Sunday, 30 October 2011

Gaddafi: a death full of sound and fury.

Let me begin this piece by stating clearly; I was never a fan of Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi.
Yes, I read his Green Book cover to cover, probably a few more times than necessary, but then I have also devoured Mein Kempf and a few dodgier pieces of literature in my time. It’s the price you pay for a voracious seeking of knowledge; powered on by a desire to spout something remarkably different when the inevitable family debates ignite.
I turned whatever little books and articles my big brothers had left in their trail, into the jewels of my literary garden. Valued copies of Newswatch, Newsweek and Time stashed away from prying and grubby little fingers, as I built my imaginary library. Heroes, villains and half-baked banana republic dictators; but I must admit Gaddafi stood out.
So deranged in his ramblings and unhinged in his writings (try reading Green Book); Gaddafi blazed a maddening trail across the Arab world, ensuring the world reverberated to the tune of his infamy and demented deeds. His oppressive rule birthed in extreme violence and total domination of his own people, sometimes left even his most ardent supporters completely befuddled.
So why does his brutal demise leave me so flat?
Could it be because I am not a Libyan who has lived under his despicable rule and lost half of my family in the process or I am now so detached from reality that I do not recognise the world will be a much better place without him? I doubt either is the case, but watching the Misratah-led chapter of the NTC dragging his bloodied body through the streets of Sirte only served to buttress my greatest fear about this installment of the so-called Arab Spring.
Granted, Gaddafi deserved his miserable end; but what does his killing actually achieve? Will Libya now rise and become a shining democracy which we all long for? Or is the land of the sweet crude at, as UN leader Ban Ki-moon wisely observed, “Only the end of the beginning?”
Ki-moon’s weighted words, reflecting the gravitas expected from his lofty office, was in contrast to the Bushesque words of the various Western heads of state. Even the usually measured Barack Obama reckoned the Libyans had “won their revolution!”
I am not an expert in Arabian politics, but I doubt if anything but a psychological victory has been achieved here. With pictures of young battle-hardened men from a variety of tribes roaming around the streets from Tripoli to Sirte, all armed with dangerous weapons and questionable temperaments, one wonders when the unifying force is going to emerge.
Recent constitutional talks in Tripoli exposed what lay ahead, as the fragments of what is left of Gaddafi’s army effectively blended into society and the rebels from Misratah cement their ‘first amongst equals’ status.
Some say the head of the snake has been severed, but my cynical self sees this as a mere head transplant. The political and economic jigsaw pieces will be rearranged; and somehow, I do not believe Libya will be the winner.
In the end, although hardly any foreign blood was shed to bring Gaddafi down, the fact every strategic moment of NTC victory was preceded by significant NATO activity, probably means we have already seen the pattern of things to come.
The sound is unmistakably loud and the fury clear on our TV sets, but I fear just like in the case of Saddam, it might, post the euphoria, signify nothing!