After 42 years of tyrannical reign, Colonel Moammar Gadhafi has been killed. The former Libyan leader was pronounced dead on Thursday, October 19th in his home town of Sirte during a raid by Libyan rebels.
Hoping that the colonel’s Mediterranean homeland would not fall into loyalist hands, Libyan rebels persisted through weeks of fighting, making the battle in Sirte one of the bloodiest in the country’s eight-month civil war. While in hiding, Gadhafi was captured by Libyan rebels before being shot in the head and legs. His death has left many rebels excited and triumphant.
Recently, reports have questioned the true cause of Gadhafi’s death. It was originally stated that he was caught in a cross-fire between the rebels and pro-Gadhafi forces. Revealing photographs and videos of the colonel’s final moments, however, he was actually assassinated. If this proves to be the case, the rebels who were responsible must, under Libyan law, be held guilty of war crime.
For many, Gadhafi’s death has brought joy and hope, but for others, it has brought concern and uneasiness. For certain Gadhafi opponents, his sudden death has ended any hopes of seeing him put on trial. For others, the future of the Libyan government is the main concern.
Libya’s current transitional government has plans for democratic elections and an official constitution, but there are concerns as to whether or not the Libyan people are prepared. Some Libyan fighters, such as Libyan soldier Bin Omran, have observed that the Libyan people do not understand what democracy is. According to Omran, the push for these democratic reforms is “pushing people to something they’re not ready for.”
Nevertheless, a four-decade period of violence and tyranny has ended. The official announcement of Libya’s liberation is still forth coming, leaving the country room to establish a firm democracy.
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization air strikes and involvement in the bloody civil war ended October 31st. French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who helped lead the NATO support of the Libyan people, celebrates this historic moment but also recognizes a wave of change for Libya.
“The liberation of Sirte must signal … the start of a process … to establish a democratic system in which all groups in the country have their place and where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed,” said Sankozy