Will the Libyan 'Arab Spring' soon turn to 'The Winter's Tale'?
The death of Gaddafi, if as spontaneous as reports indicate, may have the adverse effect of killing with him invaluable information that the fledgling national entity requires.
"They love me, all my people ... they would die to protect me."
- Muammar Gaddaffi
‘What’s gone and what’s past help
Should be past grief.’
- William Shakespeare
The winter’s Tale (III, ii, 223-224)
You may have read this Shakespearean line and wondered what relevance Paulina’s consolation to King Leontes bears upon the execution of Muammar Gaddaffi.
Indeed, very few in the world have been (or will) mourn the death of this despotic creature and thus few will need consoling.
However, I do not condone his lynching at the hands of rebel forces. Rather, he should have been captured and made to take the dock at The Hague. Then executed.
This failing to bring him to trial, I worry, may prove to be an Achilles heel to the new Libyan regime.
In all totalitarian regimes it is the populace who bear the brunt of despotism, and the Libyan people have indeed struggled for decades at the hand of this sadomasochistic tyrant.
Recently, when looking over some of the horrific details of Gaddaffi’s regime, I am reminded of Orwell’s Coming Up For Air. In this sublime novel, the narrator, George Bowling ruminates on the distinct revulsions of totalitarianism, noticing:
"the processions and the posters with enormous faces, and the crowds of a million people all cheering for the Leader till they deafen themselves into thinking that they really worship him, and all the time, underneath, they hate him so that they want to puke." (My emphasis).
In Libya, such fictional processions were a reality. Indeed, until very recently Gaddaffi and his sons continued to hold compulsory rallies where Libyans were forced to yell their praise in unison, some forced to even plant kisses upon his feet. Essentially, this was Libya’s cultural activity at its foremost under the rule of Gaddaffi.
Not surprising then, that after forty years, the Libyans were more than sick of living under his regime. And whilst I revel at the sights of jubilation at overthrowing the regime, I am also concerned that in lynching their grotesque ruler, the Libyans didn’t just puke, they very violently vomited.
By executing Muammar Gaddaffi, Libya will now be unable to get some of the answers which it, as a fledgling new national entity, (as well as the international community) needed.
Would it not have been more profitable for the future state of Libya to know more of the deceased administration, as well as the loci of strategic information? And what of the Libyans’ money which this man illegally hid, hoarding vast amounts away? Is it not rather criminal to have destroyed such valuable evidence that this man held behind his melting face?
In the end of The Winter’s Tale, Paulina upon his request agrees to continually remind Leontes of his horrible deeds for years and years to come.
Whilst the Libyan people recover and reflect upon what they’ve lost at the hands of Gaddaffi over the last forty years, I just hope that when a new sovereign state is born, it isn’t reminded continually, like Leontes of the bloody avengement its rebels carried out and the consequences of ‘doing away with’ such potentially significant information and knowledge.
Benjamin Lazarus is a political analyst with a particular interest in the Middle East and Islamic extremism.
Read more on: Libya, gaddafi, gaddafi killed, Arab Spring, arab winter, the winter's tale, george orwell, william shakespeare, benjamin lazarus, middle east revolutions, and democracy in libya
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