Most of us can identify with the huge relief and rejoicing of the Libyan people, that the tyrant who has made their lives a misery for so long is finally dead. My hope for them is that they can now move on, take this huge opportunity, and build a successful and peaceful country.


When I was in Romania, we attended a course training us in Romanian culture, run by Romanians. Part of this was to watch a documentary on the revolution of ’89. People who had been bullied, frightened, spied on, imprisoned, tortured and seen loved ones executed for imaginary offences for 50 years, were finally free.

The documentary reached the point where the Ceaucescus had been captured and were going to be executed. Most of us looked away. ‘No’, said the young man leading the session, ‘This is very important. You must watch it. We needed to know that they were truly dead.’

He is a highly intelligent, highly-educated, bright and visionary person whom we really liked. But wasn’t this attitude a bit barbaric, even for people who had suffered so long? Or were we just being wimpish westerners?

I thought of this yesterday when I was watching the frenzy following Gaddafi’s capture and killing, and listening to the contradictory reports of how it happened: the diplomatic one for westerners: and what we all suspect really happened, which is that he was dragged from the culvert and shot.

Those pictures of his corpse may be really important to the people of Libya, as the Ceaucescus’ execution was to the Romanians. It would be hard to believe that the years of suffering had finally come to an end. They need proof.

Now, of course, Amnesty International and other bodies have raised serious questions about the manner of his death. You could say that he was lynched. They are saying that every human being, no matter what they have done, has the right to a fair trial. He should have been captured, and taken to The Hague, like Saddam Hussein.

But I wonder if the Libyans agree.

What do you think?



  1. Everyone should have a fair trial, but this was far from a planned assassination, probably done so quick the person or persons just wanted him out of the way so much they just didn’t know what else to do. Their world will however be a better place without him, I think.


    1. Yes, it is understandable, but not right. But if you’re a libyan, you are just happy to be free and not too fussy about how you got there. And if you live in a western democracy, then you can sit in judgement on them and tell them how naughty they are … :**: I don’t mean you personally, of course :)) I am talking about the general attitude! I don’t find these things easy, they are not just black and white issues, are they?


      1. I sometimes think the Westen democracies all leaping about pointing the finger and wanting to know who pulled the trigger etc are just hypocritical judgemental bullies and more repulsive than whoever did actually do it….. sitting in their comfortable armchairs tutting and being all righteous!

        One chap interviewing the Libyan guy who stepped down, spoke in that typically hectoring bullying tone of voice typical of Newsnight type presenters and I felt sorry for the Libyan guy in a way….You’ve been through all that experience, put yourself in the firing line and then have some bloke pointing the finger and being patronising and self-righteously politically correct etc :no:

        God will judge… in his own good time.

        We can never know or understand, in truth, because it is out of our range of experience on the whole – fortunately.

        To be honest I might have been able to have pulled the trigger on him in the situation….. I cannot know without being in and of it all…..


  2. Yes i dont see that we should rejoice in some ones death even if they have created every kind of evil as the woman i mentioned did for me. But sadly there is no answer when some are such gods unto themselves they think they can make the rules and have no regard for others, death is the only answer, rejoicing is a matter of choice.xx


  3. The main public moral dilemma is for The United Nations, though I suspect even that is not really a vigorous dilemma.

    How would you or I feel if we had lived in the Libyan society? Our views would be coloured by our experiences. I regularly think about the very respectful Libyan woman I met in Edinburgh, a science student at Newcastle, who asked for advice on intercity buses and buying refreshments for her journey South to meet her brother at Royal Holloway University, also studying sciences. She greatly missed her family. I cannot ask her, but I do think about what her view might be on the uprising.

    Women were educated in Gaddafi’s society, this should not be forgotten, although, the encouragement was mainly to study structured subjects that did not move far out of the universe of science. I can only conject that this might have been to reduce the risk of producing social and political philosophers and activists. Human nature kicked in instead.

    Seeing that Gaddaffi is dead, does mean that the country can try and put itself back on some kind of track more quickly than Iraq could politically and emotionally do.


    1. I don’t think Libyans are too bothered. They are too relieved that it’s finally all over. The important thing is that, as far as we can tell, the Libyans themselves remained in charge of the uprising throughout. It is so important to respect that as a principle – something Bush never understood!


      1. Bush did not understand many things other than imperialism, the gung Ho neo con sentiments of large sections of his society, now the delightfully named tea party. Would Boston come into this somewhere!


      2. Hubris, certainly and arrogance that all can be done differently and better, irrespective of conditions, by each new generation of power. That’s why history repeats itself.


      3. And always thinking, ‘we’ know best, ‘our’ way is superior. Imperialism indeed – but alarmingly easy to slip into, despite one’s best efforts.


      4. You know, GillyK, I do question whether it is ‘despite best efforts’ a lot of the time. Many wars and much disruption have both served many blurred purposes.


      5. Sometimes I think it is a mental laziness that operates. It is so much easier to assume ‘we are right’ and take decisions accordingly. It needs effort and the willingness to adapt one’s opinions about others, if one is to reach a balanced and nuanced conclusion. Not popular!


    1. All too true. But the desert tribes have fighting in their blood, and he came from a culture where you fought to the death. What a tragedy that it included the deaths of so many others in the process, but he would not have thought that was important.


  4. I agree with you….he was a tyrant but every person despite their crimes should be given a fair trial and then punishment. I saw the pictures of this man being dragged through the streets, kicked and beaten, then shot! Whether he deserved this or not, the lynch mob who did this are nothing but brutal cowards!I found it disgusting…and I in no way condone what that man did to his people…..I don t believe in an eye for an eye….It merely reduces us to the same level of barbarity….


    1. Yes, and that is the Christian view. I don’t know enough about Islam to know what the general view is on trial and retribution. It would be interesting to find out. Mind you, the Muslims are already disagreeing over his body: strict Muslims believe it should be buried within 24 hours, others are saying it needs more time.


      1. It s no way for Libya to begin a new democracy….this was how Gadaffi operated….murder…fear …brutality ,a new institution shouldn t begin with blood on their hands….sadly the mob had Britains blessing….and I find Britains press coverage of this murder disgusting….


      2. It’s a shame it happened this way. They would have gained much more respect if they had captured him and put him on trial. But having lived under his brutal and violent dictatorship for 42 years, with many of their families ‘disappearing’ in the process, I can understand that the desire to put an end to him got the better of the freedom fighters. I don’t agree with it though!


  5. Of course everyone deserves a fair trial, but in the heat of such moment, it’s easy to understand how a strong emotional response can result in a lynching. Lynchings are very common, all over the world. I’d rather they didn’t happen, but I understand why it does happen.

    How about you?


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