Gaddafi’s speech: the highlights

The Libyan dictator’s speech yesterday was defiant, yet incoherent. Here are the key quotations.

 

In a characteristically bizarre appearance on Libyan state television yesterday, Colonel Gaddafi was like a caricature of a crazed dictator. His tone was defiant – yet the speech frequently verged on the comic. Were it not for the power he wields and the bloodshed he is not afraid to initiate, moments from this would have been laugh-out-loud funny.

Here are the key quotations from the rambling address.

Striking a defiant tone, Gaddafi signalled that he will refuse to flee Libya or to stand down, as the UN, his own diplomats and the Arab League have urged him to do:

I am a fighter, a revolutionary from tents . . . I will die as a martyr at the end.

Muammar Gaddafi is the leader of the revolution, I am not a president to step down . . . This is my country. Muammar is not a president to leave his post.

Despite this fighting stance, he offered a risible reason for not standing down:

I am not president so I cannot stand down.

Ominously, despite the signs of shocking violence coming out of Libya (link behind paywall), he claimed that we have seen nothing yet, and threatened his own people with civil war.

I have not yet ordered the use of force, not yet ordered one bullet to be fired . . . when I do, everything will burn.

Gaddafi also appeared to incite violence against protesters from his supporters:

You men and women who love Gaddafi . . . get out of your homes and fill the streets. Leave your homes and attack them in their lairs . . . Starting tomorrow [Wednesday] the cordons will be lifted, go out and fight them.

In one of the more laughable sections of the speech, he compared the demonstrators to drug-fuelled mice, suggesting that the uprising was incited by an unnamed group supplying them with drugs and money:

A small group of young people who have taken drugs have attacked police station like mice . . . They have taken advantage of this peace and stability . . . However it is not their fault, these young people; they tried to imitate what happened in Tunisia . . . However, there is a small group of sick people that has infiltrated in cities that are circulating drugs and money.

And it was not his only bizarre description of the protesters. He also called them:

This bunch of greasy rats and cats.

While he appeared rambling, incoherent and belligerent (Paul Waugh quipped on Twitter that he "put the rant in ty-rant"), this speech was a clear indication that Gaddafi does not plan to back down without a fight. His madness, though amusing from an detached perspective, makes it all the more worrying for those inside Libya, who face the all-too-serious enactment of this rage.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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Let's face it: supporting Spurs is basically a form of charity

Now, for my biggest donation yet . . .

I gazed in awe at the new stadium, the future home of Spurs, wondering where my treasures will go. It is going to be one of the architectural wonders of the modern world (football stadia division), yet at the same time it seems ancient, archaic, a Roman ruin, very much like an amphitheatre I once saw in Croatia. It’s at the stage in a new construction when you can see all the bones and none of the flesh, with huge tiers soaring up into the sky. You can’t tell if it’s going or coming, a past perfect ruin or a perfect future model.

It has been so annoying at White Hart Lane this past year or so, having to walk round walkways and under awnings and dodge fences and hoardings, losing all sense of direction. Millions of pounds were being poured into what appeared to be a hole in the ground. The new stadium will replace part of one end of the present one, which was built in 1898. It has been hard not to be unaware of what’s going on, continually asking ourselves, as we take our seats: did the earth move for you?

Now, at long last, you can see what will be there, when it emerges from the scaffolding in another year. Awesome, of course. And, har, har, it will hold more people than Arsenal’s new home by 1,000 (61,000, as opposed to the puny Emirates, with only 60,000). At each home game, I am thinking about the future, wondering how my treasures will fare: will they be happy there?

No, I don’t mean Harry Kane, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker – local as well as national treasures. Not many Prem teams these days can boast quite as many English persons in their ranks. I mean my treasures, stuff wot I have been collecting these past 50 years.

About ten years ago, I went to a shareholders’ meeting at White Hart Lane when the embryonic plans for the new stadium were being announced. I stood up when questions were called for and asked the chairman, Daniel Levy, about having a museum in the new stadium. I told him that Man United had made £1m the previous year from their museum. Surely Spurs should make room for one in the brave new mega-stadium – to show off our long and proud history, delight the fans and all those interested in football history and make a few bob.

He mumbled something – fluent enough, as he did go to Cambridge – but gave nothing away, like the PM caught at Prime Minister’s Questions with an unexpected question.

But now it is going to happen. The people who are designing the museum are coming from Manchester to look at my treasures. They asked for a list but I said, “No chance.” I must have 2,000 items of Spurs memorabilia. I could be dead by the time I finish listing them. They’ll have to see them, in the flesh, and then they’ll be free to take away whatever they might consider worth having in the new museum.

I’m awfully kind that way, partly because I have always looked on supporting Spurs as a form of charity. You don’t expect any reward. Nor could you expect a great deal of pleasure, these past few decades, and certainly not the other day at Liverpool when they were shite. But you do want to help them, poor things.

I have been downsizing since my wife died, and since we sold our Loweswater house, and I’m now clearing out some of my treasures. I’ve donated a very rare Wordsworth book to Dove Cottage, five letters from Beatrix Potter to the Armitt Library in Ambleside, and handwritten Beatles lyrics to the British Library. If Beckham and I don’t get a knighthood in the next honours list, I will be spitting.

My Spurs stuff includes programmes going back to 1910, plus recent stuff like the Opus book, that monster publication, about the size of a black cab. Limited editions cost £8,000 a copy in 2007. I got mine free, as I did the introduction and loaned them photographs. I will be glad to get rid of it. It’s blocking the light in my room.

Perhaps, depending on what they want, and they might take nothing, I will ask for a small pourboire in return. Two free tickets in the new stadium. For life. Or longer . . . 

Hunter Davies is a journalist, broadcaster and profilic author perhaps best known for writing about the Beatles. He is an ardent Tottenham fan and writes a regular column on football for the New Statesman.

This article first appeared in the 16 February 2017 issue of the New Statesman, The New Times