There’s nothing like being the vanquished…or is there?
Reports coming out of Misrata, Libya have asserted that Libya’s former leader, Muamar Gaddafi has now been put in a commercial freezer at a shopping center for public display, until that is authorities figure out exactly what to do with his corpse. Such it seems are the dilemmas of bloody civil wars.
Underscoring the uncertainty of what to do with Mr Gaddafi’s body (even in death he has become a ballyhooed figure that the public can not get enough of in some perverse way) is the question of how it came to be how he ultimately came to die. At least this is the public reasoning offered at this stage, with respect to the delay in the disposal of Mr Gaddafi’s body which leads one to wonder how exactly Mr Gaddafi ultimately met his maker should affect the way his corpse is disposed of.
But perhaps the delay in Mr Gaddafi’s final burial rites (if he is to even indeed be given one…) is mired in the fact that no one quite knows what to do now that Mr Gaddafi is out of the picture. In some sense it’s the most cutting irony. For the longest time, much of Libya’s population was seething from the hips about the difficulties subjected to them courtesy of Mr Gaddafi’s rule and now that he is finally gone they don’t know how to proceed. Which in some way all makes sense as Mr Gaddafi had spent 40 years dictating policy and agenda for his countrymen, and in his absence his fellow countrymen are at a kind of loss what to do. It’s as if their lives all these years had been motivated with how to make the best of Mr Gaddafi’s embittered rule, how to overthrow him and now how to exactly begin to live without him…
As much as Mr Gaddafi’s ultimate death is mired in confusion, (was he really executed, caught in crossfire?) so has the country fallen into a vast confusion in lieu of the vast vacuum that has suddenly been created with the overthrow of Mr Gaddafi. The National Transitional Council, a kind of interim power structure has called for the creation of a new interim government within a month and general elections within 8 months. All wonderful things in a once despotic country assuming people there are willing to take on democracy, albeit a strange notion in a country and a region used to autocratic rule, which puts pause to the assumption, despite the West’s managed assistance (is there really any wonder there?) for a new friendly government whether this indeed is the right thing for the nation.
After all, a call for democracy in Libya can only in so many ways be a call for a type of extreme market capitalism that will foster advantage for the petroleum sector and its Western allies (the idea that the West intervened for humanitarian reasons is extremely laughable) but very little advantage to the greater populace if the social programs that Mr Gaddafi had created are taken down to facilitate the ‘rapid growth’ of democracy, or whatever catch word is necessary to obfuscate the real intentions of the behind the string powers that be.
Returning back to Mr Gaddafi’s corpse London’s Ibn had this to say:
In Misrata, residents crowded into long lines to get a chance to view the body of Gaddafi, which was laid out on a mattress on the floor of an emptied-out vegetable and onions freezer at a local shopping centre. The body had apparently been stowed in the freezer in an attempt to keep it out of the public eye, but once the location was known, that intention was swept away in the overwhelming desire of residents to see the man they so deeply despised.
Men, women and children filed in to take their picture with the body. The site’s guards had even organized separate visiting hours for families and single men.
“We want to see the dog,” some chanted.
And the dog they shall come to see. In some way it’s a marvel that so many people have come out to see the deceased Mr Gaddafi, and one could possibly wonder how proud of his countrymen Mr Gaddafi would be if he were at all aware of all the attention his half naked corpse is bringing and eliciting. Which perhaps underscores the man’s legacy, his greater than life presence, the fantastical and theatrical aura that he permeated whether you adored him or despised him.
One thing is for sure, very few of his fellow countrymen held an indifferent attitude towards Mr Gaddafi. And it seems going forward as people line up one last time before it is decided what to do with him that no matter what ends up being done to his body, his presence and legacy, his aura, his often maniacal and over the top existence will continue to exist for quite some time to come. Something that may ultimately come back to haunt authorities and hence the confusion of what to with this unique man’s body…