Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi Born in 1941 – killed October 20, 2011.
Gaddafi ruled Libya from September 1, 1969 until the day of his death, October 20, 2011.
As a Libyan politician and political theorist, Gaddafi was a highly controversial and divisive world figure. His supporters lauded him as a champion of anti-imperialism along with his support of both Arab and African nationalism.
Gaddafi’s critics accused him of being a dictator and autocrat, whose authoritarian administration oversaw multiple human rights abuses at home and abroad.
The exact date of Muammar Abu Meniar el-Gaddafi’s birth is unknown. Some sources say June 1, others June 7, while still others say sometime in September.
Gaddafi was born in the North African desert in the north central part of Libya, south of Sirte.
Commissioned into the Libyan army in 1965, Gaddafi began planning for the overthrow of the Libyan monarch, King Idris, whom he considered a pawn of the Western European nations. Within four years, Gaddafi, with the rank of colonel, took control of the army. On September 1, 1969, he seized power in a bloodless coup.
Gaddafi and the rebels won their coup and put a new government in place. In 1977, the government changed again, and even though Gaddafi was the undisputed leader, he retained his position as a “symbolic figure”.
Gaddafi refused to acknowledge the phrase President. Instead he styled himself as Leader of the Revolution, Bedouin warrior, Brother Leader. In 2008, Gaddafi named himself the ‘King of Kings in Africa’ as part of his campaign to unite the states of Africa into a United States of Africa. He also has never corrected the different ways to spell Gaddafi.
Qaddhafi (New York Review of Books), Qaddafi (New Republic), Gaddafi (Time), Kaddafi (Newsweek), Khadafy (Maclean’s), Qadhafi (U.S. News & World Report), Qadaffi (Business Week), Gaddafi (World Press Review), the list just goes on. To date there are well over 100 variations in the spelling of his name.
Know for his eccentricities worldwide, Gaddafi traveled with an escort of female bodyguards. To show that he was a man of the people he never stayed in a hotel when he traveled or met with world dignitaries. Instead, he would pitch his luxurious tent wherever it suited him. When in 2011, after the February 17 movement removed him from power, many Libyans were amazed at the luxurious homes where he in reality lived.
During his time in power, there were many attempts to assassinate him. Gaddafi was implicated in the financing of anti-western groups, including several terror plots. The Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam, and the Irish Republican Army all allegedly had links to Muammar Gaddafi. Due of Libya’s links to Irish terrorism, the United Kingdom cut off diplomatic relations with Libya for more than a decade.
In 1988, Libya was implicated in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, carrying 270 people, when it exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Although Gaddafi always denied his involvement, now that he is dead many are coming forward saying that he was complicit.
On a comical note, Gaddafi had an infatuation with Condoleezza Rice. While Condi has described it as creepy, to the rest of the world it was nothing short of hysterical.
February 17 Revolution
In early 2011, the February 17 protest movement started over Gaddafi’s leadership role in Libya. Inspired by the revolt that happened next door in Tunisia, Libyans at first protested their countries lack of democracy. Gaddafi did not intend to allow democracy to his country, and as he lost the trust of more and more Libyans, he threatened to destroy the protest movement.
His words at the time were that the protesters were like rats and he would deal with them, “City by city, alley by alley, house by house.”
On March 17, 2011, the UN called for a no-fly zone in Libya to protect the citizens from massacre. By the fall of 2011, rebel protesters pushed into Tripoli and yet Gaddafi still did not cede power.
On October 20, 2011, while still in denial, Gaddafi was captured and killed tying to escape his hometown of Sirte.