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Congratulations Libya, but please do not call this a revolution

By Sumantra Maitra,

Moammar Gadhafi is dead. Every dictator meets his destiny eventually. And the end is usually bloody.


Libyans celebrate Moammar Gadhafi's death in Tripoli, Libya, Oct. 20.     AP/Abdel Magid al-Fergany
However, make no mistake: This was NOT a revolution. Call it a regime change, call it a bloody barbaric revenge on one tribal warlord, by the other tribe with foreign help, but don’t call it a revolution. Also, Messers Obama/Sarkozy/Cameron, it is too early to rejoice. No one knows who is coming to power just yet.

It is amazing how every brutal dictator/ruler is somewhere down inside a human. Recall the photos of Gadhafi playing with his grandchildren, or posing with friends and family. All this gives rise to an absurd, almost surreal and eerie feeling. And questions remain.

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Was he a dictator? Or was he just another typical Middle Eastern warlord, fighting and destroying rival tribal groups? How is it that he has so many supporters still? Why do his Ukrainian nurses still feel sympathy for him? Where is his daughter? And how do they remember him? Is he the “mad dog of the Middle East” for them, too?

The world is a funny place…I wrote in the Washington Examiner in March that Gadhafi was meeting his downfall after actually having changed for the good.

I don’t know who will fill the power vacuum in Libya. Maybe Iran-backed proxies, maybe leftists, maybe Al Qaida. Maybe there will be more civil war between rival tribes. One thing is for sure. From the way Gaddafi was killed and dragged through the streets, from the way Gaddafi loyalists were butchered, we can be sure of one fact: Democracy, rule of law and civility will not be returning there anytime soon. Meanwhile, the Lockerbie bomb victim’s families say that justice is served with the death of Gaddafi. I guess that proves the point.

It is not about any ideology, or democracy. It is much more old and pure than that. Revenge. As the World’s oldest epic poem, The Mahabharata said, revenge is the purest of all emotions.

Still true. And absolute. And constant. Such is life as we have always known it.

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