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Gaddafi unites the nation: Official

Odd spelling of Gaddafi

Someone's not following the Style Guide

The on-going crisis in Libya has highlighted one hitherto little-known fact: the country is almost totally united in thinking the correct spelling of the Libyan mad dog dictator’s surname is “Gaddafi”.

An exclusive survey by pollsters One-Man-And-His-iMac for Louse & Flea reveals that of the major UK news outlets, from the Guardian to the Telegraph and the Daily Mail to the Daily Mash, only the Economist breaks the consensus by opting for “Qaddafi”.

There is also overwhelming support for the spelling of his first name as “Muammar”, apart from the Financial Times, which chooses “Muammer”, and the Sun, which appears to believe it’s “Colonel”.

A spokesman for the not-for-profit-but-mostly-for-drinking-really UK Association of Sub-editors and Web Content Wonks welcomed the findings that there was widespread agreement about what is widely agreed to be a tricky spelling. “It’s hard enough just getting the name of the fucking country right,” he said.

Oversea, chaos reigns over the spelling of the mad dog’s name, which may threaten chances of a united response to the continuing crisis. Of the major newswires, AP opts for “Moammar Gadhafi”, Reuters, Bloomberg and Aljazeera for “Muammar Gaddafi”, the Press Association for Muammer Gaddafi” and AFP for “Moamer Kadhafi” (but they’re French, so whaddya expect?).

Some commentators have said President Barack Obama’s dithering response to unfolding events might be because, while the Wall Street Journal opts for “Moammar Gadhafi”, the Washington Post goes for “Moammar Gaddafi”, the LA Times for “Moammer Kadafi” and the New York Times for “Muammar el-Qaddafi”.

One analyst (me) said: “Maybe Obama’s confused by all these which of all these people with similar sounding but orthographically dissimilar names is actually in charge and he’s getting Hillary to draw up contingency plans according to whether one or the other, or all, are toppled.”

The inevitable split in the EU is also signalled by Der Spiegel choosing “Moamer Gadhafi”, Le Figaro for “Moammar Kadhafi”, Corriere Della Sera for “Muammar Gheddafi”, De Telegraaf “Muammar Kaddafi” and El Pais “Muamar el Gadafi”.

One commentator (me, again) said Turkey’s dreams of joining the EU may or may not be harmed by the fact that while the country’s leading newspaper Zaman uses “Muammer Kaddafi”, the EU’s own website, Europa, uses “Mohamar Kadhafi”.

In Russia, Pravda decrees “Muammar Gadhafi” while Catholics worldwide are urged to use “Muammar Gheddafi” by the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore.

A spokesman for leading journalist online resource Wikipedia said: “Muammar Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi (Arabic: معمر القذافي‎ Muʿammar al-Qaḏḏāfī).”

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