Friday, August 5, 2011
Gaddafi's daughter Hana, son Kham not killed
After American planes bombed Tripoli on April 14, 1986, the Libyan Ministry of Information declared that an adopted daughter of Muammar Gaddafi, Hana, less than a year old, had died in the attack. The news was announced on Libyan radio, TV and print media.
Up until then, no one had heard of the existence of the child -- Aisha, who was born in 1977, was thought to be Gaddafis’ only daughter.
The story of the adopted child killed by the Americans has persisted, although some doubted from the outset that Hana really existed and, if she did, that she died. An American journalist at the time was shown the body of a baby girl -- but was she a Gaddafi daughter or a victim being passed off as such for propaganda reasons?
Whatever the truth, the Libyan state propaganda machine kept milking the story, and on the 20th anniversary of the attack, organized the “Hana Festival of Freedom and Peace.”
Then in February 2011, Welt am Sonntag, the Sunday Edition of Die Welt, obtained a copy of a document related to the case that came to light in Switzerland after fighting broke out in Libya, and the Swiss government ordered Gaddafi assets in Switzerland frozen. The document lists 23 members of the Gaddafi clan. Seventh on the list: Hana Gaddafi. An official government spokesperson in Bern told “Welt am Sonntag”: “There are reasons why the name is on the list, which we are not revealing publicly.” Hana Gaddafi’s date of birth is listed as Nov. 11, 1985. At the time of the U.S. bombing, she would have been six months old.
There were some previous clues in the case. On June 6, 1999, the Chinese Xinhua news agency reported that “Gaddafi’s wife, Safia Farkash al-Barassi, and Gaddafi daughters Aisha and Hana” had had lunch with then-South African President Nelson Mandela. Indeed, photographs show a young girl with Mrs. Gaddafi and Aisha.
In recent information received by "Welt am Sonntag," sources say Hana Gaddafi is alive, has spent considerable time in London as a teenger, and speaks good English. Contacted by “Welt am Sonntag,” the British Foreign Office said it would not release information about Gaddafi’s family, and the MI5 intelligence agency would neither confirm nor deny Hana Gaddafi’s existence.
In Libya, it’s an open secret that a Hana Gaddafi studied medicine in Tripoli. The young woman was apparently protected by bodyguards. “When I asked who she was, I was told she was Hana Gaddafi, Gaddafi’s adopted daughter who was supposedly killed in 1986,” says an anonymous Internet commentator who claimed to have studied medicine at the university at the same time.
Libyan sources say Hana Gaddafi became a doctor, that she still lives in Libya, and holds an important position in the Libyan Ministry of Health. Diplomatic circles in Tripoli have known about Hana Gaddafi‘s existence for several years.
Theories continue to swirl around the story. However, recent developments in Libya indicate that Colonel Gaddafi doesn’t shy away from using the supposed death of family members at the hands of Western aggressors to win sympathy from his people.
In May, after a NATO bombing raid, the Ministry of Information announced the death of a son, Saif al-Arab, 29, and three of the dictator’s grandchildren. A funeral took place several days after the attack, and the regime announced that an independent French doctor had confirmed the identity of the dead man.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi expressed doubt about the death of Gaddafi’s son on Italian TV. Information gathered by the secret service pointed to his not having been in Libya at the time of the attack. "Even the case of the three grandchildren appears to be unfounded," Berlusconi said.
The Hana Gadhafi Saga
September 15, 2011 12:45 PM EDT
Moammar Gadhafi's adopted daughter Hana Gadhafi has been one of the great mysteries of the former-Libyan leader's regime.
Gadhafi told the world that his four-year-old girl died during the Regan-era bombing raids on Libya in 1986. After the air-strikes, he showed the body of a young girl to an American journalist and even built a shrine to his lost daughter inside his Tripoli compound.
Yet, Gadhafi had never mentioned Hana publicly before the bombing, leading many to insinuate that either her death, or her existence, was a fabrication made up to incite a new hatred for the West.
The story of her death lasted as long as the Gadhafi remained in power, and he organized the "Hana Festival of Freedom and Peace" on the 20th anniversary of her passing.
But, various clues throughout the years leading up to the revolution shed some, albeit dim, light on the matter
In 1999, the Xinhua news agency in China printed a picture of Gadhafi during a visit to South Africa. The photo showed Gadhafi, his wife and two girls having lunch with Nelson Mandela. The caption read "Gadhafi's wife, Safia Farkash al-Barassi, and Gaddafi's daughters Aisha and Hana." The only person who couldn't be identified in the picture was the girl next to Aisha.
Eleven years later, around the time the Libyan revolution was beginning in February 2011, the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag published a document from a Swiss bank that listed 23 members of Gadhafi's family, Hana included.
Even stranger, the document had the girl's birth down as Nov. 11, 1985, meaning she would have been six months old during the U.S. bombing campaign, not four.
That fact, combined with dental records at the Libyan Embassy in London, England, has led some to believe that there have been two different Hana Gadhafis. The Daily Telegraph reported in August that an English dentist was flown to Tripoli to do a procedure on a patient named "Hana Ghadafi."
"It's possible perhaps there could be a second Hana Gadhafi," the dentist told British authorities. "It's not beyond the realms of possibility."
Now, after rebel fighters ransacked the Bab al-Aziziya compound and dug through old documents, new facts concerning Hana have arisen, casting more shadow than light on the young woman.
Confirming some rumors, rebels discovered school documents and a passport for a Hana Gadhafi who was a doctor at a Tripoli hospital. Yet, the National Transitional Council has warped the truth in the past, once claiming to have killed Gadhafi's son Khamis and once claiming to have captured Saif al-Islam Gadhafi. Both turned out to be false (although Khamis is again presumed to be dead).
Now that rebels have seized the hospital, medical colleagues are saying the Hana Gadhafi had been a surgeon at the facility for two years.
"In the period before the uprising, Hana was doing a good job and she didn't bother anyone. But when the revolution started she showed the ugly face of the Gaddafi family. She started telling colleagues not to treat patients who were anti-Gaddafi, whom she called 'rats'," doctor Noureddine Hassan Aribi told Al Jazeera.
The question remains -- which Hana is this one? And why did Gadhafi claim a daughter died and then keep one in hiding? As this saga unfolds, it only gets more enigmatic. Perhaps the rebels can ask Gadhafi once and for all; if they find him.