Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Sadiq Hamed & Mummar Gadhafi
The assassination of Mummar Gadhafi was an ugly affiar as it was broadcast by Zapruder-cell phone cameras on the scene around the world.
While loud cries were heard denouncing the manner of his death, as I see it happening I think of Sadiq Hamed and the thousands of other Libyans who Gadhafi executed for disagreeing with him.
Hamed was educated in America and returned home, was arrested and hung in a school gymnasium for his crimes against the state. You can now view his execution by hanging on Youtube, but nobody complained at the time and there was no world wide outcry against the inhumanity of it. Nor do I recall any outcry against the mass execution of over one thousand political prisoners in Tripoli, an event that eventually sparked the revolution of Feb. 15 when a lawyer hired by the families of the victims was arrested.
In the end, when the murders and assassinations finally end, there should be a tally of the martyrs, not only the martyrs of the revolution, but those who died under the Gadhafi regime.
My first introduction to Arab sentiments over the value of human life was in the fictional film “The Flight of the Phoenix,” in which a group of plane crash survivors in the African desert seek assistance from a band of wandering Bedouin tribesmen. Two of the men visit their camp, and the next day they are found dead with their throats cut.
As the Arab curved swords and daggers are made for such tactics, the United States Marine Corps take their nickname “leathernecks” from the leather bands worn around their necks to prevent being killed in such a fashion during the Barbary pirate wars, which included Triopli.
During that war the first American ship to encounter the pirates in action reported that the enemy captain twice faked surrender before finally really surrendering. He then executed his own first officer and threw his body overboard. It was later reported that when this Captain made it back to Tripoli, the Bahaw Yousef Karamanli had him placed naked sitting backwards on a donkey and paraded through the streets of Tripoli to the jeers of its citizens.
While an entire nation and race cannot be judged as cutthroats, the Arab penchant for quick and lethal justice for minor offenses was brought out in one of the first stories I read about Gadhafi’s 1969 coup. The Wheelus Air Force base web site included recollections of some young students and children of American service families in Libya, recalling one young Libyan who loved Elvis, America and everything American. All he wanted to do was visit America, but shortly after the revolution, one of the Americans he knew came upon him in downtown Tripoli, lynched, hung for simply liking America.
Then with the beginning of the Feburary 17th Revolution, Huda, the mayor of Benghazi, who personally pulled the rope that killed Sadiq Hamed, was one of the first targets of the free Libyan rebels, who burned her house down. Huda "the executioner," as they call her, was reportedly arrested.
It wasn't until after the revolution began that the rest of the world learned about the 1,000 political prisoners who Gadhafi had executed at a Tripoli prison, and whose families had hired a lawyer to seek some semblance of justice. When the lawyer was arrested on February 15, the families protests developed into a full fledged revolt. As the city of Benghazi fell, and the security forces left, one of the first places that the revolutionary rioters attacked was the home of the mayor, H, the horrible, who had personally executed some political prisoners at a school gymnasium, executions that are now shown over the internet on Youtube, much like Gadhafi’s execution at the hands of a mob is being shown.
While I have been repulsed by the scenes of the living Gadhafi being tortured and his dead body being paraded around like a hunter’s trophy, I am led to think of the deaths a few days earlier of the Australian aid worker and the Benghazi business owner who left a wife and four daughters behind, making them the last of the martyrs of Sirte.
Hopefully, Gadhafi himself will be the last of the maryters.