posted on May, 12 2011 @ 01:34 PM
I would like to go for something completely different.
Now it's true that most of us don't speak Arabic. So we can't know what he's talking about. That said, there is something we can go for.
Non-verbal Communication. Or as it's more commonly referred to, body language. I've recently started to study this fascinating field, and have
noticed some interesting things in this clip.
The thing with body language is you can't take a single sing in isolation and try and pull a emotion or meaning from it. You need to take it in
clusters, several cues that show what it means. But since we don't have a steady camera angle for each man, we can only work with what we have.
So I'm going to point out a few things I noticed and their possible significances.
The first thing that comes to mind is not all the leaders are greeted equally. They all go in for the double side hug thing, but Gadhafi does not give
them all equal treatment. This can lean us towards who we might consider his closer allies or friends. Especially notice the fellow at 0:22-23. With
the first two guys, Gadhafi used his right hand for the hand shake while the other hand went for the hug, but with this fellow, he does the handshake
after a warm two armed hug. Everyone else is the quick greetings. So who is this man? That's a question I'd like to have answered.
Now we get into the meeting itself. The first thing I notice (though you must keep in mind the lack of arm rests on the chairs) is that almost
everyone in the room has clenched hands in their laps or that area. This is a subtler form of the arm crossing gesture. Some people do the arm
crossing gesture because they say it makes them feel comfortable, but on a subconscious level it shows a degree of defensiveness or that they are
uncomfortable. It's a way of shielding ourselves from an unpleasant or unwelcome situation. Almost everyone in the room from 0:54 to 1:00 is shown
with clenched hands. Even the Big man himself. Also look at the guy in the grey suit in 0:57-0:58. He actually tries to set his hands on his knees,
but reverts quickly back to the hand clench. He doesn't want to be here right now.
It's understandable; I mean Gadhafi is a marked man. You'd be a little nervous.
Now we get into the Big man starting to talk. He likes to talk with his hands, which is good for this analysis. Notice that Gadhafi likes to do two
things with his hands. He likes to try and talk with his palms open and up, this normally shows a non-threatening and almost submissive demeanor.
However he loses that by continually going into the finger point, which is a aggressive 'I'm in command' sort of thing. However, he does avoid
pointing it directly at the meeting goers, which helps.
That said notice at about the sweep that starts at 1:50 that the two guys on the end have their arms crossed. Could be comfort, again no arm rests,
but it could also be a defensive posture again. At 2:00 the guy sitting next to them assumes the same position.
Now even if it is comfortable, you tend to get the subconscious effects of it anyway. You will think less of the speaker because you are defending
At 2:17 we see the fellow on the right side of the camera playing with the cuff of his suit. This is a more subtle version of the arms cross and hand
clench, but it still belies an uncomfortable situation.
2:30 here we see a clear example of the palm open and palm up gestures from Gadhafi. It shows he wants to appear humble and non threatening. He needs
these men as equals, not as subordinates. That shows you the importance of these tribal leaders.
However. At 2:36-2:41 we see two examples of him touching his face. This is usually a sign of either lying or withholding information. When we lie we
have signs like these that we do. They normally involve trying to cover our mouth, ears, or eyes, however as we get good at it, they become far more
subtle. This one is a bit less subtle, but it's done so smoothly that it could be conceived as part of something else. That said, it is there and he
is doing it while talking.
Let's move on to the question period of the clip. Two of the Tribal elders ask him some questions, or make comments, but their hand gestures are very
telling of what they are feeling. 4:11 his fingers are pointed. He's making a point, he's in command. But you'll notice how his thumb and middle
finger are touching? That is a variant of the finger pointing which normally comes off as less aggressive to people. He's in command, but in a firm
way, not an aggressive way. After his comment, there are smiles around the delegates. Whatever he said, they seem to agree.
4:28, the guy in the green suit is talking, but we can't see his hands or his face. We can however see his head movement. However, as I am still
learning about body language, I don't feel overly comfortable making any comments on this one. But there is something. That said, 4:36 he points
right at Gadhafi. He's either accusing him of something, or driving home a point that he thinks the Big man hasn't grasped. This would tie in with
the overall feel of defensiveness the whole meeting has given off.
Going to skip ahead a bit. I love this. 5:18 The big man's hand gestures have changed. No more is it palms up and out, but instead it's vertical,
with many sweeping motions and chopping motions. He's less humble now. He's feeling pressured and wants to take charge again.
Anyway, that is my contribution to this. As I learn more I think I'm going to enjoy analyzing the gestures of world leaders. It's quite fun.