Thursday, October 27, 2011

Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi
(June 1942 – 20 October 2011)
The Arab uprising triggered earlier this year, reached its climax in Libya on October 20th with the capture and killing of Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi’s rule in Libya spanned over a period of 42 years making his rule one of the longest by any leader in our times. Like most dictators, his rule was marred with discontent and anger from his people. It was this anger that slowly grew into a movement for freedom from his rule. After more than six months of fighting between Gaddafi troops and rebels, NATO air strikes and more, this movement saw an end to the Gaddafi regime a few days ago with the capture and subsequent killing of its leader Colonel Gaddafi.

Ironically Gaddafi was captured in his hometown Sirte in the very streets where he began his journey as a ruler to the Libyans. His rule was one with much isolation from the rest of the world including the United States of America.  Finally in 2011, buoyed by the successful Egyptian and Tunisian revolution, the Libyans rose to fight for their freedom from this long and arduous rule under Gaddafi.

Only a few months previously, in his interview with ABC correspondent Christiane Amanpour in Tripoli, he said. "All my people love me," he insisted, ignoring mounting global pressure to step down after four decades at the helm of his country.

“They would die to protect me.” Gaddafi’s last televised public address to his people lasted 75 minutes with him declaring he would "die as a martyr" in his country.

His death saw this revolution come to a conclusion with the Libyans celebrating the beginning of a new era. However NATO postponed a definite decision to end its bombing campaign in Libya as consultations continued Wednesday with the U.N. and the country's interim government over how and when to wind down the operation.

Libya still has a long way to go. Gaddafi’s death was the first step to the long journey in making Libya a nation in tune with the ways of the modern Arab world. The Libyans may be celebrating one victory but still many more intricacies exist in making sure that Libya and its people can begin anew and be recognized as a power to contend within the global arena.

Report by Rabab Kazi