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Death Of Muammar Gaddafi


PaulS
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I don't think this post will offend and it is certainly not my intention, but I am interested in what forum members think of the death of Gaddafi and how it fits with their worldview/theology. I use Gaddafi's death as the case in question due to its clear interest around the world, but I guess it could go for any death/murder/execution (the news I'm reading at present is unclear whether Gaddafi was killed in action or whether he was executed by a mob once captured - from what I can see at present it seems to be leaning towards the latter).

 

I read a wide range of diverse and interesting views on this site when it comes to God, who we are, what part (or not) God plays in the world, and even thoughts about us being a part of God ourselves.

 

I read one comment in the news something along the lines of "whilst we don't approve of the unauthorised execution of Gaddafi, we will not mourn him".

 

I'm not seeking to debate whether his death was justified or enter into arguments about the death penalty and so on. More so I am just interested in reading others views on the matter and how such tie in with their thoughts of God and who we are.

 

So, where does the death of someone like Gaddafi fit in your worldview?

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Paul,

 

It seems to me, leaders and governments such as Gaddafi 's have come and gone for the past centuries. Such is the world we live in. Times and governments change and hopefully will be for the better. Gaddafi's death is no different to me than anyone else's. We are born into that which we are born into, We live out our dream for better or for worse as an integral part of the whole and when our time is done we move on. I see no reason to give thought to Gaddafi's death anymore than anyone else's that i have little real knowledge of concerning the individual , the real circumstances of their death nor have i been given any significant control or influence over the matter.

 

Perhaps you could call that my worldview?

Joseph.

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I've given thought to this kind of situation before, connected to the killings of other greatly despised and hated tyrants, dictators, criminals, etc. So while my initial reaction to this Ghadafi killing was a knee-jerk aversion to the brutality toward even his body after death, my previous considerations kicked in pretty quickly and moderated that quite a bit.

 

I cannot, and I think probably anyone else here cannot, possibly know, comprehend, empathize with, people that have suffered, especially long sufferred, under the brutal oppression of such a man and/or regime represented by any such man or group of men.

I recognize that I simply cannot possibly even imagine what life has been like for those people, how it has affected their lives, their families and loved ones. I can only be distanced from their reality, for having only seen and heard media coverage of what has happened, sitting here in my safe and comfortable life.

 

I cannot judge, therefore, the reactions and responses of those actually living that reality. I have tended to come to a position that such responses venting so much anger, rage, upon such a man, even his dead body, and celebration of his end, by those that have suffered under him, whether it conforms to my own views of right and wrong or not, is something those people may have to go through toward dealing with the horrors they've experienced. I am inclined to say, let them vent their pain, anger, frustration, that i cannot even comprehend, as they feel need to.

 

From a biblical perspective, consider there are quite a few occasions described in the OT of such brutality against tyrants meeting their end, often in both how executions were carried out, and how their dead bodies were mutilated and degraded. Those that live by the sword, also die by the sword, I think that same principle can be extended to those that live by brutality without mercy toward their victims are also subject to die by brutality without mercy by their victims.

 

So I put aside the images, thoughts, of the horrible brutality of the end of a man such as this, it is not mine to judge. I did not experience what those people have, I cannot criticize their venting of what they feel. My humanity can never rejoice in the death of another human, but my conscience and sense of justice can rejoice in the end of what that person did, represented.

 

Jenell

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I see it no differently than the execution of Richard Speck or John Wayne Gasey .

 

It is ungracious to kill anyone. It is also ungracious to lock someone in a room for the rest of their life. Personally I would prefer death.

 

steve

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For some, myself included, there is a distinction between a person and the intentional actions of that person. The intentional actions of a person such as Gaddifi indicate a complete objectification all other beings. In other words, Gaddifi was playing out a distorted image of himself as G-d, not uncommon in the history of human behavior. It would appear that, in his world, no human not suiting his purpose was worthy of survival.

 

The negative legacy of a Gaddafi is double (if not triple) when it comes to human suffering. There is the individual lost to the individual and there is the individual lost to others. The third loss is in the mutual loss.

 

Suffering of this kind is the unmaking of the world.

 

Myron

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I see it no differently than the execution of Richard Speck or John Wayne Gasey .

Steve,

 

I see a difference. While I also disagree with executing Speck and Gasey, at least their fate was the result of an orderly (but far from perfect) process of justice with their day in court. Gaddafi apparently died at the hands of a disorderly mob of excited and passionate young men.

 

George

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So true, Myron.

I think the most terrible legacy of the whole mess is the Libyan population having lived over 40years under this brutal regime have no established cultural and social or even psychological structures in place to serve as foundation for trying to build, from scratch, even a reasonably functional government and society.

 

Jenell

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What person who has not been there, at the hands of extreme prejudice, can lay claim to the the the fact that they themselves would never commit an attrocity?

