What a year it has been so far: we have seen the downfall of Tunisia’s Ben Ali, Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak, the killing of Bin Laden, and, today, Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi was captured and then killed.
Gaddafi, who had oppressed his people for 42 years, was inevitably on the brink of meeting his fate after the rebels had taken over the dictator’s last remaining town of Sirte.
However, he did do some good for his country: Libya is one of the richest African nations, the average life expectancy is 77 and the literacy rates for women are 72%, according to the, erm, CIA. (Okay, you might not like the CIA but their statistics are probably true).
Gaddafi had the opportunity to flee with his wealth and his, err, ‘voluptuous, blonde, Ukranian nurse’ as she was described. But he chose to stay in his country and fight till the bitter end. And so he did. He has died – in his opinion – a ‘martyr’ but wouldn’t it have been better to have captured him? Perhaps even trial him?
Hmm, whatever the case, the Libyan’s – with the help of NATO – have got rid of a despot who will no longer cause them misery. That’s all the matters.
But the controversy lies within the following statement: were NATO right in intervening in Libya?
NATO decided to intervene when Gaddafi said his troops would go from house to house and murder everyone who opposed him. The NATO intervention has been labelled as ‘hypocritical’ – and so it is: what about the people around the world who have been suffering from bloodthirsty dictatorships for decades – where have NATO been? Why Libya? Was it for oil? The truth is, regardless of whether NATO were right or not, hypocritical or not, whether they did it for oil or not, they did play a key part in the end of the Gaddafi regime. They weakened Gaddafi’s regime to an extent which allowed the rebels to succeed and end up where they are today.
Gaddafi took control of the country in 1969 – taking over from King Idris in a military coup. King Idris wasn’t a particuarly popular figure amongt the Libyan people, and, according to Hamza Yusuf, some Libyan’s use to chant: ‘“Iblis wa la Idris” ([Give us] the devil and not Idris). They got what they asked for.
‘Momar’ – as western journalists pronounce his name – was a complete nutter. He did everything from masterminding terrorism to passing wind in a BBC interview. Alas, after seven months of fighting – which has seen 40,000 people killed (for what! one crazy man) – the people will need to rebuild the country, restore sanity and chose a democratic party to lead them forward. Things can only get better.