Gaddafi feels `betrayed` but is no quitter
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Last Updated: Friday, March 11, 2011, 18:02
  
Tripoli: Embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi is saddened and feels betrayed by the uprising against his regime but he will never give in and quit, his French interpreter Meftah Missouri said.

"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 Gaddafi'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 Gaddafi 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 Gaddafi is capable."

For the father of five who has been at Gaddafi's service since 1996, the Libyan leader is not a quitter. "He never gives up," said Missouri.

Gaddafi -- "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.

PTI


First Published: Friday, March 11, 2011, 18:02


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