"My life with Gaddafi family" (Eng. and sub. in all languages)

Uploaded by LiceSaPoternice on 02.01.2012

The Challenges of Truth author: Milovan Drecun
Son of the desert Muammar al Gaddafi
Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi
was Libyan leader since 1969 to 2011.
In early 1960-ies he finished officers school in the UK
and formed the Free Officers Movement.
Together with this organization, in 1969 he overthrew King Idris in a coup,
and then established military dictatorship and seized power in the country.
Instead of kingdom, he formed a socialist state,
although his social state model was quite different
from the models previously known.
The country got a new name - Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya.
He established a political system of people's congresses and people's committees,
as a form of direct democracy, without parlametarism.
In 1976 he published the Green Book in which he set his political goals.
Gaddafi strongly advocated the unity of Arab countries.
In more recent years he was trying to strengthen and speed up
the unification of African countries.
At his insistence the African Union was founded;
it was declared a successor to the Organization of African Unity,
and, modeled on EU, it was supposed to become an integral economic region in Africa.
In early 2011, after the war broke out in Libya, one of the rebels' major demands was
that he step down from power and leave the country.
On June 27th, the ICC in Hague issued an arrest warrant for Gaddafi,
for allegedly commited crimes against humanity,
which was rejected by the AU.
Muammar al-Gaddafi was brutally killed on October 20 2011 in his hometown of Sirte.
The UN organization officially requested an investigation into his death,
suspecting that the war crime was committed.
In late June 2011, about the same time
my visit to Libya was about to end, one man was also leaving the country -
- a man who was Gaddafi's personal cook for 20 years.
When did you first meet Gaddafi?
I went to Libya on January 13th 1990.
The first contact was in the 6th month...
while I was serving breakfast to the children,
he approached me from behind, in the kitchen,
first greeting me with 'Assalamu alaikum'...
I turned around and when I saw him I was scared...
Then he asked: "Kako si?" (this means 'How are you?' in Serbian)
I was puzzled - how come he can speak our language?
That was our first meeting, very exciting and very intense.
The president's favourite dishes were Libyan national ones.
He liked to have "asida" in the morning, it's similar to haste-pudding;
"m'gata'a", similar to spaghetti, but it's home-made and chopped;
"couscous", made with wholemeal flour;
"ruzz m'hubub", he liked it with raisins best;
when he achieved some success, he liked to have "bazeen"...
This is made of lamb, sauce, potatoes, eggs... it's a very delicious food.
He prefered eating from a wooden bowl, I have this cutlery that he used...
When he was visited by state officials, he stressed that
they should be served a food that all his countrymen eat.
He wasn't much demanding.
There were times when there was more food in my frige
than in his residence.
He was modest and always said that the food shouldn't be wasted,
showed how much meat he wanted, and he ate little.
One night, we got watermelons, it wasn't their season yet,
they were brought from Africa, from Ghana, I think,
those were the first watermelons in Libya...
The waiter extracted only the core and threw away the rest.
At that time Gaddafi was about to come check the kitchen,
depot and junk-pile.
Together with the Mrs. and Saif al-Islam, he went to the dumpsite
and saw that the watermelon and bread had been dumped.
He asked that all of that be brought to the kitchen
and told that it was very sad that the food was being dumped.
He said that many people had nothing to eat,
and that it would be better if we gave this to the army than dumping it.
He admired Serbs for the quality of their work,
for their honesty and many other things.
To come and work in his house, without any trials and checks -
this shows his huge trust, and that is really something special.
The meals I was making weren't undergoing any checks,
they were served directly at his table.
There were never any problems in these 20 years.
He trusted us very much.
Gaddafi was quite fond of Yugoslavs and very often showed us that,
and he appreciated us working in his house, so he was always smiling like this.
Is this a sincere smile? - Yes, very sincere smile.
That picture was taken in 1996, when we were coming back from Nigeria,
we stopped in Sabha, where he took a short break,
and then he asked us, his employees, that he take a picture with us.
We took very nice pictures... those are our people working for him.
This photo was taken on Aisha's 18th birthday, this was in Gharghour.
We made some food for that occasion.
How did the ceremony look? It was often talked about luxurious life of Gaddafi...
What did you cook for Aisha's 18th birthday?
There wasn't luxury at all, they were very modest people...
We made nothing special... cold appetizers, hot appetizers and some common desserts.
