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Party at Qaddafi's Place
From Reuters, via Yahoo! News: "Lionel Richie electrifies Libyans"
TRIPOLI (Reuters) - With Muammar Gaddafi's home as a backdrop, U.S. singer Lionel Richie jived and rocked for an adoring Libyan audience on Saturday in a concert to mark the 20th anniversary of a U.S. raid on the North African country.
... Organizers said the music provided a deliberately upbeat commemoration of the 1986 raid, an event that marked one of the lowest points in the decades Libya spent being seen as an outlaw state that supported terrorism.
Just being seen?
U.S. forces bombed Tripoli and Benghazi in the early hours of April 15, 1986. Then President Ronald Reagan said it was in retaliation for what he called Libyan complicity in the bombing of a discotheque in Berlin a month earlier in which three people, including a U.S. serviceman, were killed.
"I stand in front of this silent house where 20 years ago my childhood was torn and my toys were destroyed," said Gaddafi's daughter Aisha, who was about 10 at the time of the attack.
"Twenty years ago on this day I awoke to the sound of bombs and rockets and the cries of my brothers ... But today we try to heal our wounds and shake hands with those who are here with us tonight. Yes for peace, no for destruction," she said.
I don't know what Libya hoped to accomplish, other than creating an opportunity to play the victim, and bandy about platitudes about "peace" without acknowledging responsibility or remorse for the acts that made it a pariah state in the first place.
I also haven't had any luck uncovering any information on why Richie was there in the first place; neither his website, which is current as of 2004, nor Wikipedia, shed any light on his possible political leanings. The one common thread that runs through this surreal display is the presence at the commemoration of the 1986 retaliatory bombing by the US, of a US artist who hasn't been widely popular since that same year. In Qaddafi's mind, I'm sure it all makes perfect sense.