Foreign Policy Blogs

Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards (2012)

This short (59 min.) film was shot in 2003, well before the revolution that resulted in Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi’s ouster and death in 2011.
While an interesting topic, it will most likely be relegated to a small footnote in Libya’s history.
From the time he took power in 1969, Colonel Qaddafi surrounded himself with female bodyguards who straddled the line between western and middle eastern cultures through their appearance as well as the role they played in the country.

It’s been said that Qaddafi required his female bodyguards to be virgins but the main woman who is followed in the film is married with children.
It has also been reported that many of these bodyguards claim they were raped by Qaddafi, his son, and by those who are in the upper echelons of government.
What is not surprising about this documentary is that everyone in it toes the official government line.
And for that reason it is sorely lacking.
This movie is blissfully short because the answers given by all those interviewed are mostly propaganda. They all seem well versed in what the government wants them to say.

Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards (2012)However, this film does shine a light on Qaddafi’s complexity.
Under his rule, Libya had the highest living standards in Africa due to its oil reserves.
As brutal as Qaddafi’s regime was, he constantly looked for ways to westernize Libya. His use of female bodyguards is indicative of that.
Qaddafi’s Female Bodyguards is available for rent.
Murphy can be reached at: [email protected]



Sean Patrick Murphy

Sean Patrick Murphy is a graduate of Bennington College, where he majored in politics and Latin American literature. He has worked for Current History magazine, Physicians for Human Rights, and Citizens for Global Solutions (formerly the World Federalist Association). He lives outside Philadelphia.

Areas of Focus:
Cinematography; Independent Films; Documentary;