Col. Moammar Gadhafi, the dictator who ruled Libya for 42 years, was killed by rebels in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday. A dictator who oppressed his own people and sponsored terrorism abroad, Gadhafi’s legacy will be stained by violence. But beyond his brutality, Gadhafi will be remembered for something else entirely… being a first-class weirdo.
In no particular order, ABCNews.com brings you the seven weirdest things about Moammar Gadhafi.
1. The “Bulletproof” Tent: When Gadhafi was at home in Tripoli, he lived in a well fortified compound with a complex system of escape tunnels. But when he travelled abroad, this “Bedouin” brought a bit of the desert with him, camping out in the world’s capitals. The tent was so heavy it needed to be flown on a separate plane, wherever the dictator travelled. To complete the Arabian Nights theme, Gadhafi often would tether a camel or two outside.
2. All-Female Virgin Bodyguard Retinue: They apparently weren’t around when Gadhafi needed them most on Thursday, but the eccentric dictator was historically protected by 40 well trained bodyguards – all of them women. The bodyguards, called “Amazons,” were all reportedly virgins who took a vow of chastity upon joining the dictator’s retinue. The women, trained at an all-female military academy, were handpicked by Gadhafi. They wore elaborate uniforms, as well as makeup and high-heeled combat boots.
3. His “Voluptuous” Ukrainian Nurse: For a decade, Galyna Kolotnytska, a Ukrainian nurse often described in the press as “voluptuous,” was regularly seen at the dictator’s side. Kolotnytska was described in a leaked diplomatic cable as one of Gadhafi’s closest aides and was rumored to have a romantic relationship with him. Several other Ukrainian women served as nurses and they all referred to him as “Papa” or “Daddy.”
4. Crush on Condoleezza Rice: In 2007, Gadhafi called former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice his “darling black African woman” and on a 2008 visit she made to Tripoli, the dictator gave her $200,000 worth of gifts, including a ring and a lute. But it wasn’t until rebels stormed his Tripoli compound that the depths of the dictator’s infatuation were exposed. There among Gadhafi’s belongings was a carefully composed photo album made up of dozens of images of no one but Rice.
5. Fear of Flying and Elevators: Part of the reason Gadhafi loved travelling with that tent of his was because he was worried about lodging in a hotel where he’d have to ride an elevator. According to leaked diplomatic cables, the Libyan didn’t like heights much either, and would only climb to a height of 35 steps. He therefore wasn’t much of a fan of flying, refusing to travel by air for more than eight hours at a time. When he would travel to New York of the U.N.’s annual general assembly, he would spend a night in Portugal on the way to the U.S.
6. Bunga Bunga: In 2010, one of Gadhafi’s most eccentric pastimes was exposed by Italian prosecutors investigating Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. A 17-year-old prostitute named Karima el-Mahroug, better known as Ruby Heartstealer, revealed that she had been invited to an orgy, called a “bunga bunga.” “Silvio told me that he’d copied that formula from Muammar Gadhafi,” she told prosecutors according to La Repubblica. “It’s a ritual of [Gadhafi’s] African harem.”
7. An Eclectic Wardrobe: In those photos of world leaders standing shoulder to shoulder on the sidelines of this or that international forum, Gadhafi was always the easiest to pick out. His wardrobe was an eclectic mix of ornate military uniforms, Miami Vice style leisure suits, and Bedouin robes. Gadhafi, who pushed for a pan-African federation of nations, often decorated his outfits with images of the African continent. He’d sport safari shirts printed with an Africa pattern, or wear garish pins or necklaces of the continent.