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Guts but no glory: Gaddafi images over-the-top

Published time: October 21, 2011 06:27
Edited time: October 21, 2011 22:03

This still image from YouTube courtesy of CNN from October 20, 2011 shows the bloodied Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi (AFP Photo / CNN)

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Libya is turning a new page in its history following the killing of its former leader Muammar Gaddafi. But the footage of Gaddafi's dead and broken body was so graphic; some are wondering why it was broadcast for the public to see.

On Friday, the United Nations human rights office has urged for inquiry into Gaddafi’s death.

“It is unclear how he died. There is a need for an investigation," Reuters quotes UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville as saying at a news briefing in Geneva.

Referring to separate cell phone images showing a wounded Gaddafi first alive and then later dead amidst a jumble of anti-Gaddafi fighters after his capture in his hometown of Sirte on Thursday, he added: "Taken together, they were very disturbing."

But for now, the death of Gaddafi is being applauded around the world.

But the frenzied mob cheering the colonel’s death is about as far as it gets from a trial at The Hague. Even by those who champion democratic justice.

The death of the former Libyan strongman was hailed by the British prime minister. Earlier in September, David Cameron pledged that Britain would help hunt down the Libyan leader.

“People in Britain salute your courage and while we are proud of the role we played to help, we know this was your revolution from your bravery. You showed the world you would get of a dictator and you would choose freedom,” he said.

The declaration comes as a far cry from Cameron’s insistence back in March that Gaddafi be put on trial at the International Criminal Court.

NTC fighters were even dissuaded from their shoot-to-kill policy – agreeing in August they would take him alive.

“I don’t think he would have got a particularly fair trial in any case,” argues Chris Nineham from the Stop the War Coalition. “But nevertheless what has basically been a summary execution has been a very barbaric end to what, I believe, has been a very barbaric operation from the start As I say, this NATO operation was never supposed to be about regime change, but that’s really what was has been the outcome of it.”

The back-slapping has been fuelled by the gruesome footage of Gaddafi’s body splashed across headlines on Thursday. The video showed Gaddafi was still alive when he was captured, but clearly that did not last long.

Some suggest this was an execution and question why this is being applauded.

“Gaddafi was assassinated after he was caught wounded. This is a very heinous crime against a wounded man and the Arab public will see it as such,” political analyst professor Ibrahim Alloush is convinced. “I’ve talked to people who disliked Gaddafi and who disliked the way he was killed. They think this tells you something about the morality of the so-called revolutionaries.”

This is a view shared by many on Twitter. There are several posts already concerned about the coverage, questioning the necessity of such graphic images. And why Gaddifi’s death – dictator or not – has been reported with so much jubilation.

One tweet, by @matthewburgess1, has labeled the images horrific and suggests any other figure would not have such graphic images displayed.

Another suggests media outlets are having a competition.

Sally Bercow, a prominent activist in the UK says she sees why the same was not done for Osama Bin Laden.

Back then, President Obama refused to release the images of Bin Laden’s mangled body, saying it could incite more violence or be used as propaganda.

But for the Gaddafi, the vultures were too quick.

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