The travel diary of a Roman model has provided a compelling insight into bizarre "cultural visits" arranged by the Libyan leader, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, for scores of attractive young women from Italy.How...multicultural. Here's hoping all the Italian lovelies who ended up staying on in Moo Moo's Libya have now found refuge.
Maria M, aged 28, declined to give her full name, but allowed the Observer to examine her account of a lavish trip to the Libyan desert in October after she was recruited by the Rome-based agency Hostessweb. In her diary Maria tells of an eccentric week-long tour for which she and 19 other young women were reportedly each paid €3,000.
Six such "cultural" visits to Libya by agency recruits have been organised since Gaddafi visited Rome in 2009. The next is scheduled for next month. On one visit Gaddafi tried to marry off one of his guests to his nephew.
But there also appears to have been a religious motive. "He asked if any of us were interested in converting [to Islam]. We all looked at each other and then, incredibly, two girls rose up, something I never thought they would do," wrote Maria, adding that she believed bonuses had been offered to the "converts".
Gaddafi developed a taste for preaching to Italian women during his 2009 visits, and again in August this year, when Hostessweb, which recruits models and hostesses, laid on busloads of women to hear him talk about Islamic culture and faith. "This is all about social and cultural integration," said Alessandro Londero, one of the organisers of the trips. "Here in Rome we have sent dozens of girls to attend Arabic courses at the Libyan cultural institute."...
Update: Egyptian author returns the "Gadaffi International Award for Literature."
Dude just loooved to hand out the prizes.
Update: The bellas aren't the only Moo Moo recruits who've been left in the lurch.