Berlusconi won’t “disturb” Gaddafi – as one Dirty Old Man supports another

As the brush fire of revolution against dictators spreads in North Africa and the Middle East, Bunga bunga Berlusconi ( 75 years old) announced that he will not “disturb” his soul-brother Gaddafi (69 years) in his time of trial. They are of course both senior members of the Association of Dirty Old Leaders.

Reuters reports:

Opposition lawmakers criticised Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi for failing to condemn violence in Libya and saying he did not want to “disturb” Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi during the revolt in his country.

Berlusconi’s government, which has aggressively courted Libyan petrodollars and rolled out the red carpet during Gaddafi’s multiple visits to Italy, has said little on Libya’s crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 170 people.

Pressed by reporters on whether he had spoken to Gaddafi since the uprising began, Berlusconi said on Saturday: “No, I haven’t been in contact with him. The situation is still in flux and so I will not allow myself to disturb anyone.”

The comment stirred outrage among the leftist opposition, which has long accused Berlusconi of turning a blind eye to Gaddafi’s human rights record and pandering to the Libyan leader for the sake of lucrative contracts and investment in Italy, which is Libya’s former colonial ruler.

In this photograph from June 2009 where Berlusconi is welcoming Gaddafi accompanied by a rather plump member of his all-woman bodyguard, it is not clear why Gaddafi finds it necessary to wear cardboard medals and an old photograph on his chest. It is probably something only Bunga bunga will know.

Silvio Berlusconi welcomes Muammar Gaddafi at Rome Ciampino airport

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi welcomes Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi at Rome's Ciampinio airport, Italy, on 10 June 2009. Photograph: ALESSANDRO DI MEO/EPA

As the Guardian put it when Gaddafi visited Italy in 2009:

The highlight of Gaddafi’s trip to Rome is a meeting, personally requested by the Libyan leader, with 700 women from the worlds of “politics, industry and culture”. So Berlusconi got down his Bumper Catalogue of Hot Stuff, got rid of any that were over 25, discarded those with a loud voice or body hair, and whittled down the rest by ballot until he got to 1,000, whereupon the disappointed remainder that didn’t get to meet Muammar were given a senior post in his cabinet or a mini-break in his fancy villa with the pools and the elephants.

Before we start thinking this is just a pact of weirdness between two profoundly weird men, it is not the first time Gaddafi has extended the hand of friendship to the ladies of Europa (I do not mean the convenience store chain; I am romanticising the continent, trying to get into the mind of the mighty dictator). Two years ago in Paris, he met 1,000 French women. His message was clear: he wanted to “save European women”.

Gaddafi and his nurse: image EPA

Of course in addition to his bodyguards Wikileaks has told us that he also has his own voluptuous Ukrainian nurse(s).

Diplomats in Tripoli described how the Libyan leader appeared to be reliant on Galyna Kolotnytska, without whom he reportedly “cannot travel”.

In a despatch to the US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, sent in September 2009, embassy officials painted an intimate portrait of Col Gaddafi’s many fears and “eccentricities”.

The secret memo, which was headed “A glimpse into Libyan leader Gaddafi’s eccentricities”, said he “appears to rely” on his senior nurse, and less than in the past on his “legendary” band of women bodyguards who used to accompany him everywhere.

 

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