In person, he could often be quite pleasant – even people who broke with him agree on that. But he was very odd and seemed to be half amused and half distracted when he talked to you.

In one interview I did with him, he threw up his head and laughed at each of my questions. In another, he broke wind very audibly throughout the 40-minute recording session, without making the slightest effort to hide it.

His regime was as weird as he was. For some years, he decided that shops were a nest of exploiters and abolished them. Many people came close to starvation before he relented.

The worst thing about his rule, aside that is from the appalling secret police, was the corruption which Libya’s immense oil riches spawned. Every Libyan could have been rich.

Instead Col Gaddafi wasted the money on his often-crazy projects and allowed his cronies to build enormous fortunes. Hence, of course, the revolution which began on 17 February.


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