Larbi Sadiki writes: The Arab Spring, still unfolding, began with death. But that is how life is laboured into this world. And the significance and substance of new life can sometimes be commensurate with the “volume” of death, or the size and stature of the deceased.
Gaddafi was larger than life. He was a “prophet” of revolution, then pan-Arabism, and then pan-Africanism, gradually moving his amorphous programme of statehood from nationalism to transnationalism. On the way, he littered his political history with unruliness, spreading his death squads far and wide, lending support in funding and arms to all and sundry, from Ireland to Chad.
The the self-appointed “prophet”, mentor, architect and non-president president of Libya, “king of kings” of all Africa, wanted a larger power ratio than that occupied by demographically sparse Libya. He sought the mirage of power that would reflect the the country’s huge surface area and the largesse beneath the Libyan Sahara, its reserves of black gold.
One thing stood in his way: his narcissism. It was bigger than even that of Narcissus himself.
That is why the death of Gaddafi unleashes huge potentialities and possibilities that will enliven the remarkable Libyan people. Now it is their turn – after the thousands of deaths, injuries, the devastation, pain and suffering – to breathe life into the new Libya, the post-Gaddafi Libya. But there are challenges.
There is no need for Libyans to reinvent the wheel. The task now is to “quarantine” their passions. Like their Egyptian or Tunisian neighbours, Libyans should not surrender their revolution. Indeed, the bathing water of this revolution has been bloody, and ought to be poured out, discarded. The baby born from this process will need more than nursing: It will need many loving, but – above all else – “thinking”, parents.
Today, they are tasked with laying down their weapons and their emotions to nurture their revolution, or risk the very life of the infant-revolution’s condition. New conditioning – post-conflict reconstruction – needs rational tutelage. This needs to be rationality within Libyan specificity, and all of its complexities – tribal, regional, ideological, and even personal – must now measure to the challenge of life-giving in all its entirety.