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27 February 2011
TRIPOLI, Libya -- As a popular uprising gains momentum in Libya, the country's embattled despot Moammar Gadhafi remains defiant in declaring death to his enemies, and tried feebly in a speech today to crush a walnut. Taking to state-run media, Gadhafi has made several articulate speeches this week which are credited with maintaining the complete resolve of his supporters. Most notably in recent days, Gadhafi has exposed an alliance between al-Qaeda and the United States whose agenda, he alleges, has been to usurp control of Libya from him all along.
However, an UnNews staffer wearing egg-head glasses and a sharp bow-tie projects that despite Gadhafi's brave face, he and his followers are severely outnumbered and will soon be overwhelmed. "It'll be like ants on a lollipop. Or! No, better example: ants on an oreo cookie."
The Libyan leader's rhetoric has been noticably tempered in the last two days amidst news of international condemnation, U.N. sanctions, and word that his assets abroad were being frozen. While rebels seize key territories in Libya, Gadhafi has departed from such grandiose statements as, "We can destroy any [rebel] assault", or, "Those who don't love me ... It will be hell for them," to a threat more within the grasp of his power: "See how I crush this walnut." The 68-year old dictator is then seen in footage grasping a large whole walnut in his wrinkled palm, while his gnarled knuckles whiten as he attempts to crush the walnut. After several tense moments with no progress, state-run media then abruptly shifts to an image of Libya's flag dubbed over with a patriotic recitation of the national anthem.
International reaction was mixed. "The President and I wanted to see if [Gadhafi] could do it," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. "That would have been pretty impressive." Asked if President Obama has attempted the feat, Carney smirked and said, "The President already has his hands full busting nuts in Congress right now." As the mental image set in with the Press Corps, Carney quickly added, "Don't quote me on that." Too late, Carney. Too late.
The United Nations General Assembly debated a measure condemning Gadhafi's display, and ultimately passed a resolution to send a sternly-worded letter of protest. The Canadian Prime Minister offered observations on the situation which were mostly ignored, even within his own country.
Meanwhile, Libyan rebels reportedly control the eastern half of their country, and military and civilian officials are preparing to form a provisional government of their own, with Gadhafi's increasingly benign displays making it clear that victory on their side is assured. A new national flag is being devised with black, green, and red bars, overlaid with an image of a nutcracker.
Gadhafi has since offered confusing statements regarding the walnut, one claiming to have successfully crushed it, and others later saying that he has yet to crush it. Coming to his father's defense, Gadhafi's son Saif al-Islam said, "We have plan A, plan B, plan C. Plan A is to obliterate all dissidents and walnuts and stay in power. Plan B is a slightly less ambitious plan to share power with the rebels and stop importing walnuts. And plan C is to at least crush the mother-fuck out of that one walnut, God willing." Observers suggest that the Gadhafi family may not even succeed in that last.
- CNN Wire staff "Reports of torture, killing in Libya, says U.N. secretary general". CNN, February 26, 2011
- Fabrizio Caccia "Skirmishes in Tripoli as Gaddafi's friends and foes square up". The Guardian, February 25, 2011