The former Libyan dictator Colonel Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi, now reported to be dead (see video) gave news editors a lifetime of nightmares with the stubbornly variable spellings of his last name. Variously spelled Qaddafi, Ghadafi, Gadafy and Kadafi, the confusion has not been cleared by the fact that his official website (link broken) spells it "Al Gathafi".
But don't let such trifles stop you from being a Gaddafi expert. Here are ten cool facts about the late dictator. Flaunt them at will and power your way through a water-cooler conversation.
Too bad we can't promise you a free return ticket to Tripoli — they aren't exactly in the mood to receive guests there right now.
1. The dictator took his last name from Qadhadhfa, the name of his tribe that hails from the Sirte region in northwestern Libya. Sirte was also where he was captured and allegedly killed on October 20, 2011.
2. Though Colonel is often prefixed to his name, Gaddafi was only a Lieutenant when he wrested power in 1969 after overthrowing the Libyan monarchy in a bloodless coup.
3. Gaddafi announced in 2009 that he travels by the world's safest car. The "Libyan Rocket" was designed to resemble one in shape from front to tail. It was powered by a V6 engine that delivers a maximum power of 230 bhp.
4. Though most of the avowedly democratic world sees him as a dictator, his official title was "Brother Leader and Guide of the Revolution". He also referred to himself as "King of Kings".
5. Now, this is interesting. During Gaddafi's 40-year rule, Libya had some of the best health indicators and the highest GDP per capita, Education Index and Human Development Index in Africa.
6. Gaddafi was a big protagonist in the campaign for a "United States of Africa". The idea, mooted as recently as 2009 at the African Union summit, might die a silent death with the fall of its charismatic ideologue.
7. Gaddafi irked Britain when he supplied arms to the Irish Republican Army, which has been engaged in a protracted ethnic conflict with Britain over the territory of Northern Ireland and is a declared terrorist organization in the United Kingdom. He also defended Libyan nationals involved in the 1988 bombing of a Pan Am airliner over Lockerbie in southern Scotland, a move that invited sanctions against Libya from Western nations until he apologized in 1994. Reports that surfaced in 2011 indicate that Gaddafi had personally ordered the bombing.
8. Wikileaks reported that Gaddafi was uncomfortable with flying over waters. He did not fly in airplanes for longer than eight hours.
9. It has been claimed that Gaddafi was protected by the "Amazonian Guard", a personal posse of 40 virgin bodyguards. Though little trace of them has been found after the uprising in Libya, it has been alleged that some of the women were sexually abused by the dictator and his associates.
10. Believe it or not, there is an Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights.