The Daily Pennsylvanian is a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

After a long and tireless effort since the start of his overthrow in August, Colonel Muammar Gaddafi of Libya is dead.

Yesterday, Libyan rebels killed the hated dictator who controlled Libya for more than four decades. They captured Gaddafi in his hometown of Sirte after a North Alantic Treaty Organization airstrike hit the former leader’s convoy. The convoy was trying to flee as Sirte was under attack.

“Today marks the end of a long and painful chapter for the people of Libya who now have the opportunity to determine their own destiny in a new and democratic Libya,” President Barack Obama said on Oct. 20, adding to the country’s citizens, “you have won your revolution.”

Students at Penn also recognized the importance of the dictator’s death.

“It is my hope that the death of Gaddafi will signal a paramount shift in the geopolitical outlook of the North African region as a whole,” College senior and International Affairs Association president Zach Stone said.

“It is quixotic to think that immediate peace and stability can be achieved in a post-conflict area like Libya,” Stone added, though he believes that Libya will eventually “serve as a beacon for stability and human rights excellence.”

“This is such a shocking moment in history,” Engineering junior Brian Horwich said. “It brings back the recent memories of the killing of Osama Bin Laden.”

College senior Matt Correia expressed a similar sentiment, calling Gaddafi’s death “bloody surprising.”

“Watching the video of his capture on Anderson Cooper 360 and seeing the pipe he was hiding in was reminiscent of Hussein’s capture earlier this decade. Like Hussein, Gaddafi seemed utterly defeated and helpless.”

There is still uncertainty about the final moments of the dictator’s life, with some saying that he was executed and others claiming he was killed in a firefight.

Prime Minister of Libya Mahmoud Jibril read from a forensic report at a news conference in Tripoli that “‘Gaddafi was taken out of a sewage pipe … when we started moving him, he was hit by a bullet in his right arm, and when they put him in a truck he did not have any other injuries … When the car was moving it was caught in crossfire between the revolutionaries and Gaddafi forces in which he was hit by a bullet in the head.’” According to this report, Gaddafi died on the way to a hospital.

Video footage from CNN shows Gaddafi wounded but alive, as well as the struggle that ensued. Multiple amateur videos of the events have gone viral over the internet in the last few hours.

Celebrations have roared throughout Libya since the announcement. “This is a momentous day in the history of Libya,” Obama said. “Above all, today belongs to the people of Libya. This is a moment for them to remember all those who suffered and were lost under Gaddafi and look forward to the promise of a new day.”

But the process has only begun. Now that Gaddafi has been killed, the new Libyan government has a daunting task ahead. They have promised the international community to create a democracy out of a country that has had a single dictator for the past 42 years and has never had a democratic government in its history.

“It’s time to start a new Libya, a united Libya,” Jibril said. “One people, one future.”

Libyan administrators reported that an official liberation announcement would be made in the next day or so, and a timeline leading up to free elections would also be released.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy responded to the news, saying, “The liberation of Sirte must signal … the start of a process … to establish a democratic system in which all groups in the country have their place and where fundamental freedoms are guaranteed.”

Obama ended his address on Thursday with a warning to other dictators in the region whose control has been challenged through the Arab Spring. “For the region, today’s events prove once more that the rule of an iron fist inevitably comes to an end,” the president said.

Comments powered by Disqus

Please note All comments are eligible for publication in The Daily Pennsylvanian.