From Sirte with Blood (By Babatunde Fagbayibo)

Posted: October 21, 2011 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , , ,

The ignominious end of Muammar Ghaddafi – the Brother Leader, King of all African Kings and the self-styled President of the ‘United States of Africa’ – will remain a defining moment of the year of revolution (2011). Unlike his peers in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt, the Brother Leader, rebuffed all entreaties to quit power and promised to fight till the end. Having ruled for 42 years, it was not surprising that Ghaddafi not only saw Libya as his personal property but, in a warped way, viewed all calls for him to step down as downright irrational. Megalomaniac, erratic and delusional, Ghaddafi struggled to understand why his people would protest against his autocratic style of governance. While the rest of the world regarded Ghaddafi as a clown, susceptible to making outlandish statements on the global arena, Libyans had to deal with his brutal reign. Hundreds of thousands were either sent to jail or killed for daring to question the wisdom of the Brother Leader.

The picture of Ghaddafi’s bloodied face and lifeless body not only marked the end of a bloody era but provides a lesson for other dictators in the Middle East and Africa. The symbol of Sirte as Ghaddafi’s birthplace and the town where the process leading to the creation of the African Union (AU) began has now been replaced by blood. When African dictators think of Sirte, it will no longer be about African integration or Ghaddafi’s misplaced generosity but the possibility of a bloody termination of life and power. It will lend credence to the African saying – ‘the death of a contemporary sharpens ones’ sense of mortality’. It will provide a haunting reminder that no fortress is impregnable once the people have determined to put an end to years of repression and servitude. Granted that the Libyan revolution succeeded primarily because of NATO’s support, one cannot discount the resilience and the steel determination of Libyans to put an end to Ghaddafi’s tyrannical rule.

The political landscape in Africa is still littered with a number of ‘dinosaurs in power’, who have perfected the art of perpetual rule. Through electoral chicanery, intimidation of opposition and corruption, such leaders have remained in power for decades. Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Isaias Afewarki (Eritrea), Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso), Paul Biya (Cameroon), Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe), Obiango Nguema (Equatorial Guinea), Eduardo dos Santos (Angola) and Omar Al Bashir (Sudan) are typical examples. One only hopes that these leaders will learn from Ghaddafi’s downfall.

‘From Sirte with blood’ is not only metaphorical but provides a chilly picture of what can happen to dictators who delusionally think that they can remain in power through the bloody suppression of the masses.

Follow this writer on Twitter @BabsFagbayibo

  1. tau says:

    You live by the gun… goes the old saying. It remains to be seen, however, what the future holds for Libya. As it stands, Libyans have no official army, they cannot account for brother leader’s missing armaments, and they have significant infrastructural damage. Over and above that, those youngsters have tasted blood…. But still- nice piece!

  2. My Opinion about the Mugabes, Paul Biyas, the Dos Santos and all the self styled emperors and kings of sovereign african states: they have stepped on the land mine and cannot not remove their feet voluntarily. it will take conscious, deliberate and determined will- either from their subjects or external aggressions- to drive them out.

    For Libya, the real work has just began.
    And NATO? If the west can deploy so much in ousting the dictator, they should be ready to not only end military action (as President Obama has stated),but must now rebuild the infrastructure that their bombers pulled down, they must now withdraw the arms they supplied to the rebels, they must now answer the question – what happens to the rebels?

    The African Union is yet to display such boldness that is expected of a truly independent continent. Africa ought and should solve her problem. She should say so.

  3. Phila says:

    Very nice piece Tunde, I think you are ready for parliament 🙂

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