January 20, 2003

A few days ago I presented some choice excerpts from a supposedly semi-fictional Iraqi-based SWM looking for a little love. Well, Marc Weisblott was kind enough to point out that perhaps Mattvadervonian wasn't actually making stuff up, but simply taking dating lessons from his neighbor and noted Hunka-Hunka Burnin' Love Muammar el-Qaddafi!
(We pick up the story as Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, accompanied by 40 Italian journalists, has landed in Libya for a one-day visit.)

As Berlusconi was whisked off to Qaddafi's headquarters in Bab el-Azziziya, the attendant journalists followed aboard a government-supplied bus. [...] Once admitted to the inner compound, the journalists were led across the grounds to the three-story ruins of Qaddafi's old home. Across its shattered facade, floodlights illuminated an enormous banner touting something called the Miss Net World beauty contest, with its hopeful slogan: ''Beauty Will Save the World.'' [...] Rather than being off somewhere hammering out a deal with Berlusconi, Qaddafi had apparently spent much of the evening chatting with the beauty contestants in his Bedouin tent.

''It was really great,'' exclaimed Tecca Zendik, a statuesque 19-year-old from Southern California who represented the United States in the pageant. ''He was very nice and really humble. They had put out this special chair for him, but instead he sat in this ordinary plastic chair like everyone else.'' ''And the tent was really amazing,'' added Miss United Kingdom, Lucy Layton. ''It had these beautiful carpets and these silk tapestries on the walls. It was like something out of 'Arabian Nights.'''

It appeared there had also been a bit of drama in the tent. When Qaddafi began a critique of American policy toward his country, including the 1986 air attack that killed his infant daughter, Tecca grew emotional and began to cry. Taking notice, Qaddafi moved her to the seat beside him and comfortingly patted her hand as he continued his talk. ''He wants me to come back again tomorrow night,'' Tecca said, looking as if she might start crying again. ''I mean, this is all kind of overwhelming. I've never been out of the States before, and here I am meeting Qaddafi.''
Surprising, Tecca didn't win that pageant; the crown went to the aforementioned Lucy Layton. And while many girls might be disappointed that they didn't take home the coveted Miss Net World crown, Qadaffi made sure to cement the budding Tecca relationship with a few special gifts: a watch featuring his face surrounded by diamonds and Libyan citizenship plus a position as Honorary Consul to the United States. Sure makes your chocolates and dozen roses look like a pile of crap, don't it?
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