There have been many options over the years. ABC News came up with 112 ways to spell Gadhafi, and it was a featured subject in an episode of the West Wing. The Associated Press tackled the subject back in March:
Qaddafi, Qazzafi, Qadhdhafi, Qaththafi, Gadhdhafi, Khadafy?
Read about the unrest in Libya and you might wonder: The man has been in power for 41 years, can’t anyone spell his name? For a leader so notoriously mercurial, perhaps it‘s fitting no one can pin down Moammar Gadhafi’s last name using the English alphabet. It’s not just media organizations, even official Libyan government documents vary widely in rendering his name in Latin letters.
The Associated Press goes with Gadhafi. Why? It has to do with pronunciation — along with a series of letters the Libyan leader sent to American schoolchildren more than 25 years ago.
Still, questions linger.
Now The Atlantic is reporting on what could be an end to this enduring spelling mystery:
"As Libyans flood Muammar Qaddafi's Bab al-Aziziya military compound in Tripoli, they're making a number of interesting finds. Most recent is what appears to be the diplomatic passport of eldest son Mohammed Qaddafi. Video of someone leafing through the passport reveals an interesting discovery: the spelling of Qaddafi's name."
And the winner is (drumroll)..... "Qathafi."
Turns out the correct answer was one of the least used spellings of the dictator's name.
Some will argue that transliteration is an imperfect science, but we at the Blaze think that the way a person spells their own name pretty much settles it. Unless, of course, father and son Qathafi spelled it differently, which would take us back to square one.
Here is the video of the passport, uploaded to Youtube by the Libyan Youth Movement:
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/v/A4g_8zBdwzk?version=3&hl=en_US expand=1]
(Tip of the Hat, The Atlantic)