This was on Aisha's wedding, that was in "mazra",
in a big tent that Mubarak made a present and where the ceremony took place.
I was their host, since the Mrs. considered us their family.
How many guests were there? - About 2000.
Only women were in the hall, since women and men were separate.
Is that a common practice in Libya? -Yes, in the weddings
men and women must not be together.
It was often talked about Gaddafi's generosity,
that he used to answer state officials' calls for financial help.
Yes, indeed. He really was helping. Although I was his cook,
I was hearing a lot about his help from his people.
He helped Africa most, he really gave a lot of money to Africa.
What European officials did he help?
For instance, he gave money to Papandreou, he came in 2005...
Greek Prime Minister? - Yes, Greek Prime Minister.
He got, I think, about 20 million dollars, being obliged to make
a tourist complex in Baida and Benghazi.
To build it on Libya's coast? - Yes, on Libya's coast.
He also gave money to the French president for his election campaign,
he gave to Italians...
You mean Sarkozy? - Yes, exactly.
That's what I heard well, from his people.
That's the very same Sarkozy who started the bombing campaign
and overthrowing Gaddafi? - Right.
And he gave to Berlusconi too? - Yes, him as well.
Of all the officials who visited Gaddafi, who impressed you most?
Egyptian president, he was really...
Mubarak, former president? - Yes, him.
Then Yasser Arafat, Palestinian president, who was always visiting suddenly.
I remember once his plane got stuck in the sand when trying to land.
So Gaddafi got very worried, and they rushed to check if he was ok.
Concerning these European presidents, he was only partly glad to meet them.
He was rather oriented towards Africa, he wanted to make it united,
he wanted those Muslim countries to be compact and united.
However, all of that stayed the way it is.
I know that he used to invite some officials
and then let them wait for him for days.
Yes, for instance, French president Jacques Chirac was waiting for 2 days
to be recieved. He was in Tripoli, but Gaddafi went to Sirte,
and invited him to come to Sirte.
One day I went to the depot where their supplier was
to pick up some goods,
and I saw some envelopes among the goods on the shelves.
I asked the supplier: "What's this?" He said: "That's boss's salary"
I took the envelope and looked - there was 575 Libyan Dinars.
That was in back in 1990, when I first came to Libya
and met those people for the first time.
I was stunned and I asked: "What is he going to do with this money?
Why is it being kept in the envelopes?"
He told me that the Mrs. was saving it and giving it to the poor people,
they were buying groceries, meat and giving them to the poor.
Concerning their costs of living inside the residence,
there were 9 of them and the costs were 150 euros per day.
When the officials were visiting, the expenses were about 1100-1200 euros.
He didn't allow much extravagance.
The life in Gaddafi residence was very modest.
There were no golden faucets, ivory or decorations in his rooms.
His bedroom had one double bed, shelve and clothing rack.
The bathroom was very ordinary, simple,
having a normal bathtub, cosmetic shelves.
He even didn't want it to be too much cleaned and perfect,
but to look natural, just like in every other house.
He was very fair to his children.
He wanted them to be like all the other children,
not to have luxury and not to behave arrogantly.
Miodrag's wife, Suzana, was looking after Gaddafi's children 1990-1996.
Despite all his commitments, Gaddafi was taking much care of his children -
if they were on time for school, if they were behaving well...
He also used to watch them from a distance
while they were playing and socializing.
He had children from two marriages - son Mohammed from the first
and 7 children from the second marriage.
However, he also had adopted children - Hannah and, previously, 3 of them
whom he raised as his own and who got married.
He didn't treat them any differently than his own children.
His favorite was Hannah who had been adopted.
Of all his children, she was the one he was spending most time with.
She was very endearing girl... she considered him her real father.
Gaddafi was spending his sparetime with his children, playing chess...
This is little Hannah, Saif al-Arab...
He wanted his children not to stand out from other Libyan children.
The children were attending regular, common schools,
they didn't go to special ones, nor were they homeschooled,
except that they took some extra classes.
He didn't want his children to be looked upon differently,
to be favoured by teachers. He even strictly forbid it -
telling that those teachers who turn a blind eye on his children
won't be able to get a job in Libya.
He used to discipline them...
For instance, he chastened Hannibal once when he wasn't good at school,
so Gaddafi came in his room, browsed his lockers and
he saw the clothes that were somewhat expensive,
so he took them away...
because he didn't want his children to wear better clothes than other children.
