In the Country of Men

Topics: Government, Family, Muammar al-Gaddafi Pages: 3 (1098 words) Published: September 2, 2013
Loyalty is a casualty of the Gaddafi regime in In the Country of Men. Discuss. Suleiman, the protagonist of Hisham Matar’s In the Country of Men is placed in an ethical paradox. With the novel taking place in Tripoli, Libya 1979, Suleiman’s loyalty is contradictory, having to choose between the principles of his family and the Gaddafi regime. The bombardment of propaganda and the arrests of ‘traitors’ along with the love of his family causes Suleiman to be in constant conflict with his moral sense of self. His loyalties are tied with his actions, often following with regret on whether he has betrayed the people he trusts. Between the constant sense of authority and his family, Suleiman finds his loyal actions to become a casualty for the other. Loyalty is guaranteed to be broken no matter which action he chooses. Suleiman’s faithfulness to the Gaddafi regime frequently intervenes with his loyalty towards his family. In the authoritarian society of Libya, Suleiman often sides with the regime in order to satisfy authority. Gaddafi is almost a member of the family with his presence being represented by a photo on the wall in Suleiman’s living room. With his presence even being in the family home, Suleiman has a very close attachment to the ideals of Gaddafi. Suleiman is loyal to his father and looks up to him wishing that he ‘were (Nasser), following Baba like a shadow’. When Moosa and his mother were burning his father’s books to protect him, Suleiman questions their allegiance asking ‘Why did you burn Baba’s books? Baba loves his books’. He even saves a book from the fire to protect his father. Despite his devotion, he simply is able to hand over the book to Sharief when asked for information. ‘This is the book I told you about, I said, handing him Baba’s book Democracy Now’. Rather than purposely betraying his father, Suleiman is only seeking childish appraisal from authority. In trying to satisfy authority of Gaddafi, Suleiman finds himself breaking his loyalty...
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