What a day to be alive! It’s a truly historic day for Libya and the world. A strange day as well filled with emotions for many around the world that have ever been affected by Moammar Gadhafi or witnessed the atrocities that he and his brutal regime committed. I feel a strong sense of connection with the Libyan people after my August visit and I felt compelled to write my thoughts and feelings after this historic and strange day. But the most important thing is that Libya and the world are free of the horrible tyrant forever who has blood on his hands for the past four decades of murder and terror.
It is weird that in the past few years, we have had a few days like this. After the deaths of Saddam Hussein, Osama Bin Laden and now Gadhafi; you are left with a strange feeling. You are happy that they are dead, but that is such an uneasy feeling. As normal civilized people, you have a difficult time taking joy in the death of another, even if that individual was a vicious tyrant who clearly got what he deserved. But at the same time you cannot ignore the weird feeling and cannot stop watching about it on TV.
This morning when I woke up to the news of Gadhafi’s capture and then death, it was a strange rush of emotion and I don’t even know what they were. I was immediately happy for the Libyan people and the wonderful family, especially Hussein and Sanoussi, who took my friend and I in when we visited Libya back in August. I know the suffering first hand straight from their mouths in their country in the city of Tobruk. (If you haven’t read my Libya blog post, click here.)
I immediately starting thinking about the terrible things I heard and witnessed. Mainly listening to their stories of oppression and fear. It must have been hell for those people and as my friend Sanoussi said when I was there August 28th, “Today is the first time Libyans have had anything to celebrate in four decades.” Amazing to think about in true context because as westerners we cannot imagine living like that.
I find myself glued to CNN watching the same videos over and over. I keep thinking how amazing it must be for those people who now have their country back. Surely there will be difficult days ahead for the Libyan people and their new transitional government but the worst is behind them and today is the start of the new Libya. As President Obama said earlier, “The Libyan people have won their revolution.”
It must be amazing to be a Libyan today with optimism running high for the first time in half a century. I know I was only there a short time but it was during a historic time of war and there is still a rush there for me. Also, based on my incredible experience in the country and with the people, I feel proud of and for them in achieving their liberation from tyranny.
Libya has so much potential, both in natural resources and intellectual capital to be a great country. I hope that things go the way they should for them and they can steer clear of corruption and greed that can divide a fractured nation in a volatile region. It will be interesting to follow and I for one cannot wait to visit again and see the rest of the country which includes the best preserved Roman ruins in the world. Libya has an opportunity now to become the leaders in North Africa and the Arab world in this year of the Arab Spring. I always say, “Good things happen to good people” and I believe that is what Libya has to look forward to in this amazing time of their rebirth. As for Gadhafi, well, he always called the rebels rats and ironically, he was found hiding in a rat hole like a coward…so much for fighting to the death…a hypocrite til the end.