The execrable Libyan despot Muammar Gaddafi (still only a colonel?) has thrown the switch to vaudeville, announcing a tactical retreat from his Tripoli compound, as rebel forces take control of the capital and the rest of Libya. His location is unknown but he has encouraged ‘loyal’ followers to fight to the end/death, as he no doubt prepares to lead them from somewhere way behind – in some desert fastness, on the way to Chad maybe, or Venezuela to catch up with his old mate Hugo.
If he wasn’t such a vicious criminal it could be comedic, as his penchant for dressing up in colourful gowns and funny headdresses has prepared him for this final act, where he adopts a stance reminiscent of the Black Knight in Monty Python’s Holy Grail. One doubts however that he would have the physical courage of the poor BK, who progressively sacrificed his own limbs to swordplay in a losing fight. The difference is that we feel sorry for the knight, but Gaddafi will hopefully survive to be tried in his own country or in The Hague for crimes against humanity. The million pound bounty offered by Libya’s new leaders for Gaddafi’s capture dead-or-alive may bring on the denouement.
The Libyan rebels shown on news coverage have seemed normal (non-fundamentalist) and worthy of our hopes for a peaceful transition to something approaching democracy. Imagine their relief, getting rid of this shameful figurehead and international pariah after 40 years of repression and humiliation.