In 1986, Muammar Qaddafi claimed that his baby daughter had died in the U.S. bombing of his compound. Now that rebels and journalists have been prowling the Tripoli headquarters abandoned by the dictator, they have pretty persuasive proof that he was lying.
Hana Qaddafi was six months old at the time of the bombing of Bab al-Azizya, a retaliation for the bombing of a Berlin nightclub. Qaddafi showed a U.S. journalist the body of a baby and said it was his adopted daughter. Her death became a symbol of U.S. aggression, and twenty years later the regime held a twentieth anniversary commemoration of it, calling it the "Hana Festival of Freedom and Peace."
But when Irish Times reporter Mary Fitzgerald entered the compound recently, however, she found credible documents and photographs indicating that Hana was alive and had been working as a physician before the Qaddafis fled the rebel incursion. A German newspaper had also reported that Hana's name was on the list of a Swiss document freezing the clan's assets.
Yesterday in the terracotta-coloured section of Bab al-Azizia where the Gadafy family lived, I came across a room which seemed to be part-study, part-lounge. Its contents – including a Sex and the City DVD box set; CDs of the Backstreet Boys ; cellulite treatments; WellWoman vitamin supplements and stuffed toys –- hinted that it belonged to a young woman.
On the other hand, we know Qaddafi was, in addition to being a murderous dictator, a man of rather diverse tastes.