Colonel Muammar Gadaffi has just left Paris after a five-day visit. He even pitched a tent, err pitched his Bedouin tent in the grounds of a Paris hotel not far from the Elysée Palace. Whether he was a welcome guest or a pain in the arse he had a sort of last laugh on the French who were reminded of the possibility that their recent guest is the son of a French war hero.
According to a legend circulating in Vezzani, Corsica, Gadaffi’s father was Albert Preziosi, who in 1941 was stationed in the Libyan desert. While he was there, the story goes, he had an affair with a local woman who gave birth to a son – Gadaffi. Preziosi was shot down and killed over Russia in 1943. As a member of the famous Normandy-Nieman squadron, he has been celebrated in Vezzani ever since. Vezzani’s mayor, Jean-Pierre Pagni, is convinced. “Nothing contradicts it,” he said, pointing to a framed photograph of the aviator, who bore an uncanny resemblance to Gadaffi as a young man.
Gadaffi’s origins have always been mysterious. The Italian occupation of Libya destroyed all records. Officially, he was born in 1942 into a bedouin family. Last week a magazine, digging into the French air force archives, uncovered an exchange of letters between senior officers about Gadaffi’s alleged paternity. It showed that in 1999 General Silvestre de Sacy concluded that the Corsican connection was untrue. In 1941-2, Preziosi was based 400 miles from Gadaffi’s birthplace. Besides, war was a serious business when “personnel would not have been distracted by the presence of women”.
The only way to settle the mystery is with a DNA test ... .
This is probably just a legend and I can’t imagine Gadaffi submitting to a DNA test. Hold on! “personnel would not have been distracted by the presence of women”. Hmm... I won’t say it!