Kadhafi feels 'betrayed' but is no quitter

11th March 2011, Comments 0 comments

Embattled Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi is saddened and feels betrayed by the uprising against his regime but he will never give in and quit, his French interpreter Meftah Missouri told AFP.

"He never expected this and this is why maybe he is so sad. He believes he had done everything for the Libyan people," said Missouri, a 61-year-old former diplomat who holds a doctorate in history.

For the past 16 years, Missouri has been Kadhafi's official French language interpreter and has come to know closely the man who has ruled Libya with an iron fist for more than four decades.

He described Kadhafi as someone who is "noble," a Bedouin proud of his roots who admires the likes of German World War II military commander Field Marshal Erwin Rommel and France's Sun King, King Louis XIV.

"According to him, yes, he has been betrayed by everyone, even by his cousin Ahmed Kadhaf al-Dam," the dapper Missouri, who studied in France and Geneva, said in fluent French.

Kadhaf al-Dam, a close aide, defected at the end of February to protest against the handling of the Libyan rebellion just over a week after the uprising broke out.

Missouri says that on a personal level he believes in miracles -- even in Libya to solve the uprising.

"Miracles happen," but there must be mediation to solve the crisis.

"But who speaks of mediation speaks also of concessions," he said.

"And I don't know if Kadhafi is capable."

For the father of five who has been at Kadhafi's service since 1996, the Libyan leader is not a quitter.

"He never gives up," said Missouri.

Kadhafi -- "a military history buff" -- admires Rommel, better known as the Desert Fox, who earned fame in the deserts of North Africa during World War II, he said.

The Libyan strongman is also a fan of Louis XIV for famously uttering: "L'Etat c'est moi!" (I am the State), Missouri added with a big smile.

Nearly four weeks of armed opposition to his regime and the loss of large swathes of eastern Libya to the rebels, including the second city Benghazi, the Libyan leader appears unfazed and calm.

"He is a very strong man."

Bitter, however, because he considers that some world leaders whom he considered "friends," such as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, have turned against him.

"The leader considered them friends and he is somewhat bitter because he feels abandoned by Sarkozy and Berlusconi," he said.

"It is not so much that he is hurt because he is convinced that foreigners have not really grasped the problem and that they adopted the (UN Security Council) resolution based on (false) media reports," he said.

On February 26, the Security Council unanimously ordered a travel and assets ban on Kadhafi's regime and a crimes against humanity investigation into the bloodshed blamed on the Libyan strongman.

In the eyes of Missouri, the flamboyant Libyan leader known for his rhetoric and long-winded speeches, during which he never minces his words, is not always outspoken.

"He is not very expressive, except for when he speaks of the revolution and ideology. The he loses his temper sometimes because of the mood and the ovations" that prevail, he said.

"I find him to be a very noble man. He never abused me, never raised his voice at me.

"Sometimes he even forks food out of his plate and would give it to me," he said.

Kadhafi, who proclaimed a Jamahiriya or "state of the masses" in March 1977, is officially known as "guide of the revolution" as he has always shunned the title president.

Kadhafi, who was reputedly born in a Bedouin tent in the desert near Sirte in 1942, and who is officially known as "guide of the revolution" that he led as a young colonel overthrowing the monarchy in 1969 -- is proud of his roots.

"He loves dromedaries because he is a Bedouin from the desert. There is nothing else but that there, as well as goats.

"That's why he really likes goat's milk and camel's milk," Missouri added.

© 2011 AFP

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