Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, ruler of Libya, may be a transparent liar clinging to power in a rapidly disintegrating state, but there's one way in which he's just like us: He never has time to read, either. This week, The New York Times reported that Qaddafi has an aide, Dr. Ahmed Fituri, whose job it is to read "significant" English-language books related to American politics and history. According to a cable released by WikiLeaks, Fituri then presents Qaddafi with "four- to seven-page" summaries of the books he's read.
So what's Qaddafi reading? Or, you know, not reading, but interested in? The cable lists a number of books, including:
- The World Is Flat 3.0, by Thomas Friedman
- The Audacity of Hope, by Barack Obama
- The Age of Fallibility, by George Soros
- The Future of Freedom, by Fareed Zakaria
- The Post-American World, by Fareed Zakaria
So Qaddafi's curious about the work of George Soros--this should give Glenn Beck something meaty to work with. (Actually, this might be the only good news Beck gets all week.) And Qaddafi can't be bothered to read Friedman's latest re-release of his own book--it's hard to fault him for that. We haven't read it either, but we'll take a stab at summarizing, based on Friedman's affection for metaphors: The global economy is like a zebra roller-skating through a Volkswagen factory in China on the Fourth of July and it's snowing.
The cable also indicates that Qaddafi, with security director Musa Kusa, asked Fituri to prepare summaries for his son, Muatassim Qaddafi, the country's National Security Adviser. However, the younger Qaddafi doesn't have quite the same love for book-learning as his father:
Fituri had so far only sent Muatassim summaries of articles and books he had already prepared for his father. Kusa, he said, had complained to him in August that Muatassim was "not an avid reader" and had to be prodded to read even summaries. Stressing that Muatassim had "his own strengths", Fituri offered that many in senior GOL circles did not consider Muatassim to be as intellectually curious as either his father or his older brother.
Aw, now we're just gossiping.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.