Urbanity in a Navy Blazer: The Case of Saif Al-Islam

October 1, 2011

Saif Al-Islam Al-Qaddafi

The BBC calls him “stylish.” As the regime’s face to the West, he spent much of his time hob-nobbing with the British royal family and the international jet set.

This calls to mind Tayyib Salih’s brilliant novel, Season of Migration to the North, which tells the story of a Sudanese mathematician who moves to London. His professional colleagues never really accept him, despite giving him awards and inviting him to glamorous parties.

When Saif al-Islam’s role in the crackdown against protesters was reported, LSE director Howard Davies resigned from his post after facing criticism for accepting donations from the charitable foundation led by the son of the Libyan leader.

The university is also investigating the authenticity of Saif al-Islam’s PhD thesis, amid reports it was plagiarized.

I will leave you with a list of maxims:

Clothes don’t make the man.

Costume makes the king.

The emperor has no clothes.

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