03 March 2011

Archaeo-protest: Gaddafi supporters at Sabratha

Let's face it. Ruins make great stage sets, whether you're protesting against education reform, global warming, or for the continuation of Muammar Ghaddafi's glorious fashion sense. This "protest" by paid supporters is at the Roman theater in Sabratha, as Martin Fletcher reports for The Australian:
On its 1800-year-old stage, crazed young men stomped and chanted. "Allah and Libya need Father Muammar," they roared. "Muammar Gaddafi, we will protect you."

It was a sight to make any archeologists blanch and, worse, it was put on to convince Western journalists that support for Libya's embattled leader is much greater than it is.

The previous night, we had asked our government minders if we could visit Sabratha because we had heard of fighting there. After a long delay, we set off late on Monday morning, local time. Predictably, we were greeted in the main square of the town by several hundred finger-jabbing men waving green flags, holding aloft portraits of Colonel Gaddafi and shouting their adoration for the benefit of the cameras.
 The article goes on to note that many of these men despise Gaddafi, but aren't above taking his money to put on a show for the foreign press.

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