The First Draft: Gaddafi, the tent and The Donald

September 23, 2009

UE-AFRICA/Official Washington is gazing northward this morning toward New York and the United Nations, where President Barack Obama will be followed in the General Assembly by Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi. The big question in the blogosphere is not what Obama will tell the gathered diplomats of the world — the White House has indicated he will stress a new tone in foreign policy — but where Gaddafi spent the night.

Unlike the rest of the assembled envoys, Gaddafi prefers a Bedouin tent to a hotel (hates elevators, reportedly) but his plans to pitch a tent in the suburban town of Bedford, New York, hit a snag with local authorities. Construction of the tent, featuring draperies with a camel print, was halted on Tuesday. ABC News reported that he bedded down in Manhattan close to the United Nations.

ITALY-GADDAFI/The titillation factor grew when it was discovered that the estate in Bedford was owned by none other than Donald Trump, New York real estate magnate and publicity magnet extraordinaire.

The morning TV news programs — NBC, ABC, CNN, CBS, FOX — all featured stories, with video of the tent under construction. A quick Web search for tent+bedford+libya (leaving out Gaddafi’s name because of the various spellings of it) resulted in 227,000 hits.

There are plenty of critical issues before the United Nations General Assembly (and the G20 in Pittsburgh) this week: nuclear weapons proliferation, Middle East conflict, climate change, the global economic slump. So why is this the issue that’s grabbing the headlines? Is it because it’s something to spark outrage? Laugh at? Because of all the gnarly problems of the world, this is one that at least is comprehensible? Let us know what you think.

Photo credits:
REUTERS/Hugo Correia (Gaddafi in his tent outside Lisbon, Portugal, December 6, 2007)

REUTERS/Chris Helgren (Tent for Gaddafi pitched on the grounds of an Italian villa in Rome, June 9, 2009)


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This whole ordeal is ridiculous. This uproar has less to do with the “rules” and zoning and more to do with the color of his skin.

Gaddafi has abandoned his pursuit of wmds and can become a great ally to the West. He may be eccentric but he is no threat.

Posted by Edmund | Report as abusive

He could have done it, If he paid the right amount to right people.
May be BP other oil companies would have helped.
Who has principals in this planet.

Posted by Lalith | Report as abusive

I met Khadaffi 35 years ago at a conference in Mogadishu, Somalia. He did NOT appear to be an intolerant, violent individual. Why are there so many hostile impediments to his pitching his Bedouin tent on Donald Trump’s property in New Bedford? We should allow Khadaffi to repose in his natural environment. He is here to address the U.N. General Assembly. When there are so many problems facing the United States, why are we so radicalized by Khadaffi’s presence?

Posted by Barbara North Gormley | Report as abusive

Just the fact that a small community in New Jersey USA can tell a world leader that they don’t want his tent on their property and get away with it is what this country is all about. My admiration goes out to the city council of that community for not being intimidated by power from above. Where else in this crazy world could that have happened.

Posted by George Logan | Report as abusive

thank you to the people who stood up and didnt rent to gaddafi. we are a great country

Posted by paula | Report as abusive

For those who don’t understand the controversy, please see “The Lockerbie Bombing” and the recent welcome home party for the terrorists.

Posted by Sean | Report as abusive

While Bush was in office the guy made all sorts of concessions,even volunteered to gave up his quest to seek weapons of mass destruction,why?because he saw what happened to Iraq.Why the change in attitude?because he is watching his “son”Obama the apologist, and is he on board! NO. like ahmadinejad he knows Obama is only a talking head and there is nothing to worry about,

Posted by brian lee | Report as abusive