Hisham Matar writes:
We got rid of Muammar Gaddafi. I never thought I would be able to write these words. I thought it might have to be something like: “Gaddafi has died of old age”; a terrible sentence, not only because of what it means but also the sort of bleak and passive future it promises. Now rebel forces have reached Tripoli, we can say we have snatched freedom with our own hands, paid for it with blood. No one now will be more eager to guard it than us.
This is a tremendously important victory for Libyans and for any nation wanting to control its future. Gaddafi tried to give a masterclass to men like the Syrian dictator, Bashar al-Assad, on how to crush a civilian uprising. Assad’s violent crimes in recent days show not only the stupidity of that regime but also how it was darkly inspired by the Libyan example. Just as the people of the Arab world have gained strength and confidence from one another’s victories, Arabic dictatorships too have been looking to each other.
Libya is critical because it is where the Tunisian and Egyptian domino effect might have stopped. The Syrian people are now stronger, and although I hope they will not need to sacrifice what we have had to sacrifice, I know that their hearts are bolder today than they were yesterday. There are moments in history when brotherhood between people no longer seems an abstract idea. Libya’s revolution has undermined every totalitarian rule and every oppressive individual. It has inspired that most profound ingredient in any uprising – a nation’s ability to imagine a better reality.