By Brad Rowe
With Moammar Qaddafi’s passing, Libya enters a new era. Its deceased ruler had been many things over his 69 years. He began as a plotter of revolution who overthrew Libya’s king to secure oil revenues for his people. Over time he became a brutal and paranoid dictator who mercilessly crushed internal opposition.
Many American citizens were introduced to Qaddafi after he propagated heinous acts of terrorism. Notable among these was 1988 bombing of a Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland which claimed 270 lives. Meanwhile the citizens of Sub-Saharan African nations praised him for his largess.
The world saw a softer side as Qaddafi reached out to the international community post-2003 as a somewhat reasonable moderate. He welcomed international inspectors into Libyan to observe and dismantle his nuclear program and met important western leaders including British Prime Minister Tony Blair, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
In the end the world saw a return of the same inflexible and pitiless tyrant who in 1996 killed 1,200 political prisoners in one day. Over these last months, we watched as he desperately and violently defied his countrymen’s drumbeat for freedom. The Libyan people are celebrating his passing in the spirit of celebration.
We are looking for thoughtful short essays: Do you have experience in Libya? Do you think the capture and killing of Qaddafi will reinvigorate the Arab revolution? What do you think is the future for Libya post-Qaddafi?
Photograph used under Creative Commons license. Original photo by James (Jim) Gordon.