In the wake of the unrest/civil war/revolution in Libya, a lot of media attention has been paid to the eccentricities of their four-decade long leader and tyrant, Moammar Gadhafi. He’s been garnering twitter hits for his wacky ways, his bizarre quotes, and of course, his inhumane ability to fire on his own citizens.
Adding to the long list of Gadhafi’s strange proclivities is his choice of personal protection: an all-female, lipsticked legion of virgins who accompany the leader as his personal bodyguards.
His bodyguards undergo a three-year training program at the Tripoli Women’s Academy, which Gadhafi opened in 1979. When asked why he decided to compose an elite force of trained women bodyguards, Gadhafi cites his mother as inspiration. The Libyan leader claims his mother was a top archer in her Bedouin tribe. “I promised my mother to improve the situation of women in Libya," Gadhafi states.
At the Tripoli Academy, the women are trained in all aspects of soldiering; from “firing fringe artillery and rocket launches to hand to hand combat and communications.” The top graduates devote their lives to the ideas of Gadhafi’s 1969 revolution and pledge themselves to the protection of their leader. They’re known as “Revolutionary Nuns.” The Nuns are banned from sex and marriage and are sworn to protect their leader until death.
Gadhafi’s bodyguards have been put to the test more than once. In 1998, Gadhafi’s motorcade was ambushed. A bodyguard named Aisha threw herself on top of Gadhafi to protect him from the Islamic militants. Aisha was killed in a barrage of bullets and two other female bodyguards were injured, but Gadhafi escaped unharmed.
When asked why she chose the royal service as a career, Revolutionary Nun Faita told Jane Kowan of the Vancouver Sun, "Without the leader, women in Libya would be nothing," she replied. "He gave us life. I am ready to die for him. He is a father, a brother and a friend to whom you can confide. You have no idea how humble he is."
It’s believed that Gadhafi is hiding somewhere in the vicinity of Tripoli. In an interview with ABCnews, US Secrety of State, Hilary Rodham Clinton, remarked that Gadhafi may be seeking an exit strategy and that some senior Libyan officials have put the word out to Gadhafi’s friends and allies for possible exile locations. However, French and German airplanes recently destroyed an airfield thought to house Gadhafi’s private jets. It remains to be seen whether Gadhafi will be able to escape Libya.
Photos courtesy of zimbio.