News / Africa

Rare Gadhafi Footage Shows Libyan Dictator's Softer Side

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Carla Babb

Much of the world has seen the strong, loud and defiant side of the ousted Libyan leader.


But there is another side, too. A family man with his granddaughter, recorded on home video found in Tripoli.

This earlier happiness is in stark contrast to the angry autocrat still fighting to stay in power despite an international reputation that scholar Daniel Serwer says has gone from bad to worse. "He had a moment of recovery there when he gave up the nuclear technology, the weapons of mass destruction, but this finale is going to wreck any legacy he might have left," Serwer said.

Gadhafi is a man with few cares in one video. He asks his granddaughter how she feels about him. She gladly approves.

Jerrold Post, director of the political psychology program at George Washington University, says Gadhafi is a complex individual who sees defiance as boldness. "He slides into this posture that's been part of his psychology from the earliest days: the lonely Arab leader standing up bravely against a superior force," Post said.

In one video he promises his grandchildren he will protect them from their ghosts.

For years, Gadhafi never shied from the spotlight, but he has not been seen for weeks.  Libya's provisional leaders are hunting for him even as they try to negotiate a peaceful surrender of his last remaining strongholds.

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