Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Behind the Images: Gaddafi is Dead

with 15 comments

Ironically for a man who had claimed that the revolutionaries trying to topple him were rats and cockroaches, Moammur el-Gaddafi took his final refuge in a drainpipe. A French Mirage jet which had attacked and scattered the convoy in which he was trying to flee was responsible for the dictator taking such an ignominious abode, but it was in the hands of the angry mob of fighters who recorded his last moments on video that Colonel Gaddafi met his bloody end.

Desmazes' Screenshot

A variant of lead photograph, featured in many of today’s newspapers will bear the name of  Philippe Desmazes, an Agence France-Presse photographer. He was the only photographer in the area, when a rebel fighter pointed to where the deposed Libyan dictator had been captured, and another showed him mobile phone footage of a body, the one first broadcast by Al-Jazeera (below). “Are you sure it’s Gaddafi?” asked Mr. Desmazes, who subsequently made a grab from the footage and wired it.

In the coming days and weeks, there will no doubt be questions about who took the original footage, and whether we should credit photos to Mr. Desmazes only. The Times credited the photos to Mr. Desmazes and published them with an apologetic note: “It is an image of a man dead, or close to death, so harrowing that The Times would not normally publish it. But it records an historic moment — the end of the era of Muammar Gaddafi.”

The transitional Libyan government claims that Gaddafi was caught in crossfire, although the footage showed the badly injured, but undoubtedly conscious, former dictator being bundled on to the bonnet of a pick-up truck, his shirt being stripped from his torso and his body being dragged along the ground.

The photos of his body taken later, after it was driven to the neighboring city of Misrata, appeared to show bullet wounds to his head. The government maintains that the medical examiner could not say whether the bullet came from the revolutionary forces and the Gaddafi loyalists, but multiple sources claim that a New-York-Yankees-cap wearing twenty-year-old was responsible for Gaddafi’s demise. Mohammed El-Bibi later appeared brandishing Gadhafi’s gold 9mm gun in celebration, and told the BBC that he was the one who had found and captured Gadhafi and, as the dictator lie wounded, that he had snatched Gadhafi’s prized gun from him.

Later, fighters in Misurata surrounded the corpse, flashing the victory sign; Kareem Fahim’s photo for the New York Times (ab0ve) is eerily reminiscent of Che Guevera’s exit half-a-century earlier, but we can perhaps take solace in the fact that when the dust settles and the mystery surrounding his death clears, no one will be making a martyr out of Moammur el-Gaddafi.

Thaier Al-Sudani / Reuters


Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

October 21, 2011 at 1:49 pm

Posted in Obituary, Politics, War

Tagged with ,

15 Responses

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  1. Guevara e Gadaffi não podiam esperar outra coisa. Presos, o que haveria de sequestros e atentados pelo mundo afora para recuperá-los (um só soldado israelense valeu mais de 400 palestinos) elevaria a tensão universal a níveis nunca vistos. Temos, assim, uma lição de que, na guerra, não há virgens. Vale o objetivo, Londes, Desden, Hiroshima, Nagasaki na WWII e as operações secretas de todos os países do mundo, sempre e em qualquer circunstância. Moralmente, nunca saímos da pré-história. Nem vai ser agora!!!


    October 21, 2011 at 2:17 pm

    • Speak English.


      October 21, 2011 at 3:38 pm

      • Use google translate…


        October 21, 2011 at 5:20 pm

      • Robert: learn a language…..


        October 22, 2011 at 8:56 am

      • If he spoke, you wouldn’t hear. Maybe you meant “write”?


        October 24, 2011 at 11:04 am

  2. Great pictures and review of what happened. Your posts are often more informative than the news.

    When seeing such images, my initial reaction is to feel empathy for Gaddafi, yet once I am reminded of his horrendous crimes, my empathy quickly dissipates.

    Michael Silver

    October 21, 2011 at 2:19 pm

  3. A picture of the person being dead and being surrounded by people is the only link between Gadaffi and Guevara… It is not enough to compare these events and missleading. I also think it is wrong to connect these events just because of a picture. You need more content for that, not just surface or aesthetic. I didn’t have that connection before you made it.


    October 21, 2011 at 2:55 pm

    • They both were captured when wounded and summarily executed.

      Oh, and believe or not, Gaddafi


      October 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm

  4. Believe or not, Gaddafi has fans abroad, in particular in Serbia and Russia. Check out for example http://english.pravda.ru/opinion/columnists/ and http://www.facebook.com/pages/We-are-Al-Gaddafis-lovers/186797728030330 – and of course the folks like Chavez: http://www.nationalturk.com/en/hugo-chavez-gaddafi-is-a-martyr-14517


    October 21, 2011 at 3:36 pm

  5. And Europe shouts Gaddafi goodbye, hello oil!


    October 24, 2011 at 1:01 pm

  6. Trading graphic images , shows down grading of our values. I personally disliked him for what he did but strongly feel that he should have been tried in an international court.


    October 24, 2011 at 6:50 pm

  7. Bad president see how you just fall your self down.but why the kill him.he should put in prison


    October 30, 2011 at 12:41 am

  8. Muslim foto is a Muslim related website where you can find collections of beautiful images . In Muslim foto website, you can find beautiful Quran quotes, Hadith and other religious things also.
    So, if you are looking for website where you can learn something, Muslim foto is the good website for you.


    November 18, 2011 at 7:58 am

  9. This is very creative use of flavors with the green tea cupcake and black sesame in the frosting. They look amazing! Kobe V Nike Black Purple Basketball Shoes


    November 21, 2011 at 6:43 am

  10. […] times lie ahead for minority Christians and Muslims alike as a full uprising beckons. In Libya, if Gaddafi’s fall was somewhat cathartic, last week’s clashes proved that his malignant legacy is still unfortunately […]

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