Dictator Style – Gaddafi & Others

Friday, 26 August 2011

Bad Lands◄ When I rewrote the intro to Bad Lands for a recent reprint I noted that nothing much had changed, Fidel in Cuba, Kim Jong-il in North Korea, a mess in Iraq, no driving licences for women in Saudi Arabia, the generals in Burma, everywhere you looked it was no change. Well they may not have found Gaddafi yet, but he’s certainly not lazing back in his tent in Tripoli.





A typical Gaddafi billboard, now becoming increasingly rare ▼


GaddafiAnd the media has featured plenty of decorating bad taste from Gaddafi and his offspring. What is it about dictator’s aesthetic instincts that they all seem to employ the same interior designers? Check Peter York’s book Dictators’ Homes for the inside story. I did my own – unsuccessful – search for a dictator’s home when I was in Zimbabwe this year. Mengistu, the Ethiopian despot, is living out his retirement courtesy of Robert Mugabe in Harare.

If I’d had longer on my visit to Congo DRC a couple of months ago I’d have definitely included Gbadolite, where Mobutu had his palace-in-the-jungle, on my itinerary.