In the Country of Men Essay

1094 Words Aug 23rd, 2013 5 Pages
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
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With Nasser’s constant objections to Suleiman to ‘hang up’ instead of communicating with the person, Suleiman ignores his words knowing well that Nasser is regarded by his father as a younger brother. He states ‘no, I am not hanging up, you hang up if you want’ to Nasser showing that he would not listen to his orders. Suleiman answers the voice’s questions out of fear, only providing the information when shouted at showing that the voice is authoritative and likely to be working for the government. Suleiman states to the voice that Nasser is ‘living in one of the buildings there’ in Martyrs’ Square. Appealing to authority, Suleiman gives as much information as he can about the location of the base. Having betrayed Nasser, Suleiman states afterwards that ‘Nasser is a very nice person’. The last statement implies that although Suleiman has given information about Nasser to authorities, he is only trying to do what is right and therefore also defends Nasser. He tried to do what is right towards both the government and Nasser and with this; his loyalties to Nasser are considered to be broken.
Even towards his best friend, Suleiman cuts the ties of loyalty towards Kareem after his father is arrested. Not long after Ustath Rashid is taken away by authorities, the neighbourhood has all showed disdain towards Kareem’s family. Rashid’s resistance against the Gaddafi regime has brought shame upon his family, with the
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