Libya after Gaddafi

The recent death of Colonel Gaddafi brings about a new dawn for Libya. However, as political unrest still wages, the future of the country has yet to be determined. Libyans first challenge was to usurp the dictatorial head of state, but the violence with which this aim was realised is far from the ideal beginning for a democracy hoping to uphold law and order.

So far, international reactions to Gaddafi’s death have been triumphant and celebratory. US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, spiritedly stated: “we came, we saw, he died”. This sense of victory has dominated media reports and little attention has been paid to questions of the incident’s legitimacy.

The ambiguity surrounding Gaddafi’s death is not dissimilar to the defeat of Osama Bin Laden in late spring. In both the cases, seemingly vengeful actions have undermined the rule of law. Adherence to international law required Gaddafi to be taken to the International Criminal Court. Human rights groups deemed this a necessary course of action, but other analysts argued that such a move would have been difficult, especially considering potentially embarrassing implications.

The NTC has announced that a democratic election is expected in 2013. Between now and then, there is much work to be done before stability is secured in Libya; weaponry needs to be collected from civilians, an infrastructure for supplying electricity must be established, running water and medical supplies must exist within the state and a state police force will need to be reinstated to replace rebel factions.

Oil production is steadily increasing, but overall output is still comparatively low. Armed militant groups are known to be causing trouble at refineries; these will need to be disbanded in order to restore confidence in Libya’s oil industry. It is also likely that some workers will face harassment for supporting Gaddafi’s regime, and this intimidation must be kept at a minimum.

Labeling citizens as either pro or anti-Gaddafi serves to undermine state order and such distinctions must cease if Libya is to avoid civil unrest. While schools begin to reopen, issues of discrimination and a considered curriculum need to be addressed in order to secure a united and unbiased educational system. The path to democracy will be a long one for Libya, and its people must ensure that their euphoria does not interfere with the methods in which they reach their ultimate goal.

“Labeling citizens as either pro or anti-Gaddafi serves to undermine state order”

Gaddafi’s shooting was questionable, and the killing of 53 of his loyalists last week demonstrates that authorities need to swiftly push forward with implementing fair trials and sentencing in order for Libya to progress with a firmer awareness of human rights. At the very least, however, a foundation has been laid that promises the possibility for future change.