I would hope that I would not, but not having been there, I couldn't know.

 

George

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I think the most terrible legacy of the whole mess is the Libyan population having lived over 40years under this brutal regime have no established cultural and social or even psychological structures in place to serve as foundation for trying to build, from scratch, even a reasonably functional government and society.

Jenell,

 

I know little about Libya specifically but have spent a lot of time in the Middle East. One should not assume that because of political tyranny that there are no social or psychological structures in place. Generally in the ME, there are strong social structures; family, tribal, religious, etc.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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I wish I knew how I felt about Ghadafi's death, and the death penalty.

My instant gut feeling is terrible sadness at murder - and a microsecond later a feeling of "good! he got what he deserved". The feelings, unfortunately, were equally balanced. I know I should be outraged at it all, but I don't know if I am. I can be terribly wish-washy about things!

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First, FWIW, the traditional, Bedouin name was spelled Gadhafi.

 

I think Jenell summed up my feelings on the matter:

 

From a biblical perspective, consider there are quite a few occasions described in the OT of such brutality against tyrants meeting their end, often in both how executions were carried out, and how their dead bodies were mutilated and degraded. Those that live by the sword, also die by the sword, I think that same principle can be extended to those that live by brutality without mercy toward their victims are also subject to die by brutality without mercy by their victims.

 

Libya, like many Arab states in the Middle East, is still struggling to emerge from the Bedouin tribal mentality that spawned the likes of a Col. Gadhafi.

 

The death of Gadhafi represents the end of a bloody era of strongmen and tyrants, and moves one more society out of the dark ages and into a more enlightened, civilized rebirth.

 

I don't rejoice in the death of one man, but rather; rejoice with a nation emerging from the darkness of a brutal system of tribal dynasties and moving toward a more egalitarian, secular (maybe even democratic) society.

 

It is not for us to judge the actions of those who spent decades under the rule of a brutal dictatorship. We ought to simply extend the hand of friendship and aid to those seeking to rebuild a civil society.

 

NORM

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Jenell,

 

I know little about Libya specifically but have spent a lot of time in the Middle East. One should not assume that because of political tyranny that there are no social or psychological structures in place. Generally in the ME, there are strong social structures; family, tribal, religious, etc.

 

George

 

You are correct about the ME in general, however, in the case of Libya, Col Gadhafi ran the country in a very NON middle eastern way. It was a corrupt society built on many layers of patronage and deference to members of Gadhafi's family and tribe. In the past several years, Gadhafi shunned Islam and embraced a "Super African Emperor" persona. I mean, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed the abrupt abandonment of the military get-up and the adoption of African robes and dress.

 

The US had actually normalized relations with Gadhafi under Bush II (much to the chagrin of all of his terrorism-era victims). Sadly, it would appear that the US has a vested interest in the kind of stability a dictator like Gadhafi creates. Of course, it helps that Libya has oil.

 

NORM

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Why be outraged and why a need to feel concerning that which we have little real knowledge of? Why do we need to have opinions on everything?

 

Probably because this is a forum with members that have experience in these countries and have friends and family there. Of course, you don't have to participate if you so choose.

 

NORM

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Norm,

 

I do apologize for a very poorly put post above. When i wrote it i meant to be supportive of Yvonne's statement in the post immediately above mine which said..." I wish I knew how I felt about Ghadafi's death" and "I know I should be outraged at it all, but I don't know if I am"

 

My response "Why be outraged and why a need to feel concerning that which we have little real knowledge of? Why do we need to have opinions on everything?" was not to say that people here shouldn't express their opinion on whatever they like but rather as an introspective question to Yvonne that might result in a conclusion that it is also okay not to be outraged nor to have an opinion concerning his death especially since we may have very limited real knowledge of the facts. And of course also because perhaps we don't really need to have an opinion on everything.

 

I certainly see how it could be taken wrong not only by others but even by Yvonne. Please disregard any possible interpretation other than what i have clarified here as my intentions.

 

Thanks for your understanding,

Joseph

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Joseph, thank you. Yes, your explanation makes sense of you comment now. In this light, I must agree with you. First, that there is any reason we 'should' or feel we should have an opinion on anything or everything. In some things, even if reasonably well informed, we just don't have enough care or concern for the matter to hold an opinion, or one that we would express to another. In some things,it just plain isn't any of our business. And in others, we can feel we just don't know enough about it to form an opinion one way or another. And you are right, we are often made to feel we 'should' have an opinion in some matter.

 

In some matters, we can for a number of reasons, like Yvonne says, find arriving at an opinion not so easy a matter, feel there are conflcting and complicating factors that have at least thus far kept us from feeling settled on any one particular position or opinion. I am myself generally against the death penalty in or present society, but even so, still hold a lot of conditional thoughts about it.

