Gaddafi’s demise a lesson for dictators

2011-10-22 08:44

The bloody end of self-styled “brother leader” Muammar Gaddafi this week marked the end of an era the lessons of which must be heeded by generations to come.

The first and obvious one is that no one can rule without permission forever. Dictators ­invariably govern on borrowed time and, however long it takes, their reign comes to a crashing if not bloody end.

Another lesson to be had from Gaddafi’s end is how easy it is for sovereignty to be traded at the altar of removing an unloved and unlamented demagogue.

For all their righteous anger against a brute, the National Transitional Council’s “remove-Gaddafi-by-any-means-necessary” philosophy has likely seen Libya exchange one overlord for another.

Realpolitik dictated that when it comes to international relations, everything flows from self-interest.

The nations whose Nato forces expedited Gaddafi’s oft-repeated desire to be martyred have not wasted time placing their countries in positions where they can plunder Libya’s oil and natural gas wealth for the benefit of their own countries.

The UN’s Security Council should also take a hard look at itself and admit that in allowing its influential member states to remove Gaddafi, a mockery was made of the council.

The Security Council effectively empowered Nato to effect regime change on a sovereign state.

As the open letter titled Libya, Africa and the New World Order stated, the Security Council permitted the destruction of and anarchy in Libya under the pretext of protecting its citizens from Gaddafi’s thugs.

It is abuse of the UN or its agencies to pursue partisan outcomes in sovereign states unless there is an obvious danger to regional peace and security.

To that end, the UN and it’s Security Council’s reputation was dragged along the streets of Libya like the lifeless body of that country’s former leader.

For all his many ills, Gaddafi’s critics will concede that under the flamboyant dictator, Libyans enjoyed a quality of life better than in many Western countries. This does not mean that he was a congenial figure.

Improving the quality of life of the citizenry and allowing them their human rights need not be mutually exclusive projects.

His death is also a loss to the many African states whose perennial hat passing coincided with Gaddafi’s propensity for dispensing patronage to countries and leaders willing to do his bidding and sing his praises.

For South Africa, the Gaddafi lesson speaks to the foresight the founders of our modern nation held in order to to keep those who desired a bloodfest at bay, as we moved from an oppressive regime to a democratically elected government.

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