The Beginning of a Democracy

Veronica Maciel

For the past 42 years, he has been ruling over the country of Libya; he was the dictator known as Moammar Gadhafi, or as he self-titled himself, the “King of Kings.” Driven from the capital city, Tripoli, two months ago, he took refuge in his home on the coast in Sirte. He was killed October 13, 2011 after rebels barricaded his home. An 80 car convoy left his home as the rebels closed in, and a United States drone in the area alerted NATO forces of the convoy. They then lead an airstrike which hit two of the cars in the convoy; from there, the “revolutionary forces,” as NBC news called the Libyans, took over.

The rebels found Gadhafi hiding in a drainage pipe; he was already wounded, and the rebels proceeded to worsen his condition. They didn’t stop their battering of him until he lost consciousness. His last words were, “do you know right from wrong?” according to MSNBC. After he lost consciousness, his body was then paraded around Misrata, a city that was greatly damaged by the eight month long civil war that ousted him, as people in the streets cheered.

During those eight months, Gadhafi’s sons drove the people to hate them as well. One son, Seif al-Islam, who taunted the rebels for seven of those months, is reportedly fleeing south in the Sahara Desert to Niger. The other son, Muatassim, a prominent military commander, was killed in the same attacks which killed his father.

Gadhafi’s body is currently in a commercial meat freezer in a shopping center in Misrata. One of the doctors that accompanied the body into the ambulance, Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, said that Gadhafi died from two bullet wounds, one in the head and the other in the chest. Though an autopsy hasn’t been done yet, it is likely that the two stray bullets were the cause of his death. There are still no ideas about who exactly shot him; Minister Mahmoud Shammam told AP that the bullet holes make it seem that it stray shots that killed him after he was captured, either from loyalists or rebels.

The death of the dictator is celebrated throughout the Arab countries, including Syria and Yemen.

This death was celebrated in the United States as well. President Obama said this about it, “Without putting a single service member on the ground, we achieved our objectives, and our NATO mission will soon come to an end.” The statement was said referring to the airstrike that sent Gadhafi hiding in a drainpipe. The President goes on to tell reporters that this death, “marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya, who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic state.”