Are Qaddafi’s killers better than him?

Published: October 22, 2011

A fighter points to the concrete pipe where Qaddafi was reportedly found. Arabic graffiti in blue reads: ‘This is the place of Qaddafi, the rat. God is the greatest.' PHOTO: REUTERS, AFP /AL-SUMUD TV

I had a long day at work and was so tired that I hit the bed as soon as I reached home, missing all the updates on Qaddafi’s death that were aired whilst I slumbered.

And as I came to work this morning, my colleague showed me some pictures of his body coming in from wire services. I was shell-shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I saw his mutilated face, the small tunnel he was hiding in and people celebrating his death on the roads. It was depressing.

Although I was never his supporter and condemned his dictatorship, what I saw was heart-wrenching. I know he spent a luxurious life while the people of Libya suffered under his 42-year-long regime but he was not a rat, he was a human being!

What scared me more was when I tried imagining myself in such a situation. I empathised. I thought that had I been hiding like that with bombs being thrown at me, that would’ve been so scary. Working in the newsroom, I saw the live updates of how the Libyan strongman was being dragged out of the tunnel. Qaddafi was shown dazed and wounded being dragged off a vehicle’s bonnet and pulled to the ground by his hair.

A news story by AFP said:

“In the grainy images seen by an AFP correspondent, a large number of NTC fighters are seen yelling in chaotic scenes around a khaki-clad body which has blood oozing from the face and neck.

The body is then dragged off by the fighters and loaded in the back of a pick-up truck.

A stills photograph taken on a mobile phone and obtained by AFP showed Qaddafi heavily bloodied but it was not clear from the picture whether he was alive or dead at the time.

In the grainy image, Qaddafi is seen with blood-soaked clothing and blood daubed across his face.

“We announce to the world that Qaddafi has died in the custody of the revolution,” Abdel Hafez Ghoga said.

“It is an historic moment. It is the end of tyranny and dictatorship. Qaddafi has met his fate,”he added.

All I knew about him was from my parents who lived in Libya for some time and the stadium in Lahore named after him. All I know is that he was old. As old as my grandparents. Couldn’t he be spared for being that old?

It is sad to see the world celebrating his demise. People all over the world are saying that his death has brought democracy to Libya. The United Nations and the G8 have said that they now have high hopes for Libya’s future. Even the UN chief has said that the death of Qaddafi marks an “historic transition” for Libya.

I know he tortured the people of Libya and even hanged some of them in Benghazi. He used to move with a 40-member contingent of women bodyguards handpicked by him.

But are those, who killed him in cold blood after capturing him, really any better than him? Since when have we become so inhuman to ‘celebrate’ someone’s death? I cried today not because he died, death is surely inevitable, but because of the way he was killed.


Sidrah Moiz Khan

The author is a sub-editor at The Express Tribune.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.