Thursday, October 20, 2011

Libyan Strongman Gaddafi Killed, Interim Government Seeks International Bids for Standardized Spelling of Name on Headstone

SAN NARCISO, Calif. (Bennington Vale Evening Transcript) -- Muammar Gaddafi, the ruthless and erratic dictator of Libya, was killed Thursday as rebels overtook his stronghold in Sirte, a former fishing village and Gaddafi’s hometown. He was 69. Gaddafi, wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of ordering the killing of civilians, was toppled by rebel forces on August 23, just a week prior to the anniversary of the 1969 coup that placed him in power. Senior officials in the interim government hailed Gaddafi’s death as paving the way toward “liberation” after eight months of war. Despite public celebrations throughout Libya, however, uncertainty lingers. Accounts of the particulars of Gaddafi’s death seem confused, the future of Libya’s oil exports remain ambiguous, and nobody can agree on the official spelling of Gaddafi’s name. As such, the interim government has issued a global Request for Proposal to select a winning bidder to design the fallen leader’s headstone, with a standardized spelling of his name.

Details of Death Uncertain
While Gaddafi himself was unable to dodge a bullet, or hundreds of them, a senior National Transitional Council (TNC) military official said many nations did just that. Had Gaddafi been taken alive, a heated debate over the dictator’s trial would likely have ensued. Any trial might have given the idiosyncratic ruler a platform from which to expose Libya’s new rulers and Western powers to potentially embarrassing issues they would rather forget, especially regarding deals signed by international oil companies worth billions.

Some rumors suggested that Gaddafi had been gravely injured during an earlier NATO airstrike that hit the convoy he was attempting to flee town in. Other reports indicated that armed rebels rooted Gaddafi out from hiding and gunned him down in the streets.

Samuel Saahboehns, a senior medical director based at San Narciso County General, offered an alternative diagnosis: “For over forty years, Gaddafi ruled with an iron fist. I’m not an expert on the man’s history, but I’ve seen nothing that discusses whether he lost his hand to disease or injury, or if he voluntarily severed his appendage and then replaced it with an iron prosthetic. Either way, iron poisoning is a serious condition that can be fatal if left untreated. At first, the stomach lining becomes ulcerated. After prolonged exposure, the iron passes deeper into the body and damages internal organs, particularly the brain and liver. This would also account for Gaddafi’s evident dementia. I believe it’s possible that the rebels found him dead, dragged his corpse into the streets, and then shot it countless times.”

International Community Vies for Rights to Design Headstone
Over the last four decades, covering stories based in Libya has been the bane of news editors worldwide, mostly because no single human can agree on the spelling of Colonel Gaddafi’s name. Common variations have included “Gaddafi,” “Qaddafi,” “Kaddafi,” “Gathafi,” “Kadafi,” “Gadafy,” “Algathafi,” “Cthulhu,” and more mysteriously, “John Galt.”

But Libya’s Prime Minister and the TNC want to reinvent the country’s international image.

“The first step in unveiling the new Libya to the world is deciding on how to spell al Qaddafi’s name,” a senior official told reporters. “We cannot build a grave marker big enough to contain all the variations. So we are appealing to the global community, who will hopefully become our allies instead of our foes, to agree on a standard convention. This will then live on in stone as the official version. When our people come to defile his final resting place, they will do so with a greater sense of unity, cohesive hatred, and grammatical purpose.”

Although most Western nations have no interest in erecting a headstone to commemorate a longtime villain, the presiding Libyan government has proposed a series of exclusive oil export deals to the winning bidders.

Top tier marketing firms and stone masons from the United States, United Kingdom, France, Spain, Germany and Russia have assembled teams to submit bids back to Libya. IsraĆ«l was immediately disqualified after sending an obscene concept to the TNC featuring a picture of Gaddafi drinking ale from a phallic shaped stein with the caption “Cocktoberfest.”

All email correspondence sent to Greece was returned as undeliverable, with the error message “Returned mail: Host unknown. Address had permanent fatal errors.”

The Libyan government plans to announce the winning design in early 2012.

(c) 2011. See disclaimers.

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