Gadhafi finally buried

Libya celebrates
Libyans celebrate their freedom

Based on a number of different reports, it seems clear that deposed Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi was probably killed by his captors, not by random crossfire in a gun battle with loyalists as some have claimed. That’s not surprising. He was not captured by a disciplined military unit nor by police, but by a gang of Libyan rebels — armed young men high on adrenalin and hate and the smell of victory. A mob dishing out mob violence. Did anyone really expect these young men, coming upon the devil himself, would be able to restrain themselves and each other enough to keep the man alive and turn him over to international authorities?

It was unnecessary to show the world repeatedly and in graphic detail the photos and videos of Gadhafi’s capture and brutalization, and later, his corpse. The media must take the blame for much of that. And it was certainly ghoulish to pose the body in a meat locker and allow the public to parade past it for four days. Four days was more than enough time for someone in authority to take command of the situation and enforce more civilized behavior, especially when the whole world was watching. But that didn’t happen. It may be representative of the difference between Western and North African sensibilities, or it may be no more than a reflection of the chaos in Libya.

In either case, at 5 a.m. Tuesday morning, Gadhafi, his son Muatassim, and former defense minister Abu Bakr Younis were finally buried in an unmarked grave not far from Misrata, Libya, in a modest Islamic ceremony. The location of the grave is to remain secret to protect it from desecration and from loyalists who might make a shrine of it. Still, a number of individuals helped with the burial, and international organizations asking to see the site are to be given access. It’s difficult to imagine the burial site will remain a secret for long.

6 comments

    1. It may have only been Gadhafi’s bad luck to be caught by ragtag rebels instead of … umm … whatever other options there might have been. I share your hope (not expectation) that the new Libyan leadership will be reasonably modern and civilized, or at the very least, sane and half-way reasonable.

  1. I agree with Pied comments. One more observation: While the eccentric Gadhafi is given credit by most political pundits for being shrewdly effective in controlling a rag-tag gaggle of some 300 different tribes for over 40 years, is it not interesting that he was not shrewd enough to leave Libya in a timely fashion? Conclusion: He was sipping his own patent medicine. Sic semper tyrannis.

  2. Love this post, and Jim’s comment. The public celebration (for there can be no other word) of his death reminds me of the old capital punishment rituals here in the UK, with heads on spikes at key gates and bridges, and hangings at Tyburn Tree. Conspiracy theorists, it seems, are given no doubt as to the fate of prominent hate figures: look at Oliver Cromwell and Osama Bin Laden. Their treatment, centuries apart, was barbaric.

    1. Do you feel bin Laden was treated barbarically? He was shot and killed in a military assault. I suppose one could argue he should have been captured alive and tried, but if he was preparing to shoot one of our soldiers, that may not have been possible. Nevertheless, he was buried at sea within 24 hours, in accordance with Muslim law. Libya is a Muslim nation, and yet they waited four days to bury Gadhafi. I have to laugh when anyone mentions the “rules of war.” War is war. War is barbaric.

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