Talking about the revolution in Libya

Oct 27, 2011, 12:14 PM

On 21 December 1988 a Pan Am jumbo jet exploded over, and crashed in the Scottish village Lockerbie, killing all 259 passengers and 11 locals.

A bomb had been smuggled into the plane, allegedly by two Libyans, and thus this tragic accident was soon linked with the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi - a commonly accepted fact which led to 10 years of cold air between Libya and the West.

Libya was led by Muammar Gaddafi, who took over the country in a military coup in 1969 and gave himself the title colonel, thus putting an end to the Kingdom of Libya, turning it into a military dictatorship.

The following years, after 1969, were marked by wars with the neighboring countries Egypt and Chad, and Libya also took a decisive stand in the conflict in Israel, since Gaddafi wanted to promote Islam as opposed to Judeo-Christian values.

Gaddafi was tolerated, albeit never accepted in the West, but it wasn't until the incident in Lockerbie, that the West took a more firm stand against the dictator. This position was maintained until 2003, where Libya announced its plans for putting an end to the production of weapons of mass destruction, as well as a general will to work against terrorism — all very nice sounding tones in western ears after the attack on the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001. Libya, and Muammar Gaddafi, was welcomed back in the western sphere, and trade with the wealthy oil producing arabic republic was resumed.

Everything seemed calm and well until 17 February 2011 where demonstrations started breaking out in Libya's capital, Tripoli, as a consequence of an interview on the arabic television station Al Jazeera two days before with novelist Idris Al-Mesmari, who criticized the Libyan government. These demonstrations were fiercely fought back by Gaddafi's troops and civil war broke out in Libya, waging back and forth until 20 October where Gaddafi was shot, and three days later on 23 October, Libya was declared a free country.

A multinational coalition led by NATO intervened in the conflict, seeking to save some casualties in Libya during the war. The mission, which was only carried out from air, was launched on 21 March 2011, and after the fall of Gaddafi and his political regime, many political leaders of the West have expressed joy, on behalf of the Libyan people, that Gaddafi is gone, and that Libya now can be rebuilt as a free, democratic country. US Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Hillary Clinton, chose to express it this way – We came, we saw, he died.

One could argue that the focus of the Western leaders has been too much on the actual death of a, at the time death, defenseless person. These same leaders supported the military action in Libya to promote democracy and civil rights – or so they said. Part of such a society is the right to have ones case presented before a judge. The new state Libya, one could argue, seems to have been launched in revenge, rather than in justice, since the way of doing away with people, utilized by its former dictator, was turned against himself by the new holders of power.

The fact that western leaders congratulate such a deed, while at the same time expressing hopes for a democratic Libya might seem to be somewhat a contradiction.

Turning the other cheek, cleaning the slate or breaking the vicious circle is oftentimes what needs to be done to move on to something better. None of the deceased by Gaddafi's hand, either in Lockerbie or Libya, or anywhere else, will benefit from his death. The question remains, whether a new democratic Libya will?!

Sources: #democracy #Gaddafi #Libya #Lockerbie #school #talk