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Muammar Qaddafi: The Suicide of the Astronaut

Posted: 2012-06-08
From: Mathaba
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Novel by the Leader of the Libyan Al-Fateh Revolution.

by Muammar Qaddafi

After man had travelled in outer space so much that he had become overcome by dizziness, after government budgets could no longer support expensive space programmes, after man landed on the moon and found nothing, after the two astronauts exposed the wild speculations of scientists concerning the existence of seas and oceans on the moon’s surface and the arrogant ‘Great Powers’ competed over owning and naming them, almost coming into conflict over dividing the moon’s wealth – especially marine resources – and after approaching the members of the solar system, taking their pictures and despairing of ever finding or being able to sustain life, man returned to earth, dizzy, nauseous, and fearing doom.

In fact, it was simply the case that the earth is the only known land, unique, a source of life. Life means water and food; earth is the only place that provides us with these. The only true needs are bread, dates, milk, meat, and water. The only air necessary for life is that which surrounds the earth. And so, man returned to the earth from his adventure in outer space.

The astronaut removed his space suit and donned an ordinary one, so that he could resume his life upon the ground, having ended his mission in space. He began to look for earth-based work. He entered a carpenter’s shop, but could not handle such simple tasks, since they were outside his area of specialization.

The same went for his efforts at turnery, iron working, construction and plumbing. He tried painting and white-washing as well, but had not studied drawing, or music, or knitting, since these were quite unconnected to his field of specialization.

He left the industrial city scorned, a banished one [1], and went to the countryside. He began to look for agricultural work, so that he could support himself and his family. A peasant asked him, ‘Do you know anything about tilling the good earth, son?’ By asking this question, he was in fact asking if the astronaut liked farming.

The astronaut replied, ‘The earth’s attraction decreases the higher we go, and our weight becomes gradually less until we reach the point of weightlessness. Then, we have freed ourselves of the earth’s gravity, and eventually reach the gravitation of another planet, and our weight increases… and so forth and so on… I hope that I have answered your question.’

The peasant looked as though he did not understand, as if he required further explanation. The astronaut went on, providing additional information, in the hope that he would gain employment on the land from the simple peasant.

‘The Earth’s size is about 1,320 times less of that of Jupiter, while 12 Earth years equal one year on Jupiter. The red spot of Jupiter is big enough to contain the earth at its centre, while Saturn is 744 times bigger than Earth. Even so, Earth’s mass is only 95 times less than that of Saturn. The Earth’s diameter is about 50 times greater than the moon’s, while its size is about 80 times greater.

The Earth’s gravity is six times greater than the moon’s. The Earth is about 150 million kilometres distant from the sun, whose light takes eight minutes to reach us, travelling at a speed of 300,000 kilometres a second. The Earth’s size is about 1,303,800 times less than the sun, while its mass is about 332,958 times less. Its density is approximately 30 times less than the sun’s while the Earth is the third most distant body from the sun.

Mercury is the closest planet, followed by Venus, and then the Earth. Venus is about 42 million kilometres from the Earth, while the Earth is about 400,000 kilometres from the moon. If you went by car, travelling 100 kilometres per hour, you would reach the moon in 146 days. If you did not have a car, and went by foot, you would arrive in eight years and 100 days.

I think that answers your question. As you can see, I have complete knowledge about the Earth.’

When he said ‘Earth’, the peasant awoke and closed his mouth, which has been open throughout the astronaut’s journey from planet to planet, which began upon the earth and finally returned there. The peasant had understood nothing. In fact, he had become dizzy; he felt as if he had returned from a trip into space, throughout the entire solar system, but without any result for his farm.

The distance that concerned him was that between one tree and another, and not between the Earth and Jupiter. The weight that concerned him was the produce from his farm, and not of Mercury. Perhaps he felt sorry for the poor astronaut, and left him.

The astronaut then committed suicide, after he gave up on being able to find work on the ground that could sustain him.

[1] Or, 'rejected', a reference to the Holy Quran, Sura 7, verse 18.

Essay from “Escape to Hell and Other Stories” by Muammar Qaddafi with foreword by Pierre Salinger.
© Text copyright 1998 Stanké, New York.

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