Qaddafi’s fitting endLibya’s 42-year strongman Muammar el-Qaddafi met a violent end on Thursday. He had been on the run since rebel forces took over the capital of Tripoli and was finally captured hiding in a drainage pipe. In one of the video clips showing his final moments, a wounded and baffled looking Qaddafi begged for mercy. He received none. His corpse was bloodied and bullet-ridden. The ruthless ruler of more than four decades and his military followers killed thousands of Libyan civilians. Yet he begged for mercy from his opponents, whom he had labelled rats. An autocrat who didn’t blink at massacring his own people was cowardly and pathetic in the face of his own demise. He died bleeding and beaten by the people he oppressed. Justice for Qaddafi was appropriately ruthless.
When the wave of civilian uprisings against despotic regimes in Islamic societies reached Libya, Qaddafi and his family defiantly threatened to kill anyone who stood against him. With the money he squeezed from his people for decades, he bought in forces from overseas to crush the rebellion. Jets and tanks massacred armed and unarmed civilians. When the death toll mounted, the international community interfered to stop the mass slaughter. Authorized by the United Nations Security Council, NATO joined the rebel forces to fight against Qaddafi’s men. The clash went on for seven months and after nearly 1,000 raids, the Qaddafi regime fell with the death of its erratic leader in his hometown. The international involvement set a precedent that no regime has the license to kill its own people. Although troubling, the world has no sympathy for Qaddafi’s death and congratulated the people of Libya for their freedom.
Qaddafi’s bloody end will worry other autocrats in the Middle East. Syria and Yemen have also been brutal against civilian uprisings. The anti-government forces in these countries will be uplifted by the Libyan news. The dictators may resort to extreme measures out of desperation. The international community must keep watch to prevent another Libya.
South Koreans naturally compare Qaddafi with North Korea’s Kim Jong-il. Civilians are killed and imprisoned in prison camps. North Koreans are rigidly watched and controlled. Kim could be many times more brutal than Qaddafi if his people dared to revolt. Such a catastrophe must be prevented at any cost.