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Balkan Supporters Remain Loyal To Qaddafi After His Death

Demonstrators rally in support of Libya's Muammar Qaddafi in Belgrade in March 2011 in an event organized by the Communist Party.
In death as in life, Libya's former ruler Muammar Qaddafi brought together his disparate Balkan supporters, who paid respect to the "Desert Lion" in statements, newspaper memorial notices, and Internet forums in the days after his violent death.

The tributes reflected the abundance of those who saw Qaddafi as the last symbol of the good old times when late Yugoslav leader Tito and Qaddafi were great friends in the Non-Aligned Movement, or those who despise "imperialists" who, in their opinion, cooked up the trouble in Libya just like they broke their country apart in the 1990s.

But there was no reaction from politicians or Muslim religious leaders who traveled to Qaddafi in recent years to secure highly profitable business deals or receive lavish donations.

"In our hearts you will always remain BROTHER LEADER and the king of kings," read a notice from employees of a Podgorica cafe bar.

A couple from Serbia, where Qaddafi had been given an honorary doctorate from a private university, called Qaddafi "an honorable" man whom they wished peaceful eternal rest, while a Sarajevan wrote that his "spirit will hover above the Sahara forever".

The Serbian ultranationalist group SNP Nasi and Croatian neofascist politician Mladen Schwartz have hardly anything in common, apart from their admiration for the "Great Leader" and contempt for the democratic West.

"Muammar Qaddafi deserves great respect, keeping in mind that he decided to resist NATO to defend his country and his people," said Igor Marinkovic from SNP Nasi, which regards the alliance as a criminal organization because of its bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the "occupation" of Kosovo since then.

They had also organized support rallies for Qaddafi after the start of the revolution in Libya.

Schwartz, a leader of the marginal New Croatian Right party, wrote in a statement that Qaddafi "has for a long time been a thorn in the eye of the greedy Judeo-American capitalism, which deposed and killed him in a cruel aggression."

One visitor to the website of RFE/RL's Balkan Service said in a comment on an article about Libya after Qaddafi that his killing exposed the real face of today's international justice and respect for human rights.

"Glory to Colonel Qaddafi, the real hero and martyr in the fight for the freedom of the mankind," the poster said.

For cultural sociologist Ratko Bozovic from Belgrade, tributes to Qaddafi reflect a confusion that dominates in society.

"I wonder whether these are expressions of piety, sorrow, misunderstanding...some personal spite, or just publicity-seeking," Bozovic told RFE/RL.

-- Nedim Dervisbegovic, based on reporting by Ognjen Zoric in Belgrade

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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