The stage is set. It is time for the Libyan people to take their fate into their own hands.
A lot of blood has spilled in prying Gaddafi’s iron fist away from his hold on Libya. Now, the tyrant is dead and regardless of whether his death came in ideal circumstances or with ideal media exposure, the fact is, he is no longer a factor in Libya’s future. It is time to realise that the saga that will be Libya’s recovery has just begun, and based on the events of the last few months, the Libyan people have much to be hopeful for.
Politically Libya is not experiencing the abject chaos that many seem to expect after the fall of totalitarian dictators. The fallout includes an interim government, the election of Abdel-Rahim al-Keeb as interim Prime Minister and the likelihood of general elections in the next few months. Months of heart-wrenching struggle on the back of 42 years of hardship and oppression has led to this moment. The Libyan people can finally dare to be optimistic and switch fear to anticipation for a better future.
Many Western media consumers will judge the Libyan movement by what they see as its end product, Gaddafi’s brutal and undignified death. Western newspapers have had no problem parading images of his bloodied face all over their bona fide pages to depict victory for an uncivilised people who know naught but brutality. Let them not forget that Gaddafi was the one who brought meaning to the word brutality on a scale that no Western country has had to face in recent history. Let us look for the images of the 1500 prisoners shot dead in the courtyard of Abu Salim prison. Let us look for the footage of the student activists hung on live television for speaking out against Gaddafi. Let us look for the shots of hundreds of dead bodies strewn around army barracks, bodies of soldiers who refused to kill their own people and paid the ultimate price for it. Those images define the anger, the will, the determination and the boldness that created this revolution. It is those principles that we must focus on to understand the Libyan movement. Gaddafi was a brutal man. Brutal men do not deserve brutal deaths, but they do deserve to be forgotten, to be swept away by the tides of history as people move towards redefining themselves by their principles, not by atrocities that have been committed against them.
The Libyan people have brought an end to Gaddafi. They did not do it alone and the fight is far from over, but finally they can step out of their houses and take a breath of freedom. The physical and psychological torture they were subjected to from a man who regarded and treated those who opposed him as cockroaches and rats is over. Now the Libyan people are masters of their own destiny and we can only hope that Libya both recovers and prospers in the future.
This whole fight has faced unfounded criticism and predictions of doom from the start. Were any of these predictions correct? What happened to the apparent quagmire in Tripoli? What happened to the apparent partition of Libya? What happened to the apparent collapse of the NTC? None of these predictions were fulfilled. So let’s stop talking about Libya’s doomed future merely weeks after the end of a war that removed one of the world’s worst tyrants.
From where we are we can see that the removal of Gaddafi is positive. The formation of the NTC and preparation for a workable democratic system in Libya is positive. Libya is going through a series of changes for the better and that cannot be disputed. The rest of the Arab World, those protesting for freedom in Bahrain, Syria and Yemen have added encouragement to push on and win. It may still be early but I firmly believe that optimism at this point is fully justified.
Views expressed in articles are the author’s and do not represent Comment Middle East
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