Don’t Judge Libya Too Harshly


Rebels Celebrating Gaddafi's Death (Courtesy of The Mirror Online/Reuters)
I know that I’ve said this before, but I hope that this is at the very least the end of beginning for Libya.

Seven months and three blog posts later, Gaddafi has been dragged through the streets of Sirte, whether dead or alive no-one knows yet, to thunderous celebrations across the country.

However now that the euphoria has died down somewhat, the ugly side of Gaddafi’s demise has emerged.

Now I’m certainly not going to mourn him and Libya is better off without him overshadowing the reconstruction process. However again, as I said with Osama Bin Laden’s death back in May the manner of his death is not a cause for celebration.

No-one is exactly sure how it happened but it seems to me that he was just left to the mob.I can’t imagine a more brutal way to die.

I do think its a shame, it may not do too much for Libya to see him brought before a war crimes tribunal but it would certainly bring to light the duplicity of other world leaders over the past forty years.

I’m sure Tony Blair will be sleeping easier now he knows that Gaddafi won’t live to tell his tale.

I’m not going to sit here and condemn the actions of the rebels the way everyone else will inevitably. I will not condone it either but I really don’t think they’ve done anything that any other person in any country of the world wouldn’t do.

I’m all for the condemnation of actions, punishment and holding people to account but the sanctimonious way people condemn other people’s actions as if they wouldn’t do the same in the same situation bothers me. Its hypocritical.

These people have been bullied, brutalised and threatened by Gaddafi for the past forty years. He threatened to kill everyone that stood against them. If you want to quote some famous writer (as commentators seem to in these situation) then I would go with Shakespeare or Macbeth in particular:

‘Who could refrain who had a heart to love and in that heart, courage to make love known’



Basically, if you feel passionately about someone (or something) you would kill to protect it. Macbeth says this after he kills the guards in rage at them ‘killing Duncan’. Of course he was lying but that’s beside the point.

Speaking to the Times an official close to the new Libyan government said ‘We know who killed him. He’s a Libyan citizen, so we’ll protect him. He was under-age, so he can’t go to court anyway. He’s a Libyan hero’.

I don’t know about ‘hero’ but I do think that its right in this circumstance to protect him. What good would it be to punish a young boy for an act of war and passion? What would you do? Can you really say you would obey all the strict intricacies of international law in the same circumstances?

The kind of people that deserve punishment are people like Gaddafi. Like Osama Bin Laden. Or maybe even a few Western leaders that no-one likes to mention in this context.

It’s important to not get carried away in condemnation or celebration. In an ideal world, everyone would always follow the letter of the law and there wouldn’t be a need to kill men like Gaddafi because they wouldn’t exist.

However world peace is a fallacy.

We’re all human, that means we are capable of good and bad. It is because we are all human that we will all retain that right to life and capital punishment will never, ever be justified. However, its also because we’re human that any of us are capable of violating the right to life.

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Published by

Caroline Mortimer @CJMortimer

Freelance journalist.

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