Thursday, October 20, 2011

The Death of Libya's Clown King

It appears that the Furies have finally caught up with Muamar Qaddafi, and that he joins Mussolini, Ceausescu, and other tyrants who died at the hands of their own people. He now suffers their scorn in death. The images posted online and televised almost immediately after his death are the internet age's version of stringing up his body by the heels before angry crowds.

I will not waste tears over him. He was a monster supported by Western oil and military interests when they found him useful, and discarded when his shelf-life expired. He came to power in a coup in 1969 overthrowing Libya's King Idris. He discarded the country's 1951 constitution and became the longest reigning ruler anywhere since 1900, and the longest in the Arab World. He substituted charisma, ideology, and dynastic rule for the rule of law. He had exiled dissidents abroad assassinated. He made war upon the Berbers and their culture. He personally presided over executions. He waged 2 now largely forgotten wars with neighboring Chad and Egypt. He had over 1000 political prisoners in Abu Salim Prison in Tripoli massacred in 1996. He almost certainly ordered the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. It was Western oil and military interests eager to cut a deal with the newly cooperative dictator as well as Qaddafi's own stonewalling that prevented a full accounting for that crime.

While I shed no tears for Qaddafi, Justice was not served by his death today. He should have faced a trial, a full accounting for a long list of crimes going back 40 years. Others that we do not know about or have forgotten might have come to light. Most importantly, some small measure of the rule of law could have been planted in a land that has known only intimidation and revenge for 4 decades. Instead, he died in a crude brutal act of revenge, worthy of himself. And yet, after his brutal rule and after his very stubborn and violent resistance to the revolution that toppled him (with lots of NATO help), I don't think any end other than the one seen today was really possible.

In the end, a terrified old man hiding in a drain pipe found himself pulled out and shot by furious young men eager to visit generations of accumulated rage upon him.


JCF said...

"He should have faced a trial"

Hear, hear.

I'm really tired of the results of death being more death. BREAK the damn cycle of violence! (As we say of Obama re SSM) EVOLVE ALREADY! ["three fingers pointing back at me"]

MadPriest said...

A convenient death, don't you think? Goodness knows what he may have said about arms deals and secret agreements if he faced trial in the international court.