Essay on In the Country of Men

Words: 1087
Pages: 5

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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Suleiman doesn’t stop, revealing Kareem’s secret interest of a female classmate and shouting out ‘Crybaby!’ and ‘Girl!’ Despite their close friendship, with Suleiman looking up to Kareem almost as a role model and Kareem treating Suleiman as if her were his own age, Suleiman had continued with the abuse. The neighbourhood had also treated the family the same way, no matter how close their relationship was. Suleiman had clearly betrayed his best friend due to his political ties. The loyalty Suleiman had to his friend was gone as a result of his faithfulness to the principles of the regime.
Suleiman’s father cannot maintain his loyalty to the regime with his ‘work’ focused on the resistance against the government. His activities result with his arrest and torture, eventually giving in to the government, having ‘melted just like butter’. Whilst he cannot hand over the loyalties of his ideals towards the Gaddafi regime, he vouches information in order to save his own life. The attempt to be loyal to the principles of a regime that one does not necessarily agree with cannot continue for so long with Moosa asking ‘how long must we bow our heads?’ Whilst his mother is able to rebel in a more secretive way, Suleiman’s father and Moosa cannot hold in their truths, taking more risks in their idealistic ventures. Suleiman’s