TRIPOLI (Reuters) - Muammar Gaddafi’s playful side is on display in a family video that came to light on Wednesday, but his questions to the young granddaughter tweaking his nose revealed a streak of paranoia.
“Do you not love me?” the former “Brother Leader” repeatedly asks the girl, who wriggles away from him as he sits down next to her in one of the trademark tents in his Tripoli compound and strokes her hair.
“No” she says firmly in the video, believed to have been shot in 2005 and obtained by Reuters from a source in Tripoli, where the Bab al-Aziziya compound was ransacked late last month as rebels overran the capital.
“Then do you hate me? Am I not good? Am I not sweet?” says Gaddafi, dressed in a white track suit top with his long curly hair awry. “No,” she replies, pointing towards the camera when he insists she tells him who it is that is sweet.
The girl then puts her hand over his mouth and tweaks his nose and forehead, giggling as he babbles through her hand.
After repeated prompting, she gives him a thumbs up and he asks who told her to, reminding her that last time he had asked it had been a thumbs down.
The backdrop is strikingly informal, with none of luxury goods that littered the swanky private seaside compound of Saadi Gaddafi, who shot the video of his daughter and father together.
Plastic sheeting covers the floor, Gaddafi sits on a divan covered in quilts on which the girl’s young brother lies sleeping. Three men loll by the entrance on office chairs, although one stands up as Gaddafi enters.
A tray on a low table in front of him is full of screw-top jars and bottles. Camels graze outside and the camera homes in on a brazier burning for a barbecue.
Saadi Gaddafi, a former professional footballer, told CNN on Monday he was a “little bit outside” the desert town of Bani Walid, one of the last remaining strongholds of Gaddafi supporters now besieged by his opponents, and was trying to bring peace despite “aggressive” talk from his brother Saif.
He said he had not seen his father for two months. The man leading the hunt for the former leader said he was last tracked heading for Libya’s southern border.
After 42 years of rule, Gaddafi left a trail of corpses and torture chambers in his wake.
In another film with the same grandchildren, Gaddafi lies on a sofa while they climb around him. “It is the ghost, we will kill it,” he says, asking his wife to bring him a pistol to shoot an imaginary figure.
“I am a ghost,” says his granddaughter to which Gaddafi replies: “We will kill you if you are the ghost.”
Writing by Philippa Fletcher; edting by Rosalind Russell