Giles's Feed
Aug 23, 2011

Newsmaker: Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to bloodshed

LONDON (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi’s penchant for extravagant uniforms, gold regalia and Bedouin tents provided a theatrical backdrop for four decades of harsh repression at home and a foreign policy that made him a bete noire of the West.

On Tuesday night, those props were smashed, pilfered and paraded in mockery when rebels stormed his fortified compound. One man wore the familiar braided hat he said he found in his house. The tent where he received foreign dignitaries was set ablaze. The decapitated golden head of his statue was trampled.

Aug 21, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to bloodshed

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi appealed on
Sunday night for his people to “save Tripoli” from a rebel
offensive, but his four-decade-old rule appeared doomed.

While leaders of neighbouring Arab states folded quickly in
the face of popular uprisings, Gaddafi had put up a bloody
fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who quickly
seized half the country.

Aug 21, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to bloodshed

LONDON, Aug 21 (Reuters) – Muammar Gaddafi appealed on
Sunday night for his people to “save Tripoli” from a rebel
offensive, but his four-decade-old rule appeared doomed.

While leaders of neighbouring Arab states folded quickly in
the face of popular uprisings, Gaddafi had put up a bloody
fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who quickly
seized half the country.

Jul 13, 2011

Six months on, Tunisian revolution disappoints some

TUNIS (Reuters) – A short while ago, Adel Klaifa was used to members of the Tunisian president’s family coming to the beach and riding on his camels.

The only problem was that they refused to pay like regular tourists.

Now six months after the overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the first victim of the Arab Spring revolutions, Klaifa has another problem — not enough customers of any kind. Along with many of his fellow Tunisians, economic prosperity remains elusive.

May 16, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi no stranger to violence

LONDON (Reuters) – While other Arab leaders folded quickly in the face of popular uprisings, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has put up a bloody fight, taking on NATO as well as local insurgents who have seized half the country.

With his bedouin tents and heavily armed female bodyguards, along with a readiness to execute his opponents and turn his tanks on his opponents, Gaddafi has cut an eccentric and violent figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

Mar 16, 2011

Gaddafi seen growing in confidence as rebels fade

LONDON (Reuters) – As his armed forces roll over rebel fighters, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi has shaken off his delusional first response to the uprising and is reasserting his grip on the country he has ruled for more than 40 years.

After presidents in Tunisia and Egypt succumbed to popular revolutions, swift early gains by rebels in Libya made it look as though Gaddafi would be the next Arab domino to topple.

Feb 22, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi fights for survival

LONDON (Reuters) – With his penchant for bedouin tents and heavily armed female bodyguards, along with a readiness to execute his opponents, Muammar Gaddafi has cut a disturbing figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

For most of that time he held a prominent position in the West’s international rogues’ gallery, while maintaining tight control at home by eliminating dissidents and refusing to annoint a successor.

Feb 18, 2011

Flamboyant Gaddafi feels ripples of change

LONDON (Reuters) – With his penchant for Bedouin tents, heavily armed female bodyguards and Ukrainian nurses, Muammar Gaddafi has cut a showman like figure as Libya’s leader for more than 40 years.

For most that time he also held a prominent position in the West’s international rogues’ gallery.

Jun 23, 2010
via Africa News blog

Africa takes the stage in London

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Africa is providing a lot of fine material for the London theatre these days.

A rare outing for Wole Soyinka’s Death and the King’s Horseman was a highlight at the National last year. This was followed, also at the National, by Matt Charman’s The Observer,  which unpicked preparations for an election in an unnamed African nation.

More recently, Lynn Nottage’s excellent Ruined, which dealt with tough themes relating to women’s lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo, has just finished an acclaimed run at the Almeida in Islington.

Mar 1, 2010
via Africa News blog

What’s in a name?

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My colleague Emma Farge has blogged  on the confusion that arose in oil markets after reports of a coup in Niger caused erroneous rumours that last month’s military takeover had taken place in Nigeria, a similar-sounding country with its own history of  interventions by the men in uniform.

This is not the first time the confusion has arisen. During my time as a correspondent in Lagos in the 1980s, a report appeared on the front page of a local newspaper saying Nigeria had rescheduled its foreign debt, an important issue at the time and a story I certainly did not want to miss.