Libya: The Death of a Dictator

Death of Moammar Khadafi

In the news, we hear of Moammar Ghadafi’s death. The definition of a dictator is one who has absolute or despotic control or power. This savage of a man who held a country hostage while he, in his varied sociopathic and demented ways,  believed that he was loved by those he commandeered. The people who fought his dictatorship, did so in different ways. Some by giving up their lives, others by adhering to his rule while fighting it in the secrecy of their homes and others who feigned allegiance while believing something else. Of course there will be some who believe in the quest of one man to have sole proprietorship over the peoples and their country of domain.


What does a country do when they have been dictated to and do not have a recollection of freedom. Hopefully, the union of the people who have been freed will create a powerful democracy that they define for themselves.


I say hopefully because often when one regime ends there is a resurgence of another regime- a regime takes over so quickly that the population of fighters do not even have a chance to recoup their lost freedom, finding themselves once again in the tight fisted rules created by another power hungry, usually enigmatic jokester. Making them believe that with the impending leadership all will be well. Freedom will be held, honored, ever- respected. Meanwhile, once again in the state of foolery and innocence, the trickery begins again.  The wheel of unfortunate fortune barrels down the forsaken futures of hope held by the manifesters of freedom. Freedom is once again only for the privileged.


What are the psychological effects when a country is held in a perpetual state of imprisonment? A state where there are no choices? A state where murder, violence and idol threats are part of the diet of the culture? Really not unlike the Hitlerian rule: to survive you had to pretend to agree with the politics of the ruler. If you did not show allegiance toward the ruler, you were shot, tortured, killed maimed or all of the above.  You join the regime to become cellophane within the culture. Do not be seen. Hide in plain site.  No chance for individual thought, a sense of autonomy or even the ability to know who you are.  What chance is there for personality to develop when the commander of the country tells you what to think, how to think and when to think it?  Hiding belief systems, fear over-riding every thought, stress that leads to paranoia, internal trauma, aka PTSD and all of these have a chance to  become an intrinsic part of the personality development of a culture.


What happens when you have not experienced freedom and in an instant you are free. Ghadafi made everyone afraid of him yet, in his most exposed moment, the time of his death, a death seemingly applauded by his countrymen, they are not left  healed in the instant of his death. Their ability to trust does not immediately come into their fractured spirit.


When death, destruction and fear based laws are inscribed in the way of life, it would seem that before freedom is understood and created, the survivors of the dictators’ rule would need an emotional debriefing. It is a time for the surviving culture to understand the new roles and opportunities now available to them as part of the post-mortem of the fallen dictatorship.


Trust. Anxiety. Fear. Nightmares. All of these will be part of their healing process. If they can heal through some of the trauma of survivorship, they can begin their individual journey of being curious about what life could be like for them. It can begin a time of inquisitiveness, the exploration of the souls journey and the patching of a culture where the cloth of death, spotted with the blood and torture of many, has time to mend.


It is not about forgetting, yet learning to remember peacefully.


  1. Linda Masanimptewa says:

    Yes I believe the people of Libya will eventually have freedoms not seen there in many years. As long as there is not another dictator to take the place of this one. Many comedy shows have joked about this leader before but what dictators do is not funny. They are very oppressive and sometimes brutally so.

Speak Your Mind