Thursday, October 20, 2011

Qadhafi's Golden Gun

Moammar Qadhafi died today, probably by summary execution at the hands of Libya's successful rebel forces. He died brandishing this golden pistol, which has on it the word "al-jamahiriyya," the term for the unique view of society Qadhafi tried to promote in Libya: a governmentless state governed directly by its citizens. In practice, of course, this was a form of strongman rule in which Qadhafi and his family dominated through control of the army and security forces, as well as the distribution of oil wealth.

Will Qadhafi's death matter in Libya? In practical terms, this is best left to someone with more knowledge of transitional justice and reconciliation than I have. It will be celebrated throughout the Arab world, but even there the demonstration effect for the rest of the region of the regime's fall was probably mostly spent with the fall of Tripoli.



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