 

By conditional, I mean, for example, that under our present system here in the US, there seems to me no compelling reason for the death penalty. The relatively small percentage of cases in which the death penalty is an option doesn't amount to a signficant strain on over burdening our prisons, that would allow life long incarceration of those deemed too dangerous to be turned loose upon society. To me, that is a signficant diference from say amore undeveloped primitive culture lacking our kind of secure fanilites for confinement. In the latter, the death penalty for dangerous individuals might be on pretty muchthe same basis as destroying a vicious dangerous animal that presented continued risk of harm to citizens. Not a matter of punishment or vengeance, just practical protection of society. We do have that capacity, so I see no valid reason for the death penalty. Its socially sanctioned and implemented killing without compelling reason for protecting society.

Also of great concern to me is the signficant number of death row convictions of people later proven innocent, or cases in which at least there is room for question of innocence. Being as resident of Texas, the clear death penalty champion of America, perhaps I feel this more stronglyand personally than some. If feel criteria for cases eligible for death penalty is totally wrong, in that while severity and type of of offense is given high consideration, the kind of 'evidence' required for conviction isn't. Eye-witness testimony is notoriously fallable, forensic evidence is often poorly handled and presented to juries in contrived contexts, etc. Cases convicted on these kinds of evidence always leave room for doubt...quite different from, say, where some man stands up in a public place and shoots someone, with surveillance videos capturing it all, and he is tackled and taken into custody on the spot.

 

But even with irrefutable evidence, I still feel that as we do have adequate secure confinement facilites, execution is no more effective at preventing a criminals release back into society, orat least shouldn't be, than life sentencing. Its simply vengeance.

 

One reason, really the main reason, Texas reinstated the death penalty after having ceased it for some years, for those of that may not know this, was a failure to have 'life without option for parole' sentencing option. When Texas ceased the death penalty a few decades ago, those convicted and sentenced on 'Death Row' had their sentences commuted to 'life'. Some of those then eventually qualified for parole, and were actually released on parole. Several murdered again, at least one in a very spectacular and emotionally inciting crime spree. It was because that brutal multiple murder by one orginally sentenced to death, but whose sentence was reduced to 'life', which resulted in his being released on parole to kill again, that the public outrage of Texans caused Texas to reinstate the death penalty, and Texas has been executing with a vengeance ever since.

That should never have happened, simple common sense should have prevented it. Setting up the option of 'life without option of parole' would have prevented it. But until Texans can be convinced, if thats even possible, that can't happen again, Texas will keep executing people.

 

Jenell

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Actually, there is another possibility in Ghadhafi's shooting other than the uncontrolled rage of a victim.....this thought did occur to me the day the news broke, and I saw the vide footage, am now hearing it raised through news sources.

 

I think it entirely possible the shooter wasn't motivated out of rage, but self-preservation, someone who, if Ghadaffi stayed alive, might have been 'outed' by the desperate dictator as a Ghadaffi spy, and infiltrator, among the rebels.

 

That it wasn't a hot blooded murder, but a cold blooded murder.

 

Jenell

Edited by JenellYB
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Norm,

 

I do apologize for a very poorly put post above.

 

I certainly see how it could be taken wrong not only by others but even by Yvonne. Please disregard any possible interpretation other than what i have clarified here as my intentions.

 

You know, now that I look back on it, I should have realized that - the comment seemed so out of character for your normal discourse. No harm, no foul.

 

NORM

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Col Gadhafi ran the country in a very NON middle eastern way. It was a corrupt society built on many layers of patronage and deference to members of Gadhafi's family and tribe. In the past several years, Gadhafi shunned Islam and embraced a "Super African Emperor" persona. I mean, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed the abrupt abandonment of the military get-up and the adoption of African robes and dress.

NORM

Norm,

 

Just a point of clarification. When I was referring to social structures in the Middle East, I was referring to non-political.

 

George

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There have been several references to "tribal" in the comments including mine which I think sometimes implies primitive. I did not intend this meaning or connotation.

 

I think we sometimes think of the nation-state as some natural form of organization. A group that doesn't fit into this structure is seen as primitive and pre-modern. I would point out that the nation-state is a recent development in human history and does not have a consistent theoretical foundation. Not only are we unclear on what should comprise and define a nation state (geography, ethnicity, race, language, religion, etc.), but even this more recent development is beginning to fray (see EU, NATO, GATT, WTO, 'illegal' immigration, etc.)

 

Also, the notion of nation-state and a democratic political structure is one that Europeans and Americans have imposed on others and it was not always a nice fit. One of the problems, IMO, in Afghanistan is attempting to impose a American/European political structure on basically a tribal society and without trying to meld the existing social structure into some kind of representative government.

 

George

Edited by GeorgeW
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