Last night Saif el islam, the guy who has been described as “the good son” of Muammar Ghadaffi, went on air on Libyan television to give a speech. This followed one that his brother gave earlier and makes a bad track record considering the ousting of both Tunisia’s Ben Ali and Egypt’s Mubarak after they had given their third speeches were they tried to either cool or provoke the masses, depending on how you look at it.
One picture showing how the speech was received (reportedly this is from Derna but I have no confirmation) “B’el gazma”, translated to “with the shoe” is an Arabic, not exactly polite farewell greeting that for example George W. Bush experienced once at a now famous press conference in Baghdad…
Saif al islam has been presented as the reform friendly, intellectual “good” son. Some have credited him with bringing out Libya from the cold by the resolvement of issues such as Lockerbie and Libya’s weapons of mass destruction. However, his speech seems to mostly have been either leading to ridicule (check out twitter tags #ReasonsWhySafeIsLate, #SongsOnGhaddafisiTunes and #According2Saif that in some cases draw obvious inspiration from Egypt’s events) OR concern for further violence.
Blaming foreign elements is not new. The Egyptian regime did the same. According to Saif el islam many participants in the ongoing unrest are taking drugs (hence the many iTunes and “according 2 Saif” cracks).
Naming Al Jazeera, Al Arabya and BBC was also a pattern repeated from Egypt. However, I got the feeling he was also referring to twitter. When talking about kids of Libyans abroad getting mixed up in the affairs of Libya in order to be able to come and colonize the country after it has fallen, I couldn’t help but see it as an obvious reference to the many tweets and pictures from foreign demonstrations circulating on twitter. Many have been from countries such as UK, US and Canada that he also mentioned in his speech.
Many knew Libya would not fall easily and with almost no reporters in place, a nonviolence policy is probably less efficient. Still, I know some people were worried about Saif el islams message to demonstrators of either giving up or facing a civil war with 100.000’s of casulties, and mentions of Korea and Yugoslavia.
My main conclusion would be:
No matter the image, ‘Like father, like son’