“War is deceit,” after all. And the evidence is mounting that a story used to inflame anti-American hatred and justify violence may be an elaborate work of fiction. “Daughter Gadhafi said was dead apparently lives,” by Hadeel al-Shalchi for the Associated Press, August 30:
TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) “” Since the rebel takeover of Tripoli, evidence has been mounting that Moammar Gadhafi may have lied about the death of his adopted baby daughter Hana in a 1986 U.S. airstrike.
The reason why the airstrike happened in the first place often gets left out of the discussion:
The strike hit Gadhafi’s home in his Tripoli compound, Bab al-Aziziya, in retaliation for the Libyan-sponsored bombing of a Berlin nightclub earlier that year that killed two U.S. servicemen. At the time, Gadhafi showed American journalists a picture of a dead baby and said it was his adopted daughter Hana “” the first public mention that she even existed.
Diplomats almost immediately questioned the claim. But Gadhafi kept the story alive through the years.
Then, when investigations into the 1988 Pan Am airliner bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland, pointed to a Libyan hand in the attack, some theorized that Gadhafi had ordered it to avenge Hana’s death in the U.S. airstrike.
But when Libyan rebels took over Tripoli and Bab al-Aziziya last week, they found a room in Gadhafi’s home with Hana’s birth certificate and pictures of a young woman with the name “Hana” written on the back, possible indications that she lived well beyond infancy. A Tripoli hospital official surfaced, saying Hana worked for him as a surgeon up until the rebels came to town.
And on Tuesday, Swiss officials confirmed that Hana’s name had briefly appeared earlier this year on a Swiss government document listing the names of senior Libyan figures targeted for sanctions.
Many Libyans believe Hana was never killed and talked about her existence openly.
Adel Shaltut, a Libyan diplomat at the U.N. in Geneva, said it was common knowledge that Hana Gadhafi wasn’t killed in the airstrike.
“All Libyans knew from the very beginning that it’s a lie,” he told The Associated Press, saying that Hana was married and had children.
However, some in Libya believed that after Hana’s death, Gadhafi adopted another daughter and gave her the same name in a memorial tribute.
Adding to the mystery, two AP photographs from the 1990s show an adolescent girl identified in captions as Gadhafi’s daughter Hana. In one of them from 1999, she is standing next to South African President Nelson Mandela, with his arm around her, during a family visit to Cape Town. Gadhafi’s only biological daughter, Aisha, stands on Mandela’s other side and Gadhafi’s wife Safiya is next to the girl identified as Hana.
In another AP photo from 1996, Gadhafi is seen wiping the face of a girl identified in the caption as his daughter Hana Gadhafi.
Despite these sightings of Hana, in 2006 Gadhafi organized an event called the “Hana Festival for Freedom and Peace” to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. Performers reportedly included Lionel Richie and Spanish tenor Jose Carreras.
Party, karamu, fiesta… is over.
Last week, after rebels stormed the Bab al-Aziziya compound where Gadhafi and family members lived, journalists saw a room in his home filled with stuffed animals, photos of a young woman with the name “Hana” written on the back in Arabic and a birth certificate of “Hana Gadhafi.”
Rebels touring the room told reporters that everyone in Libya knew that the daughter who the world thought was dead was, in fact, alive….