Misrata: Seeing is believing.
Libyans by the hundreds, rushed on Saturday to see the corpse of
ex-leader Muammar Gaddafi who was captured and perhaps killed
by new regime forces.
The body is being kept in a freezer in the so-called
Tunisian market of Misrata, where news that the tyrant who
laid siege to the merchant city had finally fallen sparked
mass celebrations after midday Friday prayers.
Steeped in the smell of rotting meat -- discarded chicken
carcasses, one guard says -- lies the sinister refrigerated
room where people come to check that the "enemy" is well and
The spectacle inside is nothing short of sordid.
The rigid, bloody, yellow corpse of Gaddafi and his son
Mutassim lie on dirty mattresses spread over the metal floor
of the glacial makeshift mortuary.
Colourful blankets cover most of their bodies raising the
spectre of possible mutilations.
Only their heads are visible. Mutassim stares at death
with open eyes and a slack jaw. The eyes and mouth of his
father are shut.
High ranking officials of the new regime, including the
National Transitional Council`s interim prime minister Mahmud
Jibril and the Tripoli military council`s Abdelhakim Belhaj,
visited the dead pair today.
Curious onlookers hailed from Misrata, Zliten to the
west, the capital Tripoli, and beyond. By noon, hundreds had
lined up at the gates which open intermittently to let a
handful of spectators’ in.
Only one woman was visible among them but she declined to
Meanwhile, a man identifying himself as Sadiq said he was
only 18 when the former despot took power in 1969.
"All my adult life I lived with this low life, this ...said the 60-year-old, who declined to give his last name,
spattering curses against Gaddafi.
"But he is dead and I am happy," he said laughing.
At the centre of the concrete market building, a new
queue forms in front of the cold room. Four or five people are
allowed in at a time. The guards urged them to take their
photos quickly to make room for those following.
Some pose for a picture, smile or whoop. Others watch in