In BBC’s documentary, for the first time the slain leader’s macabre rape chamber can be seen, showing ‘Gaddafi’sden’ where he regularly raped young girls and forced them to watching pornography.
After more than two years of capture and death of Libyan leader Muammer Gaddafi, details about his brutality towards young girls-turned-sex slaves have been emerging gradually.
In BBC’s documentary, for the first time the slain leader’s macabre rape chamber can be seen, showing ‘Gaddafi’s den’ where he regularly raped young girls and forced them to watching pornography.
According to news.com.au, the small, nondescript single-storey complex includes a room holding little more than a double bed with a 1970s decor and grimy Jacuzzi, all left exactly as they were when Gadaffi last used it.
What is more chilling is an actual clinical gynaecological suite in an adjoining room, where young girls were forced to undergo abortions and tested for possible STDs before being sent to Gaddafi for exploitation.
Those who were able to escape were shunned by their conservative Muslim families, those who stayed were so badly abused that they were dumped in car parks and on waste ground, and left to die.
The report said that it took the documentary-makers months of negotiations to be allowed access to information on Gaddafi as Libya remains secretive and hidebound by bureaucracy.
This week’s Storyville, Mad Dog: Gaddafi’s Secret World looks at the nature of dictatorship through the story of the ultimate dictator – the late Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
Filmed in Cuba, the Pacific, Brazil, the USA, South Africa, Libya and Australia, this hard-hitting documentary features interviews with palace insiders, victims of his violent regime and some of those who gave shape to Gaddafi’s dark dreams.
An FBI fugitive tells of Gaddafi’s ‘murder-for-hire’ team, set up to kill his enemies worldwide; his former plastic surgeon tells how he found himself operating on Gaddafi in the middle of the night and without general anaesthetic because he was afraid of being poisoned.
We hear from the widow of the Libyan foreign minister, whose body Gaddafi kept in a freezer; a female bodyguard who adored him until she was forced to watch teenagers being executed; and the teacher at a school visited by Gaddafi tells how he turned up unannounced to select girls to be taken back to his palace for his pleasure, tapping students on the head to indicate to his henchman which ones he wanted.
Gaddafi was a dictator like no other; their stories are stranger than fiction.
The perpetrators of the crime were sick and inhuman, but are we not responsible too for tolerating lazy systems and delayed justice?For the first time since the Mumbai terror attacks, I am terribly scared again. The gang rape of the hapless 23-year-old physiotherapist has left me shaken. This is not to say that other tragedies have left me untouched. It’s just that what scares me more than anything else is the inhuman face of terror, of brutality, of cold-blooded cruelty that lies beneath the everyday mask that humans wear. A school bus driver, a vegetable vendor and a gym instructor — these are people we come across every day. But did you imagine that if you scratch the surface, beneath lies a man capable of the kind of cruelty perpetrated on this victim?
This is not rape we are talking about here; it is much, much more. It is a violation of humanity, of womanhood, of life, and of God Himself! It is a violation of one’s very existence on earth. In a way, I would say, with this cruelty — and the Connecticut school massacre — the world and all humanity did actually come to an end in December 2012 as per the Mayan calendar.
These incidents are just an extreme manifestation of a problem that ticks around us all the time, waiting for the slightest provocation to explode in our faces. If you are one of those who doesn’t read disturbing reports and prefers to stay cocooned in a false sense of security, then things are fine for you. But in the real world, one increasingly encounters tempers on short leash, people quick to take umbrage, and ever prepared to strike back. These days, you hesitate before ticking off someone or even objecting to something. My son stops me from complaining to a waiter in a restaurant, saying, “Mom, he will get angry and spit in the food or something!” He also stops me from pulling up the house help for any misdemeanors, saying, “Haven’t you watched Dastak? Some people strike back, even kill for small, imagined insults!”
You tell off someone for hitting your car, and he whips out a gun. You don’t allow your daughter to marry the man of her choice and she kills you. You protest when a man teases you, and he considers it his licence to stalk you and rape you. It seems that we are surrounded by ticking time bombs, human landmines you have to be careful not to step on, lest you trigger off an explosion that destroys you.
Does this make you wonder what the world is coming to? What has changed? I asked my friend, psychiatrist Dr Deepak Raheja, on the gang rape issue. “Nothing’s changed. There is a time bomb beneath the surface of all of us. The animal instinct is part of our make-up; we are all basically animals who have learnt to train ourselves so as to fit in with our idea of a civilised society,” he says.
