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If you want to get a different perspective on my journey, try this blog from Zac. A friend I'm travelling with. zacstravelcolours.wordpress.com

Monday, 22 August 2011

Gaddafi Dead. But which one?

Today twitter brought us a classic tale, full of drama conflict and hope. It had everything, drama, conflict, cliff hangers and one big ol’ red herring. I’m going to tell it as every good story should be told, with a series of screen captures from twitter. No need to thank me for the tip James Cameron.

For those of you reading this (i.e. no one) who don’t use twitter (even more likely to be no one) I’ll fill you in on the details. In the early hours of this morning Libya’s rebel forces stormed the capital, Tripoli, and seized control. Or as it was so eloquently put by author and activist Reza Aslan:

As you can imagine, news of the conflict, and indeed the build up to the conflict, spread across twitter like wildfire (feel free to substitute for any other metaphors you may feel are appropriate. Maybe something like set the twitterverse ablaze?) The graphs below from hashtags.org show the massive spike in tweets surrounding the terms 'Libya' and 'Gaddafi' as the action began to heat up.

The tension was palpable, you could almost feel the rival news agencies straining at the bit to be the first to break the news of Muammar Gaddafi’s capture or death. If it was followed shortly after by a news conference from President Obama (a la the death of Osama) then all the better.

Unfortunately the Libyan tyrant hadn’t read the script. At this stage the world still doesn’t know what happened to him or where, if anywhere he escaped to, but of course there are rumours.

One thing we do know for sure, Muammar Gaddafi was not detained in the early hours of this morning as was suggested by this tweet.

Reuters, supposedly one of the world’s premier and most respected news agencies was forced to tweet a retraction shortly after as it became clear the source was referring to Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-islam Gaddafi.

UPDATE: It turns out word of Saif Gaddafi's capture may have been a lie spread by the rebels in order to encourage more Regime supporters to defect. Awkward. Here's a tweet from @mchancecnn regarding this. Take it with a grain of salt as there's every possibility his account may have been hacked. Especially given the slightly perilous situation he and the other journos at the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli are in. 

Throughout the day, rumours have continued to fly, some very likely true but others based in what can only be described as fact in the same way Wikipedia can be. in the end I think Chas Licciardello summed up twitter's reaction to today's events better than anyone.

Oh and here's a little something to explain my (some would argue highly annoying) overuse of brackets.

1 comment:

  1. I totally saw the Reuters twitter posts! Told my dad gaddafi had been detained.. then had to correct myself and sound like a tool.