Muammar al-Qaddafi and the Shades of Tyranny


| May-June 2009


It used to be that you could tell a despot by the audacity of his eyewear. Think Robert Mugabe with lenses like framed fists or Kim Jong Il with garish wraparound shades recalling a young Elton John. Bidoun (Summer 2008) observes “a wavering on the bridges of tyrants’ noses. Mugabe has moved toward more modest wire frames, and Kim has been photographed without any glasses at all.” Nowadays, notes the Middle East arts and culture journal, “innovations in totalitarian eyewear perch solely on the beak of Muammar al-Qaddafi.” On Tripoli’s billboards he wears “boxy frames with octagonal lenses, rounded frames with teardrop lenses, mirrored metal, or colored plastic.” For Libya’s enigmatic leader, forever alternating between friend and enemy of the West, “his sunglasses conceal nothing. They reveal him. His capricious nature is reflected in the ever-changing fashions of his face.”






Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!




Facebook Instagram Twitter flipboard


Copyright 2018, All Rights Reserved
Ogden Publications, Inc., 1503 SW 42nd St., Topeka, Kansas 66609-1265