He himself brought the tv-set out of Hannibal's room,
as well as the hi-fi.
How much Gaddafi wanted his children to be modest one can learn from this:
Once, when there was a car show in Tripoli, one of his sons bought a car
and drove it to the residence.
When he was entering the residence Gaddafi saw the car
and asked the security whose car that was. They told him...
He was shocked, and he burned that car. He did it himself.
Like all the presidents, he had his informers.
In a part of Gargaresh where their villas were,
the children got together with their companions, having little fun.
He heard of that and came there...
overnight the whole complex was brought down into the sea.
He didn't allow his children to behave as if they were above the others.
He wanted them to be same as children of any other Libyan citizen.
This picture was taken in 1996, on Hannah's birthday.
Yugoslav children, too, were invited to the children's party in the residence.
When individual photos were to be taken, he asked whose these two children were,
he went to Mrs. Safia, and she told him those were children of our workers.
He immediately agreed to take pictures with our children first.
In this picture he's with my daughter and a colleague's son.
That photo was taken in 2006, when my family came to visit me.
I asked him that my family take a picture with him.
In 2006 I was visiting my dad, and since my parents told me
that Gaddafi was writing books, I was interested in
what he was writing about and his way of thinking,
so I decided to buy one of his books... this is that book.
The book is very interesting, however, it crossed my mind that
I should give the book to my dad, so that he could get it signed for me,
because I would be very pleased to have such a memory.
Dad went with him to Sirte, he signed the book for me, here...
With this book I got his Green Book that was also signed.
The book is very interesting, it consists of few novels,
but to me the most interesting part was one regarding the relation
between city and countryside.
He describes city as a bustling place where people are always in a hurry
and whenever a stranger wanted to ask for direction
people would tell him: "I'm in a rush, I'm sorry,
you'll have to ask somone else";
whereas the countryside is decribed as a calm place,
where everyone knows each other and everybody's friends
and where, as he said, for the first time the Moon can be seen the way it is,
and where one can perceive sky's clarity, with no smog around.
I liked that very much.
Gaddafi didn't like smoking, he strictly forbid it to his children
They did it secretly... Many times Mrs. Safia came to
her children's rooms and then searched their pockets.
When she finds cigarettes, she would criticize them
telling that if Gaddafi finds out, he will make a fuss over it.
None of his children smoked cigarettes in his presence.
And consuming alcohol was out of the question, as it was prohibited by law.
Once, in the 1980-ies, when he was in Bulgaria,
during the reception of his delegation alcohol was served,
he turned and walked away.
On that day, March 24th 1999, when NATO announced bombing Serbia
Mrs. Safia came to the kitchen, clutching her head and screaming:
"What do those villains over your country want?"
When president Gaddafi heard that Serbians had extradited Milosevic
to the court in Hague, Gaddafi wasn't approving it at all.
He wasn't supporting the extradiction of a state official
who, after all, meant to his country.
He was against it, regardless of the fact that
he didn't collaborate much with Milosevic.
There was a small meeting where he told that to his people.
He wasn't a supporter of the Hague court and wasn't recognizing it.
His residence and his home were mostly maintained by Germans,
they knew maps of his house, his shelters and everything.
All his things and technical equipment were procured from Germany.
The last time I saw Gaddafi was in March,
he came into the kitchen and expressed his appreciation
for me staying there and for being fair to his people.
He asked me: "Mio, are you the only one?"
I told him I was the only Yugoslav left.
He called me a great man and a great chef.
The last time I heard from him was in late March,
when he called me and ordered a dinner for a delegation.
He asked me again if I was the only one
I said that I was, and he told me
that I was a great man and a great Serb.
Before I left Libya, Mrs. Safia told me to get ready for a trip,
that I was going on a vacation for a month, two or three,
and that they would invite me to come back.
Gaddafi is no more, but I have this great keepsake left.
For 20 years you've been knowing Muammar Gaddafi and his family...
Can you answer this question - was Muammar Gaddafi a dictator
or the leader of the revolution?
He was just the leader of the revolution, not a dictator by any chance.
Because a man who takes care of everything
and wishes the best for his people with all his heart
cannot be a dictator. Only the leader of the revolution.
Were you shaken by his tragic death?
- Yes, terribly. I was totally devastated by his death.
After all this time, I still can't believe that such a thing could happen
to one great official and one great revolutionary leader.