On the night of February 21, 2011, while his country was in the midst of political upheaval, Saif Gadhafi, son of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, delivered a speech to the Libyan people. The Libyan regime would stand firm, he declared. “We will fight to the last minute, until the last bullet”. Three years earlier, the same man had submitted a doctoral thesis to the London School of Economics. In it, he eloquently defended democracy, collective decision-making and civil society.

It simply doesn’t add up.

Professor David Held, Gadhafi’s informal academic advisor at the LSE, describes Gadhafi’s situation as the stuff of Shakespeare –a young man torn between loyalties to his father and to his democratic ideals. 

Faced with such a dilemma, Saif Gadhafi might have triumphed, becoming the courageous hero. Tragically, he did not. Indeed, it is the stuff of Shakespeare. Except that the dead in Tripoli will not rise at the end of the scene.