What Can Be Gleaned from Qaddafi's Death?

News of the death of Muammar Qaddafi dominated international media coverage and inspired celebrations across Libya. As they celebrate the death of their former ruler, thousands of Libyans look are excited by the prospect of a new regime. The transition, however, will not be perfectly smooth and the atmosphere will remain volatile until the uncertainty looming over the country’s political future clears. For now, the priority of transitional government should be the security of rule of law. The basic infrastructures of the Libyan justice system must be maintained in order to maintain the relative order in the country at the moment.  As the Libyan nation reflects on the death of Qaddafi with the rest of the world, it is important for them to realize and remember that the death of Qaddafi does not mark the end of the fight for a better Libya in spite of the rhetoric of the media.

Most of the headlines declare that Qaddafi’s death marks the end of the fight for stability and justice in Libya, but they neglect the difficulty of securing political legitimacy in the new country. Qaddafi’s regime did not leave a system for the political transition that is taking place because its constituents never saw a reason to. As much as the nation may dislike the treatment they received during the reign of Qaddafi, the country has grown accustomed to the totalitarian rule of the regime over the past four decades. The new generation of Libyans tastes the freedom to shape their political future for the first time as they vive for a new government in the power vacuum left by the previous one. Their inexperience in government administration must be made up for by national unity and solidarity, which does appear to be evident in the country.

But the Libyan people must be aware of the way they handle opposition to their new government. Regardless of the glory that some may perceive in the killing of Qaddafi, his death was a gruesome killing that should not be glorified. The graphic videos and images of a blood-soaked Qaddafi are frightening not only because of the gore shown but also of the violence that potential members of the new regime are capable of. Even though Qaddafi is charged with countless acts of brutality, his killing should not be celebrated. Murder should not be welcomed because it does not make up for the death of others. More important, it inspires a cycle of revenge; it promotes murder as a popular instrument of political transition even though it usually spurs instability among the nation. This cannot be the mentality of a nation that is seeking a fair justice system that will not stray from its service to the nation like that of the previous regime. While a trial probably would have been received by some as the same as the gruesome killing because they will both humiliate Qaddafi by reducing him to a powerless state, the subjugation of the former ruler to the rule of law will promote the idea that rule of law is possible.

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