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Gaddafi’s burial: taking secrets to the grave

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A group of men drive into the desert at dawn, open the trunks of the vehicles, and remove the dead bodies. After they’ve buried them, the men take an oath on their holy book never to reveal the location of the bodies for as long as they shall live; a secret that they will take to their own (respectable) graves.

It sounds like something from a Hollywood thriller but it is not. This was how the former dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, was buried, along with his son Motassim: in a secret, unidentified grave in the Libyan desert.

Libya’s Information Minister Mahmoud Shammam confirmed that the bodies of the former Libyan dictator and his son Motassim were secretly buried to avoid any reprisals or abuse of the bodies. A bit too late for concern over abuse considering the sickening footage that was released showing Gaddafi being ‘sodomised’ during his capture, and whose dead body was broadcast for the world to see, with Libyans queuing up to take photos on their mobile phones. Gaddafi’s body was there for the world to see, but where was Motassim’s body? He is reportedly dead and buried too but there has been no evidence of that. And what about Khamis Gaddafi, the man with the nine lives who died and emerged alive more than the killer in most horror movies.

 

Dead and buried: Former Dictator Muammar Gaddafi takes his secrets to his grave Copyright @Reuters

 

By burying the former dictator’s body, the NTC must have thought that they were avoiding any further incidents or questions: how he died and why he died. The NTC have bowed to international pressure and started enquiries into Gaddafi’s death. When a government is investigating itself, you know what the outcome is going to be. But at least Gaddafi’s (and the West’s) secrets have been buried in the desert grave too. As Fisk wrote about Saddam Hussain’s execution in 2006, “We’ve shut him up. The moment Saddam’s hooded executioner pulled the lever of the trapdoor in Baghdad yesterday morning, Washington’s secrets were safe”. They sayt hat those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Actually, it is those in power, the wise ones that learn from history who repeat it, ensuring we never know the truth. Are they doomed? Certainly not. But we are, for we, the people, never learn.

I felt uncomfortable watching the capture and death of Gaddafi, as I am sure did many others. Seeing people dancing in the street and grinning made me feel even more nauseous. Whatever he was, he did not deserve to die in such a way. It is even more disturbing that one of the NTC’s senior members, Mohammad Sayeh, said: “Even if he was killed intentionally, I think he deserves this.” And they insist they were fighting for democracy? As Linda Heard wrote in Gulf News, he should be setting an example; “it’s onething for fighters to take revenge in the atmosphere of war and quite another for a political figure to bless such barbarity”.

Gaddafi’s capture should have been the start of a new Libya, an era of democracy and the rule of law, but with the world’s eyes firmly on Libya, and with Gaddafi’s former ministers playing a role in the new government, it is far from over. There is no fresh start, no ‘new’ Libya. Gaddafi was buried but the brutality lives on

I applaud Human Rights Watch, the only decent organisation which has reported on mass atrocities by rebels and Gaddafi supporters alike, something the media should have been doing. Instead we have been viewing this conflict from one side – NATO’s side. Patrick Cockburn stated that something is wrong when the only organisations that are objective and investigating thoroughly are HRW and Amnesty International. He is right.

The UN Security Council voted unanimously on Thursday to terminate the mandate allowing NATO to carry out military operations in Libya.  Libya’s interim leader Mustafa Abdel Jalil, however, had said NATO should remain involved in Libya until the end of the year to help prevent Gaddafi loyalists from leaving the country. Or perhaps Jalil wishes for NATO to stay in Libya because he has little control over the country? The people in Misurata, for example, continue to defy the NTC, as does Sirte, the former leader’s birthplace. 

The Egyptians and Tunisians managed to get it right. Far from executing their dictators or burying their bodies in secret, they either let them go into exile (Ben Ali) or put them on trial (Mubarak).

As Aristotle once wrote, at his best, man is the noblest of all animals; separated from law and justice he is the worst.

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Written by Iram Ramzan

October 28, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Posted in middle east

Tagged with , , ,

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