Kamikaze Pilot The Martyr Mokhtar Mohammed Osman is Urban Legend

A Point of View, Libya, Middle East & North Africa, Politics | | March 15, 2011 at 19:29

This is a photo of the kamikaze pilot that rumors and “confirmed” reports said crashed his plane into Bab Al Azizia, Gaddafi’s compound. The myth: Mokhtar Mohammed Osman took off from a military airfield in Tripoli with orders to bomb Adjabaya, but turned his plane and flew into the compound.

Unfortunately it was all Urban Legend and I fell for it too. Followers on Twitter were so desperate for good news that the wild tale spread like wildfire. I waited hours before reporting and had confirmation from “reliable sources” that turned out to be not so reliable after all.

There was a big fire at Bab Al Azizia, but was set by someone at the compound, not started by a kamikaze pilot.

Do I feel foolish? Well yes. How could I not? This is just one example of why blogging is faster and more unreliable than normal press. The ethics of good journalism require two, sometimes  three, independent sources. Blogging and tweeting require none.

I try very hard to sort through truth and rumor, but fell victim to my own need for good news from the front. The kamikaze pilot was exactly what everyone wanted to happen. He was the Urban Legend hero everyone had been praying for. A bit like religion – all miracles and hope that keep people going in the darkest hours.

More myth but not yet proven wrong: The burn hospital in Tripoli was surrounded by security and reliable sources, and it was said that two of  Gaddafi’s sons, Khamis and Saadi, were being treated there.

Khamis, reported in critical condition, is the commander of the dreaded 32nd batallion or Khamis Brigade, the much feared, most well-equipped of the special forces at the heart of Gaddafi’s military.

Mokhtar Mohammed Osman The Martyr apparently appeared on State TV, very much alive. Gaddafi and his henchmen read the same tweets.

Keep on events at http://www.libyafeb17.com

 

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