Thursday, 20 October 2011

Another fallen dictator

By now, the whole world will have heard the news of the demise of former Libyan leader Col Muammar Gaddafi. After 42 years of autocratic rule, the people of Libya are on the path to becoming a democracy. Of course, this all depends on Libya's National Transitional Council fulfilling its promise to hold elections. What fascinates me is the media's eagerness to report the news using graphic images and video footage. Mainstream media outlets around the world, including in the US and UK, have been airing footage of Gaddafi being captured and dragged by Libyan rebels. Not that I have much sympathy for a man who came to power through a military coup and ruled with disregard for civil liberties or human life but all of this jubilant hysteria over his violent death reminds me of the excitement that people expressed back in 2003, when Saddam Hussein was executed, and it leaves me with a sense of unease about the human need for retaliation and tendency for violence.
I am certainly not above this primal thirst for justice at all costs. I don't feel holier than thou because just like everyone else, I'm glad the man's dead. He was, to use a label that is so incendiary that it has now become absurd, almost to the point of being comedic, an evil dictator - a rotten human being, through and through. However, I feel like those of us who live in the free world need to evaluate our standing as an enlightened people. A part of me feels like there is a lot of poetic justice to the way this atrocious excuse for a human being being finished off at the hands of the very people that he inflicted on much suffering upon for over four decades. As someone who appreciates good storytelling, this is definitely a much better dramatic climax than, say, the way the world had to observe some bogus fair trial after Saddam Hussein was captured before he met his violent fate. Still, we all need to reflect on this moment in history and look to the NTC's next moves to ensure that history does not repeat it almost invariably does.

1 comment:

  1. Burn in hell Gaddafi! Society has become so immune to images of death and violence. I think there is a need - especially in places like Libya, where propaganda and lies were a hallmark of the regime - for photographic evidence of Gaddafi's timely demise. It proves he's dead. It is a cathartic moment for the Libyan people. As you say though, watching what the NTC does now in this very fractured country is key...