Good Reads: Qaddafi loyalist town fights back, Guantánamo detainees, and Chinese villagers who don't officially exist
After a weekend dominated by Sept. 11 remembrances, today's papers look at the rest of the world's goings on, with fighting in one of Qaddafi's last holdouts, former Guantánamo detainees adjusting to life in Afghanistan, and a look into how China's central planning leaves many villagers behind.
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But here are some stories that show why reporters get paid the big bucks, helping readers see what else is happening in the world.
In Libya, another son of former strongman leader Muammar Qaddafi has shown up in Niger, as the men we used to refer to as “rebels” start their assault on one of the last holdouts of Mr. Qaddafi’s loyalists. Is Qaddafi himself holed up in Bani Walid, or is he in his hometown of Sirte? The Monitor’s Scott Peterson reports on the fighting outside of Bani Walid, where loyalists are offering up tough resistance.
Back in Tripoli, the Los Angeles Times’s Patrick J. McDonnell meets up with a key member of Qaddafi’s former inner circle and pieces together the puzzle of how the regime made decisions in the last few days of its tenure. Why didn’t the Qaddafi family negotiate with the opposition?
The answer, as Mr. McDonnell sums up nicely at the top of his piece, is “Kadafi's stubbornness, his apparent failure to recognize the imminent peril and the desire of his son, Seif Islam, to inherit his father's position.” This, at least, is the version of truth according to ex-Deputy Foreign Minister Khaled Kaim, recently captured in hiding at a relative’s house and now being held at a rebel military camp.
Stories like this one can be golden, providing a window into the hidden world of a despot. But there are perils in basing a story on the perspective of a single individual, and particularly one who may have self-preservation motives. McDonnell makes all this clear in his story, and he notes that the interview “was monitored on and off by rebel commanders with limited English.” McConnell also includes the warnings of rebel leaders, one of whom says, "He should be arrested; he incited hatred.”
In the Washington Post, we find a useful reminder that it wasn’t only Americans who suffered during the past 10 years of war that followed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Among the most obvious are the people of Afghanistan, including those arrested and detained at Guantánamo Bay Naval Base without trial, and recently released without judgment or apology by US forces.