No tent for you! New Yorkers tell Qaddafi.

Qaddafi is a Bedouin. But everywhere he tries to set up his tent for his visit to the UN, residents of the greater New York area say, 'fugetaboutit!'

Evan Schneider/ UN Photo/ Reuters
Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi stands near a railing during a visit to the United Nations headquarters in New York on Tuesday. Qaddafi was having a tent pitched on suburban New York property owned by Donald Trump until local officials stopped the work because it violated regulations.

Not in my backyard.

That's the message a handful of New York-area communities gave to Libyan President Muammar Qaddafi in response to his search for a place to pitch his Bedouin tent while in the United States.

President Qaddafi is here to speak at the United Nations General Assembly Wednesday – his first visit to the US and the UN in his 40-year presidency.

Why a tent?

When traveling internationally, Qaddafi prefers to stay in his traditional Bedouin-style tent, supposedly to honor his roots. He has previously set up camp in Italy and France.

According to National Geographic:

"The Bedouin, considered to be among the first Arab groups, are seen as Arab culture's purest representatives, although they now make up less than 10 percent of the modern Arab population.

"Living in Libya, Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Israel, Iraq, and throughout the Arabian Peninsula, Bedouin are distinct from other Arabs because of their nomadic, pastoral lifestyle and their more extensive kinship networks, which provide them with community support and the basic necessities for survival. Such networks have traditionally served to ensure the safety of families and to protect their property.

"Nevertheless, the Bedouin continue to be hailed by other Arabs as "ideal" Arabs, especially because of their rich oral poetic tradition, their herding lifestyle, and their traditional code of honor."

The quest for a campsite

Qaddafi first wanted to pitch his tent in New York's Central Park. After that was vetoed, he tried for the town of Englewood, N.J.

Qaddafi was also denied a pricey Upper East Side apartment rental, according to a real estate agent approached by Libyan officials.

Finally workers began pitching the tent on land owned by Donald Trump in Bedford, N.Y., which the Libyan rented through intermediaries.

The media began following the tent's construction from the air – that is, until construction was shut down after it was deemed an illegal temporary structure.

The end result was no tent and no love for Qaddafi. He spent Tues. night at the Libyan mission in Manhattan.

A cool reception

The response to Qaddafi and his famous tent is representative of the generally chilly welcome the Libyan dictator has received since arriving in the US.

Families of victims of Pan Am flight 103 have been especially vocal against Qaddafi after the hero's welcome he organized for Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, the Libyan agent convicted of the 1988 bombing of the Pan Am flight released from Scottish prison last month because of failing health.

Iranian Americans and students have also joined with the families to protest Qaddafi during his Wednesday morning speech at the UN.

In a wandering address to the General Assembly that touched on topics from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy to the Iraq war, Qaddafi criticized the UN Security Council, arguing that it had not provided security, but "terror and sanctions."

"Veto power should be annulled," Qaddafi said.


Gaddafi? Kaddafi? Qadhafi? How do you spell it?

Other variations include "Gadhafi," "Al-Gathafi," and "Kadafi," creating a mess for news organizations. Click here to read about it.


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