Walking down the main street in Clonakilty yesterday evening I was stopped in my tracks by this picture, painted on a board that has been placed over the window of a closed shop. It intrigues me on a number of levels; firstly, although it is a fairly simple painting / stencil, the person depicted is instantly recognisable as the longtime ruler of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi who has been a thorn in the flesh of the U.S. and U.K. at least since the Lockerbie Bombing of December 1988 and probably for many years before that. Of course more recently Gaddafi is in the news for the terrible situation in Libyaat the moment, a heartbreaking conflict between those loyal to Gaddafi and those (inspired by the success of their neighbours in Egypt) wanting the end of Gaddafi’s regime and to replace it with a democracy.
Secondly, the name of the artist is interesting; “Zirak” is not a common name in West Cork! A quick Internet search shows that the name originates from an area overlapping Pakistan and Afghanistan, so perhaps the artist has come from there, or if not then certainly the artist’s ancestors did. Why did they feel the need to paint this? Perhaps it is a very graphic (literally) way of expressing their thoughts on what is happening in Libya at the moment – which brings me to the third level of interest, the words:
They still love me … right?
This puts in a nutshell what it is all about. The conflict in Libya for many people is simply Gaddafi’s ego verses everyone else. He would of course not be the first leader attempting to cling on to power in the face of overwhelming opposition, but it seems that his desire to be liked, respected, feared and revered has cost many lives, including members of his own family – and ultimately it may very well cost him his life also…
Of course we all want to be loved, but when that desire to be loved mutates into a desire to be adulated, whether the person is a rock star, footballer or political leader or even just somebody like you or me, then that is a recipe for grief. It all makes me think of Someone who loves us more than we will ever know, understand or fully appreciate:
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
If only Gaddafi had been told this news while he was still a young man…