In amongst the inspiring news of what might be the first ever modern popular revolution in Tunisia, it would be easy to miss the words of the world’s most conspiracy-believing heads of state.
The botox injecting Col. Gadaffi, who has been the de facto leader of Libya for going on 42 years, is a man given to making amusing pronouncements. He’s of the opinion that there’s a coming era in which the world will recognise the Jamahiriyia (the term he invented for the Libyan state) as the ideal form for all other states. This will of course follow the imminent collapse of the US dollar due to its being successfully forged by anarchists, as well as the development of super bioweapons by terrorists. I have eagerly been awaiting these apocalyptic developments ever since I first heard him promise them 10 years ago, but they’ve mysteriously yet to materialise.
As well as inventing his own conspiracy theories, he’s got in other peoples’ as well, such as his claim to the UN that the H1N1 flu virus was created by a foreign military, and that JFK was assassinated by Israel. He also famously claimed to have invented the “world’s safest car.” More recently, he’s teamed up with another guy who you can’t quite believe is in charge of a country, Silvio Berlusconi, as part of a crusade to keep Africans out of Europe.
Now he’s spoken out on the revolution in Tunisia, in which he sees one of the most intricate conspiracies yet – US ambassadors deliberately making stuff up in diplomatic cables which they knew would be leaked, in order to create chaos!
The deposed Tunisian President, Zine al Abidine Bin Ali, was an ally of Gadaffi, as well as being a thug who ran a country for his own personal enrichment. But Gadaffi told TV audiences that he was “pained” by his fall.
He said that Bin Ali was the only man to lead Tunisia, and that Tunisians should have been patient and waited until 2014 when Bin Ali claimed he would stand down. However, he made clear that in his own view Bin Ali should be President “not just until 2014 but for life.”
“Tunisia now lives in fear. Families could be raided and slaughtered in their bedrooms and the citizens in the street killed as if it was the Bolshevik or the American revolution,” he claimed.
But the best part was where he put the blame for all this on WikiLeaks. He said that leaked cables, which revealed US diplomats’ private disgust at the corrupt Tunisian regime which they publicly supported, were “written by lying ambassadors in order to create chaos.”
One aspect of what he had to say was his constant references to WikiLeaks as “Kleenex.” This is the name he uses to refer to the site throughout his speech. I’ve looked quite a bit but I’ve yet to see anyone explain the reference, and I just don’t get the joke. Am I missing something obvious? Could it be a pun in Arabic? Some kind of joke about leaky noses? If you know please enlighten us in the comments.
Anyway, he’s what he had to say about the notorious imperialist internet tissues:
Even you, my Tunisian brothers. You may be reading this Kleenex and empty talk on the Internet.
This Internet, which any demented person, any drunk can get drunk and write in, do you believe it? The Internet is like a vacuum cleaner, it can suck anything. Any useless person; any liar; any drunkard; anyone under the influence; anyone high on drugs; can talk on the Internet, and you read what he writes and you believe it. This is talk which is for free. Shall we become the victims of “Facebook” and “Kleenex” and “YouTube”! Shall we become victims to tools they created so that they can laugh at our moods? . . . This world wide web Internet is laughing at us and damaging our countries; it is tearing up our clothes; and killing our children for it.
Of course, it’s actually pretty offensive and arrogant for us to assume that Tunisians, who had lived under the regime of Bin Ali and his 100,000 strong security services since 1987. They knew fine well what their government was like. It is possible to argue that social networking sites and youtube helped spread the news of the incident that did really spark the revolution – the suicide of a young man who was running a fruit and veg stall to survive after it was smashed up by the cops. The background, of course, is massive poverty and youth unemployment. Not what US diplomats have to say.
But that doesn’t make it any less funny to see the Colonel not getting the internet. In a sense he is of course right: I often use the internet while being a drunkard under the influence in order to laugh at others – and Gadaffi gives me plenty of material.