Muammar Muhammad Abu Minyar al-Gaddafi ( 7 June 1942 – 20 October 2011) ruled Libya for 42 years. In 1969 he seized power in a military coup and was absolute ruler until 2011 when his government was overthrown by a popular uprising and foreign intervention. Born into the bedouin tribe of the Qadhadhfa, Gaddafi called himself “the Brother Leader" and "Guide of the Revolution”. He held his position through the use of nepotism, military force and the intrigue of the secret police. It is beyond dispute that he was a brutal, cruel man who personally supervised the execution of many who thought to oppose him. Between 1980 and 1987 Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate at least 25 critics living abroad. So I join the many, many Libyans who do not mourn the end of his rule.
But I do mourn the way his rule ended.
· I mourn the summary execution of Colonel Gaddafi alongside the road. He should have gone on trial, faced his accusers, and been confronted with the consequences of his crimes. Life is sacred, and no-one has the right to execute a prisoner without trial.
· I mourn the inevitable struggle for power in Libya. I am convinced that a transfer of power is always preferable to a vacuum where the ‘strong’ will battle it out to take over.
· I mourn the intervention of western powers in African politics. I do not see why First World countries assume it to be their right to become the policemen of the world.
· And I mourn our blood-thirsty nature that so easily embraces war as a solution for injustice, and so avidly watches violence as media entertainment.
Let us pray for Libya: for all the families who have lost people they love, for the nation to grow in political wisdom, and for peace. Let us also pray for a world where world leadership becomes less willing to send war planes to bomb the nations of others.