By Muhammad min Libya
24 October 2011
About a year ago, I was in Mecca performing the Umrah pilgrimage and praying for Gaddafi's death. I had come to the view that Gaddafi was the main cause of all the problems in my country, and the only solution I could think of was to pray for his end. Maybe one day I would wake up to hear that he had died and someone else would replace him. This was the only hope I had of a better future for Libya.
The scene of Gaddafi's death on the asphalt of the desert road between Sirte and Misrata at the hands of Libyan rebels is something that I did not even dare to pray for.
I went today to the city of Misrata for a specific reason; to bear witness before Gaddafi's dead body. Many Libyan citizens stood in a long line to take a final look at the man who inflected harm upon each and every one of us through four decades of his dictatorship.
When I passed by his frail body I thought: is this man worth all the suffering Libyans had to go through? The figures are not yet clear but we know for sure that thousands were killed; hundreds of women were reportedly raped, not to mention the huge toll of those who were injured, many so seriously as to lose their limbs.
It is due to all this suffering that you see Libyans celebrating here in Tripoli as if they were living in a beautiful dream that they never want to wake up from. It's a powerful mix of emotions: the euphoria of victory, vengeance for the blood of the martyrs, and justice served for the oppressor.
This might explain why the Libyans were in a state of hysterical joy. Tripoli has experienced, for two nights, unprecedented joy and happiness. No one really cared about the details of Gaddafi's death and whether he was killed in an exchange of fire or executed on the spot.
What's important for them is that justice has been served. The nightmare that haunted Libyans was the possibility that Gaddafi might be able to escape to a neighbouring country and launch attacks against Libyans from there. Given the amount of wealth he possessed, his character, and the complicity of many governments in his crimes, this was a nightmare well founded.
There was a real fear that Gaddafi might turn into the world's most dangerous terrorist, and that's why we feel that Gaddafi's death has put an end to all the obstacles that could have stood in the way of Libya's future. Our nightmare is over.
But although Gaddafi was the main cause of all the troubles of Libya, his death does not mean that all these troubles will go away overnight. We are not living in a fairy tale. We know the death of the villain will not make the clouds disappear, the green shoots grow and the flowers bloom.
Libya still faces the same problems which brought the revolution, only now we have to heal the wounds of war endured over the past eight months. The revolution was forced to postpone all its other demands as it pursued the most pressing demand of all – overthrowing Gaddafi.
The revolution must not stop here; it has to fulfil the fair demands of the people: a constitution that preserves the rights of all citizens, establishing the basis of a civil state, providing a decent living for the people, eliminating all forms of financial and administrative corruption, and reforming the vital sectors of the state – education, health and security. And that's before we talk of rebuilding what Gaddafi destroyed over the last eight months.
But most important of all, we should focus on rediscovering our common humanity for coming generations because the real wealth of our country is its youth – as the revolution proved.
All these challenges awaiting the coming Libyan government are no less daunting than removing Gaddafi from power. Despite my complete optimism and confidence in the ability of the sons of Libya to complete the journey of the revolution until it succeeds, and my confidence in the integrity of the National Transitional Council, we must remain vigilant. As Bob Marley said: "The people who are trying to make this world worse are not taking the day off."
The revolution could yet be derailed. So we all must give more than is expected of us and not just what is required of us. As my friend, Ahmed, wrote on the page of Gad al-Sari, an activist and blogger who was lost: "We promise you that we will continue the journey.. And we shall never allow another Gaddafi to get hold of us ... whether it was someone wearing an expensive suit, one of the rebels or a man of religion ... We promise." This is what I dare to pray for until we complete our revolution.
This article was commissioned and translated in collaboration with Meedan. The translator was Wessam Muhammed.
Source: The Guardian, London