Fourty-two years of rule are a very long time. No matter if historians will explore Middle Eastern or African matters, they will encounter the Gaddafi factor, time and again. When exploring European matters, they will, to some degree, happen on his traces, too. When he or his clan opened their big wallets, European institutions were happy recipients.
No room here for the ways European and other leaders celebrate the death of a bad man today. No matter on which side they stood in March this year – there are too many big mouths in Europe on both sides.
There isn’t much reason to listen to those who mourn Gaddafi either.
But there are people who should be remembered – people like those who were killed by assassins from the orbit of Libya’s East Berlin embassy, or Yvonne Fletcher, who died from shots from inside the Libyan embassy in London.The victims of the Lockerbie bombing – with some likelihood, they were victims of Gaddafi’s government, too.
And that would only be those killed in Europe.
“Tunisia now lives in fear”, The Economist quoted Gaddafi in January:
Families could be raided and slaughtered in their bedrooms and the citizens in the street killed as if it was the Bolshevik or the American revolution.
That would have been too high a price to pay for Tunisian democracy, but not when it came to the defense of Gaddafi’s own rule. In February, the brother-leader reportedly vowed to kill Libyan protesters house by house.
What was, or will be, the price for Libyan democracy? Some sources put the number of deaths as a result of civil war as high as thirty-thousand, in April. If there will be democracy, remains to be seen.