Emboldened by their victorious brethren in Cairo and Tunis, thousands of Libyans have lately taken to the streets in opposition to the dictatorial rule of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. The Colonel came to power after a successful coup in 1969, replacing the formerly regnant King Idris I. With the death of Omar Bongo of Gabon in 2009, Colonel Gaddafi became the longest-ruling (“longest-serving” is too charitable a term for what he does) current non-royal leader of a nation.
In the decades since he seized power, Colonel Gaddafi has proven erratic and antagonistic to western democracy: he actively courted IRA and PLO terrorists, wooed African strongman and cannibal Idi Amin, and has engaged French-speaking mercenaries in these recent weeks to crush his uprising populace.
Anybody on the job for three decades is bound to develop some bad habits. It’s the reason for annual evaluations and corporate reviews. In that regard, and in light of his late travails, your editorial staff humbly submits these notes and asides to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, on the occasion of his annual performance review after three decades of “service” to Libya:
- Avoid engaging foreign mercenaries to put down uprisings. If your own army and police forces are inadequate or unwilling to contain the general distaste for you, it’s likely time to jump ship.
- Stop bringing an authentic Bedouin tent and a camel everywhere you go. Just book a conference room.
- Stop dressing like a rodeo clown. When was the last time you saw the leader of any developed country wearing purple maternity dresses, Tom Wolff white suits with black cut-outs of Africa pinned to them, stuck-on photographs, and military uniforms in every color of the rainbow covered with made-up awards… all in the same day?
- You’ve been a colonel in the Libyan army since 1969. You run the country. Go ahead… make yourself a general. Or something better, like Voltron: Defender of The Universe. Who’s going to stop you?
- You’ve instructed the Libyan press to refer to you as “Leader & Guide of The Revolution” and “Guide of The First of September Great Revolution of the Socialist People’s Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.” If those instructions were your opening gambit in a global game of Most Ridiculous Title Ever, you’re winning. If not, you’re ridiculous. Serious titles need only one word, two at the most: President, Prime Minister, Secretary General, etc. In recognition of your wardrobe, we suggest Queen.
- Wash your hair.
- Either grow a beard, or don’t. You can’t have it both ways.
- If you’re in a place that isn’t very sunny – like inside a building – don’t wear sunglasses.
- When you wear dazzling white military uniforms, dark sunglasses, and a surgical mask over your face, you look like Michael Jackson.
- You’re 68 years old. Retire.
- Look less like Carlos Santana.