Thursday, November 17, 2011

Meet Louis Schlamowitz, Gaddafi's Jewish Pen-Pal From Brooklyn

Talk about yer odd couple:
He wrote to Gadhafi, then a young colonel who had usurped power in Libya in 1969 through a military coup. He asked for a signed photograph.

"I found his name in the papers," Schlamowitz says, sitting at a cluttered table surrounded by metal folding chairs. "I wished him well."

He got his photo and a letter that said: "Your kind message to Col. Moammar Gadhafi, leader of the great first September revolution, has been received with great appreciation."

Schlamowitz, a devout Jew, even received a Christmas card from the Muslim Gadhafi.

Gadhafi wrote several times more; one letter attacked America for practicing terrorism with its support of Israel -- not what a Jewish man who also had letters from Israel's Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Moshe Dayan would want to read.

"America practices terrorism against the Palestinian people through providing Israel with the planes and weapons for attacking the Palestinian camps. America's countering of those people's struggle is a crime against humanity and liberty," Gadhafi wrote.

Schlamowitz put the typewritten words into the album, alongside photos of Gadhafi, autographed in red ink.

But he stopped writing to Gadhafi, he says, after the 1988 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland.

"They were shooting down a plane killing innocent people," he says. He didn't want to be "mixed up with individuals who were committing crimes against humanity."

After the Libyan uprising was well under way, Schlamowitz felt an urge to write again.

"If you don't do the right thing for your people and for your country, eventually your people will turn against you," he told the dictator. The letter was returned to him, unopened...
If only he'd listened to Lou...

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