Yeah… They got “Birthers” in Libya too!
What if the biggest mystery surrounding Col. Moammar Gadhafi had nothing to do with his long, brutal reign as the world’s most eccentric and violent leader turned pariah?
And what if a long-lost letter from a Catholic cardinal who knew Gadhafi’s true identity was evidence that could have solved the mystery?
To many Libyan people, the biggest question mark about Gadhafi does not involve his repressive and dictatorial rule, delusional statements or brazen lies. Behind closed doors, for years, they’ve wondered if he is Jewish. Last week the issue came out in the open, asNBC’s Richard Engel reported from Libya that one in five rebels was fighting Gadhafi because he believes the leader is Jewish.
Conflicting reports surrounding Gadhafi’s birth have circulated since about 1970, two years after a Gadhafi-led coup made him the de facto leader of Libya.
In a handful of biographies from years ago, mostly written by Europeans, Gadhafi is almost always described as being born in a tent in Sirt, the son of a poor, illiterate Bedouin sheepherder and his wife.
But the hushed-up rumors in Libya about Gadhafi’s parentage involved his mother being Jewish. The stories have conflicted over the years, and the narratives are different. One had her converting to Judaism at age 9. In another, Gadhafi’s grandmother is Jewish but leaves her husband for an Arab sheik.
A more specific claim, backed up by a Libyan historian, is that Gadhafi was born out of wedlock to a Jewish woman and an Italian soldier in a village east of Tripoli. Because of the shame surrounding the birth, the baby was given to a Catholic cardinal who in turn gave the child to the sheepherder and his wife.