But surely, you and I wouldn’t ever be so brutal, so cruel, so remorseless? That is where education, culture, spirituality, a greater consciousness — call it what you will — come in. That is what helps us rise far above the basic animal instinct, and this is also what creates the difference, the divide between the haves and have nots. Poverty and lack of means frustrate people further; add to that minds that are very, very sick and there goes off your time bomb! But the one thing that can still keep order intact in society and save the rest from the few sick minds is, as always, the rule of law.
Ultimately, how safe your society is boils down to how strict and effective your law and its execution is. “Despite civilization, education and consciousness, the danda is the most effective means of keeping order,” says Deepak. “If people think they can get away with it, they will push the boundaries. But of course, in cases such as the Delhi gang rape, these people are indeed wired differently. They are very sick.”
True, but however sick they may be, if they didn’t think they could get away with it, they may have thought twice about what they did. And so the people who are responsible are the policemen, the people on the road, and yes, us! We all need to be alert, sensitive, firm in a zero-tolerance policy and willing to help and protect the weakest in our society.
And then comes the next question: should rapists be subjected to castration or capital punishment? Between the two, I would choose the former, but it’s not enough. Certainly not enough for what they did to the 23-year-old, not by any stretch of imagination. I do not think the law can do anything to the perpetrators of this crime that is punishment enough. Capital punishment would be too soft on them; they would die quickly, and then what? They should be made to suffer for this every minute of their lives and should be made an example for other would-be criminals so that nobody ever again dares to tear asunder the very fabric of civilised existence and leave us all shaking with rage and helplessness yet again.
Beware of predators!
The aftermath of Nirbhaya’s torture and death has left the nation deeply hurt and baying for blood. But what will these feelings of revenge do to our collective psyche?
I used to be grateful for not being born in barbaric times when eye for eye, tooth for tooth was the norm. When routinely, as punishment, people were stoned to death or flayed alive, disemboweled, impaled on stakes fixed in the ground, or horror of horrors, sawed into two while hanging upside down! One can understand a few terribly troubled minds executing such horrors upon another human being, but the mind boggles at the idea of such ancient, savage practices being the result of a cool and calculated decision. Thank God for civilization. Or, so one thought, till the Delhi gang rape shook us all out of this stupor to realise that the barbaric mind lives on beneath the thin veneer of civilization. Not just in the perpetrators of the crime, but shockingly, somewhere in all of us as well.
Look at us baying for blood, willing to take the law in our hands, hell-bent upon actively avenging what the poor girl was made to suffer! The talk is as much about how the criminals must not be ‘just’ killed, but tortured and made to suffer prolonged pain, as it is about how to prevent such further crimes. I am also guilty of such thoughts and have said that capital punishment would be too easy on the criminals.
A few weeks ago, I could not have imagined polite and mild drawing room conversations being replaced by discussions of creatively cruel methods of torture for criminals. But the other night, sitting cozily around a log fire at a friend’s house for dinner, we all agreed that the criminals should be handed over to the public for revenge, and then got busy devising the cruelest punishments for them. Each of us was limited only by our imagination, no holds barred.
“Do to them what they did to the poor girl!” insisted one lady, while another got carried away enough to describe in vivid detail what tortures she would like to inflict on the rapists. It was agreed that capital punishment would not be enough, and they should feel the pain through their lives. To castrate or not to castrate became the big question, with some ladies going for it vociferously, while others wondered how that would deter the criminals from the ‘other’ nameless terrors they inflicted on the hapless girl! “In fact,” said one sane voice, “such a punishment may be the tipping point that turns these sick animals into total psychopaths and serial killers!”
At this point someone started recounting some of the most barbaric punishments meted out in human history, suggesting we choose between slow slicing, sawing, burning, impalement, disembowelment, crucifixion or boiling for the rapists! Looking at these emotional reactions, including mine, objectively, I was dismayed at what this horrific incident has done to all of us collectively! Thoughts of revenge inflict far more pain and suffering on us than on the perpetrators of the crime. They leave us embittered, frustrated and vengeful. But that is exactly the mood of the nation right after Nirbhaya’s death! And one can blame our lack of confidence in the law of the land for this. If we were assured that the law and the greater law of nature or God will justly take care of the evildoers, we need not ravage our own conscience with thoughts of cruelty. The fact that we are doing so shows a lack of faith in law as well as in God.
