Muammar Gaddafi was a megalomaniac who was consumed by his own self-importance.
Although quite a minor player on the international scene, he deemed it fit to ridicule the UN Charter to the rostrum of the General Assembly.
Prior to a speech given at the UN headquarters in September, 2009 he had been introduced as "leader of the revolution, the president of the African Union, the king of kings of Africa".
During the interminable and outrageous speech he called for the reopening of investigations into the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.
Instead of the allotted 15 minutes, Gaddafi rambled on for 90 minutes.
Seen as a bloodthirsty hound by those close to home, he thought of himself as an intellectual whose mission was to brand those brave enough to oppose him as "dogs."
Impulsive and arrogant, Gaddafi loved to create enemies everywhere, all the time.
He blinded by courtiers who sang his praise at his request and had a taste for poetry.
A self-taught man without talent, just like illiterate graduates and failed artists, he was obsessed with his image.
But despite all his efforts, the author of the Green book was never taken seriously during his lifetime, however hard he tried dumping millions of copies on all five continents.
Upon his death, even larger stocks of the Green Book were found.
So should Gaddafi be written off as a buffoon and let sleeping dogs lie?
Until the end of his forty-two-year reign, Muammar Gaddafi stage-managed his own legend.
What we saw, however, was a cruel dictator threatening to hunt down the "rats" (the insurgents) "zenga, zenga" (street by street), at the onset of the Libyan uprising.
But he ended up being flushed out from a gutter near Sirte on October 20, 2011, before his graceless lynching in front of mobile phone cameras.
Now in exile and spread between Cairo, Amman, Rome and Paris, five cohorts of the "Libyan Guide" have seen their testimonies published in Arabic by a Lebanese journalist, Ghassan Charbel.
Among the five are: Abdessalam Jalloud, who was a member of the Council of the Revolutionary Command (CCR ) and a longtime number two of the regime and head of the revolutionary committees; Abdelmonem el-Huni, a member of the CFR, an on and off intelligence chief and Minister of Interior and Foreign Affairs; Diplomats Abderrahmane Chalgham and Ali Abdessalam Triki, both former Ministers of Foreign Affairs and finally Nouri al-Mismari, Head of Protocol.
The author, Ghassan Charbel is a Lebanese journalist and writer. He began his career in the reputed Lebanese daily, Annahar before joining Agence France-Presse and the Saudi-owned pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat. He has been managing editor of Al-Hayat, another major pan-Arab daily, since 2004. He has published several books of interviews with Arab personalities, including Hariri, Walid Jumblat, Michel Aoun, Nabih Berri, Samir Geagea. Charbel also interviewed Khaled Meshaal, George Habash and Carlos●
Published in Al-Hayat, a collection of interviews by Lebanese journalist Ghassan Charbel with several Gaddafi ministers appear in: Sous la tente de Kaddafi (les compagnons du colonel révèlent les secrets de son règne) - Under Gaddafi's tent (companions of the Colonel reveal the secrets of his reign). Riad El-Rayyes editions, Beirut, 2013.
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