Thursday, October 20, 2011

This Moment in History: Qaddafi dead

Today I saw reports that Libyan leader/ dictator/ state-funded-terrorist-supporting quack Muammar el-Qaddafi (I'm going with the NYT's spelling) had been killed in a clash in Libya between Qaddafi's dwindling forces and the uprising against his regime.  On the elliptical at the gym, I watched Anderson Cooper trying to make sense of video footage he'd received of a bloody-faced Qaddafi, apparently just before his death.  And here's an article on the whole, ugly, final day of Qaddafi's life.  

Our younger readers will not necessarily remember Qaddafi as the bogeyman to the US that he was back in the 1980's.  But his participation in bombings of airline flights inform a bit of why it seemed logical to the US populace in 2003 that perhaps Saddam Hussein was supporting terrorist action.  Many of us remember Qaddafi in association with bombings such as the one at Lockerbie.

I also recall our repeated attempts to bomb Qaddafi, which eventually led to his retreat from the world stage as the US sent sorties of F-111's over Tripoli, strategically placing bombs into the bedrooms of his various homes.

I was in history class when we discussed how and why we'd bombed Libya.

I won't mourn the man, but just as I am uncertain that I was uncomfortable with the festival atmosphere that followed the death of Bin Laden, it doesn't feel like anything to celebrate.  It just feels like is something that never should have happened to begin with.  I dunno.  I guess we'll just have to differ on that.

1 comment:

Jake Shore said...

Personally, I was...satisfied, when Osama Bin Laden was taken out. I think that was the kind of justice (however belated) he deserved, but I didn't see it as an occasion to celebrate like all those idiot kids who took to the streets.

As far as Qaddafi's concerned, I think he probably got what was coming to him, but I found the videos of him being dragged around by a mob of gunmen, all beaten and bloody, pretty disturbing. When I see people doing this, shooting off AK-47s and yelling "Allahu Akbar!," it worries me that the new regime is unlikely to be any better.

It also reminds me, and I know this may be unsavory to some, that our western culture, however imperfect, is simply BETTER than the cultures currently being fostered in the Arab world. I don't think we should feel ashamed to say that. If these videos don't prove this, consider the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. He was kidnapped by Hamas five years ago and held as a hostage ever since (the Red Cross was denied access to him). The Israeli government negotiated his release in exchange for the release of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners who were tried and convicted of crimes, many of them mass murderers and/or terrorists. Leaving aside whether or not this was a wise course of action, does it not demonstrate the difference between a culture that embraces life, and one that embraces death?. Israel was willing to (risking their future security) release 1,027 dangerous criminals for ONE MAN! Meanwhile, tens of thousands of Palestinians celebrated in the streets over the deal, chanting "The people want a new Gilad!"

I'm sorry to wax political on your blog. I know these are contentious issues, but when I see this madness happening, I find myself angry/heartbroken there are still so many in the world denied, not just freedom or democracy, but the basic cultural foundation for a civilized existence; where people can reach and exercise their potential without fear. But that's another discussion. For now, I'm just grateful to argue the merits of the 1982 THING in contrast to the new film.