The moment it was announced that Muammar Gaddafi – the Libyan dictator of some forty years – was dead is one that most people will remember. In particular, where they were and exactly what they were doing as the news broke. After a civil war lasting from February to October 2011, Gaddafi was killed on 20th October 2011 and it was announced at 3pm that same day.
Realistically he was not killed; he was, rather, brutally murdered, and possibly sodomised in the process by one of his National Liberation Army (NLA) captors, according to Global Post’s analysis of video footage taken before his death.
Although some people will claim that this is no more than he deserved for his countless crimes during 42 years of rule, one has to urge them to think again. In a ‘how the mighty have fallen’ final scene, the once all-powerful Gaddafi was dragged from a storm drain pleading for his life, at the age of 69, and brutally beaten, possibly raped, and then shot at point blank range execution-style. One thing is for certain, he was certainly not caught in any crossfire.
His body was then displayed for all of Libya, and the rest of the world, to see. Lines of Libyan children were marched through to stare at the gruesome corpse of their former leader. Even worse, his death scene appeared on practically every newspaper. Imagine the horror on the face of a mother with an eight year old boy as he picked up The Daily Mail in WH Smith, with Gaddafi’s battered, bloody face on and asked “Mummy, what’s this?”
Surely Gaddafi’s death and the way in which it was then dealt with raises at least some concerns about Libya’s future. The question ‘what next?’ must be on any sane person’s mind.
Well, on the 19th November, Saif Gaddafi was also captured in Libya whilst trying to flee to Niger. It was claimed he was unhurt but pictures showed bandaged hands. He is wanted by the International Criminal Court, but the National Transitional Council insisted prior to his capture that he would be tried for war crimes in Libya. They have since refused to hand him over to the ICC. News on the proceedings has since fallen eerily silent.
The interest in the UK now is Saif’s relationship with LSE. An official inquiry is investigating the circumstances surrounding LSE’s acceptance of £1.5m from a charity run by the dictator’s son, which may have been bribe money. The report by Lord Woolf claims that Professor David Held “approached Saif about the possibility of funding his centre for Global Governance in December 2008”, and that due diligence had not been properly paid concerning the gift. It might be of interest to Durham students in particular that Professor held will be joining the university at the end of the year.
Furthermore, the inquiry has found that the Foreign Office lobbied Oxford University to accept Saif as a student, as the government and British companies saw an opportunity to do business with Libya by improving her relationship with the UK. It has also found that an employee from BAE Systems arms firm helped Saif with his application to study in the UK, although they deny that they were planning to sell arms to Libya.
Currently it seems as though no-one can claim a clear conscience concerning the Gaddafi family’s rule or fall. The UK is guilty of bloodying her hands through a none too innocent relationship with Saif, while the NTC and Libyan militias are guilty of quite literally bloodying their hands with the gruesome murder of their former leader in a manner in which Gaddafi himself would arguably have been proud, had he not been the victim.
Unfortunately, human nature is as human nature does. The results of Saif’s capture and the inquiry concerning LSE are awaited with bated breath. Muammar Gaddafi, that infamous war criminal, will remain dead and rotting either way, as he unquestionably deserves. For who could imagine, just as an example, the kind of person who would order the deaths of his fleeing, incapable enemy?