At the beginning of the uprising in Libya, Gadhafi called those who rebelled against his authoritarian regime, “rats”. On Thursday October 20, he was found cowering in a sewer drain in his hometown, Sirte. Shortly after being found, he was purportedly executed with his own pistol, before being stored in the freezer of a local supermarket. If that isn’t pure poetry, I ask you NT, what is?
The pistol that many say he was executed with was gold-plated, a symbol of the excessive lifestyle Gadhafi lived. He led Libya as supreme leader characterized by occasional rants and raves, rumours of his use of hallucinogens, and the elusive secret police he controlled. During the rebellion, large prisons were found underground throughout the country, filled with men and women living a pitiful existence in dungeons reminiscent of medieval times. Some had been there over thirty years. This concurs with the horrifying accounts of family members just “disappearing”. Gadhafi always proclaimed to his people that there was an enemy, whether that be the Americans at the beginning, before the US bought up the oil industry, Al Qaeda when his regime was crumbling, as he accused the group of giving revolutionaries mind control drugs, or his own people near the end of his life. He also controlled the state news, which spread his lies. Finally, there is the secret police I mentioned, which kept tabs on every man, woman and child in the regime.
He started out his rule as an ambitious military officer that overthrew the incumbent. Some would say that he was urged to do so by the CIA, as his rule ended up feeding the US addiction to oil. Over time, he stopped wearing his Colonel’s uniform, and began appearing in traditional Muslim robes. Later, members of the press characterised this change as insanity. Soon after, the ravings of a madman arose. Many would say this was his downfall, as he stopped being seen by his people as a strong leader, and more of an erratic one.
Urged on by public victories in Tunisia against President Zine El Abindine Ben Ali and Egypt against Hosni Mubarak, the Libyan people started to rumble. They finally rose up as one like the locusts that inhabit the deserts of their country, and attacked the tyrant Gadhafi. They were supported by NATO airstrikes as they surged from west to east along the coast, taking towns and cities as they went. They found little resistance in many places, but when they found loyalist strongholds that tried to repel them, they struck like the Berber guerrillas against the Roman strongholds. They took Tripoli to find cheering civilians, and a fleeing Gadhafi. They chased him to his hometown, the city of Sirte, where NATO bombing and relentless fire finally liberated the city. While fleeing the city like a rat from a sewer, Gadhafi’s convoy was taken out, forcing him to cower in a nearby drain. So far from his palatial residences, he was apparently executed shortly after.
There is currently an investigation led by the United Nations into the circumstances of his death, but no one argues that his death is a blessing for Libya, and a mark of a new era for democracy in the Middle East.