Friday 9 December 2016

Philip Hensher: Gaddafi killing brought satisfaction, not justice

Philip Hensher

Published 22/10/2011 | 05:00

A Libyan girl queues, with others, to see the body of Colonel Gaddafi
A Libyan girl queues, with others, to see the body of Colonel Gaddafi

Colonel Muammar Gaddafi was accustomed to appear in public wearing enough insignia on his chest to cover a dining table. Whatever else his medals were awarded for, it wasn't bravery.

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Ceausescu went to his death before a firing squad singing the 'Internationale'. Saddam Hussein died shouting, "Do you consider this bravery?" But Gaddafi seems to have died the death of a coward, found in an outflow pipe, cringing. He shouted, "Don't shoot, don't shoot" and, according to one freedom fighter, "What have I done to you?" Considering the scale of Gaddafi's crimes, the freedom fighter might very well have been able to supply a precise and specific answer to the question.

Gaddafi was beaten, and, it seems, killed with a shot to the head. The images of a bloodied Gaddafi in his last moments quickly went round the world.

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