However, the saving grace is that though we all were talking big and imagining all kinds of revenge for the criminals, not many of us would actually be able to act out our dark fantasies. When I asked the others if individually any one of them could do to the criminals what they did to Nirbhaya, not a single person spoke up. And, thank God for that!
For how would that leave us any different from those beasts?
Fed on romantic literature, girls fall easy prey to male predators watching them from the fringes of society. Here’s how to save yourself from sure heartbreak
I am generally pretty optimistic, focussing on the sunnier side of things. A typical Sagittarian, I would ideally try to shoot an arrow over the rainbow, so I can see both, sunshine and a rainbow together. So fascinated I am by the silver edges that I often fail to notice dark clouds. Heck, I even prefer my eggs sunny side up, never turned over easy.
And yet, when it comes to trusting men, there is an innate wariness in me that borders on cynicism. A man has to work twice as hard as a woman to prove himself to me. I am aware of the unfairness of that statement, but that’s how it is. Of course once the trust is earned, it is steady.
That is the fallout of an overprotective upbringing, I guess. As little girls, and especially those educated in convent schools, we are all warned to be wary of anything in pants. As a result, you kind of grow up a doubting Jane and learn to be super careful.
We all know that some men are forever on the prowl. The men who are misfits in society, the mysterious loners who hold an allure for unsuspecting girls. Lesson to learn? Be suspicious. Mothers warn their daughters against exactly these men while, ironically, literature has romanticised the same breed of men – the strong and silent type. Remember Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre? Mr Darcy in Pride and Prejudice? Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights?Even Howard Roark in The Fountainhead? Or a Mills & Boon hero? The more brooding and difficult they are, the greater their appeal. Each one of them is a perfect example of a sociopath who amazingly changes colour once he meets ‘the right girl’.
And herein begins the problem that plagues our fair sex. All girls fed on a diet of impossible romance start dreaming of a sociopath they can help change and claim as their very own Darcy. That makes it easier for the predators lounging silently on the fringes of society. They recognise this and understand a woman’s emotions and responses much better than she does herself. They know exactly which string to pull to manipulate her.
These men play upon a woman’s irrepressible romantic instinct and her compulsion to love and mould another human being. So anyone off the beaten track interests and excites women. If he has an artistic streak, all the better, because it suggests greater sensitivity harboured within, awaiting her love to wash him in a new light. He knows this and plays the game well, fascinating her with his dark moods and sudden spurts of heart-melting romance. And so, all bad boys find well-meaning little women, eager to please and hoping to change them.
But goodness, is she in for a huge heartbreak?! Yes, because the sociopath is incapable of loving anyone but himself. He will romance her wildly, get her hooked and then move on to the next victim. The poor girls forget that most of the romantic novels end at the point where the hero unites with the heroine, without talking of the undoubtedly awful marriage the two will have. For, how can a man full of himself, focussed on his own needs and incapable of loving another, be good husband material?
For all those girls out there fed on romantic literature, here are a few tips on how to recognise the predator who feeds on nice girls. You may still get swept off your feet, but at least you’ll have been warned:
- Anyone who is unbelievably good has to be unreal. This may sound cynical, but when have you ever seen a perfect hero walk out of a book or movie and enter your life? The good guys are the real guys, the ones with all their foibles and follies, the ones who forget to wish you on your special day, but are always there to pick up the broken pieces when you most need them.
- Watch out for flowery compliments that ring untrue. While some concession can be made for a heart touched by romance, an overflow of compliments that are unbelievable even to your own ears should be taken with fistfuls of salt.
- He is charming, but just when you are most bemused and starry-eyed, just when you are slipping under the spell, step back and take another hard look at him beyond his hypnotic eyes. Is the charm superficial or genuine?
- Most rakes are pathological liars. If you happen to catch his lie, do not take it lightly. Be alert and watch out for further untruths.
- Most sociopaths have a grandiose sense of themselves. They will exaggerate and try to portray themselves as highly important. This may or may not be to impress you; it is just the way they are.
- Their emotions are pretty shallow and sociopaths rarely have friends.You will be able to figure this out by checking on his relations with relatives and friends.
- They have poor control over their emotions and find it difficult to control their anger or irritation. They also do not respond with emotion to good or bad news.
- A sociopath will not find it easy to apologise. In fact, he will almost never accept his fault, preferring to blame others.Recognise anyone close to you? If you do, put a hand over your heart and run miles away if you wish to avoid a major heartbreak.