Oct 21, 2011 Gaddafi is killed during a rage of vengeance. How will civil liberties be protected in Libya?
The overthrow of Gaddafi seemed to be more about opposition to Gaddafi and his henchmen’s abandoning him in the hopes of not ending up on the losing side, than about assuring a new era of protection of Libyans’ civil liberties.
The United States was born out of violence, and violence has permeated the U.S. ever since, including the Civil War, the U.S. military’s and government’s atrocities against Native Americans, slavery and enforcement of Jim Crow, capital punishment, decades of official war in the twentieth century, and constant war in this century other than the time leading up to the September 11 murders. Civil liberties are always at risk during war.
Libya is likely to receive continued financial support from the NATO countries that rained bombs against Gaddafi’s forces, whether or not the purpose will be more about oil, assuring that Libya does not tailspin into a clone of Gaddafi’s regime, or not abandoning Libyans after doing all that bombing.
Yesterday, Gaddafi died during a rage of vengeance. Certainly, he was a tyrant’s tyrant. Nevertheless, violence begets violence, and we need to think twice before rejoicing over a anyone’s death, even if it is a tyrant.
The anti-Gaddafi vengeance is highlighted by the New York Times:
“Colonel Qaddafi’s body was shown in later photographs, with bullet holes apparently fired into his head at what forensic experts said was close range, raising the possibility that he was executed by anti-Qaddafi fighters. The official version of events offered by Libya’s new leaders ” that Colonel Qaddafi was killed in a cross-fire ” did not appear to be supported by the photographs and videos that streamed over the Internet all day long, raising questions about the government’s control of the militias in a country that has been divided into competing regions and factions.”
Gadaffi was powerless when captured.
Gandhi showed us that positive social change can come about non-violently, even though terrible religious-based bloodbaths followed on the heels of India’s becoming independent. The non-violent process of obtaining social change may be slower, more arduous, and less interesting on the television screen than violence. Some may argue that violence against Gaddafi was justified by his decades-long tyranny and his orders this year to shoot on demonstrators (which orders also are being given right through present by Syria’s and Yemen’s leaders). However, nothing justified killing Gaddafi after his capture.
A weapon should never be fired in vengeance.