Gaddafi : ‘Sic transit gloria mundi’

Source: The Malta Independent

The news of the killing of a tyrant who ruled Libya with an iron fist for almost 42 years could only send confidence levels up in Libya .We have all seen extensive footage on foreign TV channels of the capture of Gaddafi and his killing in his hometown of Sirte.

One of his admirers and friends Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi used a Latin phrase to comment on his death¸ saying that everything in this world is transitory: “Sic transit gloria mundi”¸ (So the glory of this world passes away). Speaking outside 10 Downing Street¸ British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I think today is a day to remember all of Colonel Gaddafi’s victims¸ from those who died in connection with the Pan-Am flight over Lockerbie to Yvonne Fletcher in a London street and obviously all the victims of IRA terrorism who died through the use of Libyan Semtex.” President Barack Obama sounded more down to earth¸ when he simply said to the Libyan people: “You have won your revolution”.

Some people are worried that Gaddafi will be symbolised as a martyr among his followers but¸ quite honestly¸ anyone mourning the end of the tyrant obviously had the luxury of living in the good books of the regime all their lives. They would quickly have changed their attitude¸ had their husband¸ father¸ mother¸ brother¸ sister¸ son or daughter been a victim of his regime. Anyone who defied Muammar Gaddafi was called a “rat” by the dictator during his 42 years of unopposed power. He also besmirched his opponents as “cockroaches” but in the final hour of his death¸ he was found among those very creatures – cowering in a storm drain full of filth. The events that led to the death of Gaddafi (who had vowed to go down fighting) were recorded on amateur video¸ which showed him¸ covered in blood¸ staggering under blows from armed men – apparently NTC fighters.

Another video showed his lifeless body being rolled over on the pavement¸ stripped to the waist and with blood oozing from his head. Such utter humiliation and inhumane treatment of a man who had ruled as a pseudo sovereign saw TV viewers watching his mutilated body being paraded on a car through Misrata.

As was to be expected¸ there has been jubilation in the streets reminiscent of the fall of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad. Many agree that Gaddafi’s megalomania surpassed even that of Saddam Hussein¸ and his eccentricities were legendary – starting with his protection by a troupe of all-female bodyguards¸ his blonde Ukrainian nurse and his desire to sleep in a tent on official visits to Paris and Rome. These may now look simply ridiculous¸ but he controlled the oil taps¸ and that was all it took for the Western world to take him seriously as many – including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair – put up with his risible antics as long as the oil flowed. It is easy – now that he has been removed – for double-faced commentators who benefited from his regime to call him a pariah. Nothing stopped Gaddafi’s antics¸ not even sanctions¸ when he was linked to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing that killed 270 American people.

Whatever his misdemeanours¸ there was one thing for which he deserves credit: he kept the warring tribal factions together. Now he is gone¸ the glue that held together the alliance of such tribes (especially the foul-mouthed Benghazi tribes) may come unstuck. Gaddafi’s demise has certainly created