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Opinion: Libya: Kadafi’s other foe -- copy editors

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When it comes to name-calling, Libya’s longtime strongman, Moammar Kadafi, is a master.

In his speech Tuesday to his troubled countrymen, he referred to anti-government protesters as ‘greasy rats,’ ‘drug-fueled mice’ and ‘gangs of cockroaches.’

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However, when it comes to Kadafi’s own name, well, let the name-calling really begin.

In fact, the only groups that may cheer louder than his own people when the dictator falls are the world’s journalists -- or, more specifically, copy editors.

Just a quick check of the major newspapers shows you what the sharp-eyed folks with the green eyeshades (OK, the eyeshades are gone, alas) are up against.

At the New York Times, he is Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.

At the Wall Street Journal, and the Associated Press news service, he’s Moammar Gadhafi.

Reuters prefers Muammar Gaddafi.

But the L.A. Times goes with Moammar Kadafi.

And online, Wikipedia uses Muammar al-Gaddafi.

And, of course, you can mix and match first and last names, such as Moammar Gaddafi. Go ahead. But whatever you come up with, be assured that thousands of harried reporters have beaten you to it.

This being the Internet Age, what says our electronic Big Brother, Google?

In order, it’s Wikipedia in a landslide!

1/ Muammar al-Gaddafi 1.05 million hits

2/ Moammar Gadhafi 175,000 hits

3/ Muammar el-Qaddafi 57,900 hits

4/ Moammar Kadafi 9,340 hits

So, so long, Col. Muammar Muammar Moammar el-Qaddafi el-Qaddafi al-Gaddafi Gadhafi Kadafi. And good riddance.

-- Paul Whitefield


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