Monday, Aug. 10, 2009

Gaddafi the Clotheshorse

Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has raised many an eyebrow over his four-decade rule: keeping cheetahs as pets, staying in nomad tents during trips abroad citing fear of buildings and surrounding himself with a posse of beautiful, gun-toting female bodyguards are just a few of his eccentric habits. However, nothing has shaped his colorful reputation more than his flamboyant fashion sense. Gaddafi is frequently seen swathed in bright, rainbow-colored silk drapes, Bedouin robes, dashikis and animal skins that he dons as a nod to his African heritage, but which might be better suited for the cast of the Lion King. During a diplomatic trip to Italy last June, he prominently pinned to his chest a picture of a Libyan resistance fighter who was hanged by Italian colonialists in 1931. "For us, that image is like the cross some of you wear," he explained during an Italian news conference, referencing Jesus Christ's crucifixion.