Okay, so maybe you and I didn't personally go to Libya, pull an old, unarmed man into the street and shoot a hole through his head. But we clicked on the links to the videos, didn't we? Actually, I didn't. I refuse to celebrate and glorify killing, be it Gadhafi or Bin Ladin or anybody less notorious, whether I agree with their conduct or not.


Every generation these travails repeat themselves. When my mother was a child, it was Stalin and Mussolini dragged through the streets until they were stumps of bone and tattered flesh. It's like every once in a while, we concentrate all our negative feelings about life into a single persona and then kill it as viciously as possible. To abate our growing vengence for a time.


But evil men are not its wellspring, for vengence breeds and begets itself when killing is revenge for killing; when men who have harassed and killed the harmless are themselves harassed and killed once they have been rendered harmless.


I don't have the solution, but I can see that this is not it.

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Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 25, 2011 at 4:17am

You're right, John.  They just found another 53 bodies of Gadhafi supporters that were murdered by mobs.  I wish it were different.  However, as a historian, I can tell you that it's seldom the case.  Look at the French Revolution, it was a total slaughter spree.  France is a peaceful country now, but it took a long time.  


I was hoping they could confine their revenge to Gadhafi, but that's already not the case.

Comment by John Camilli on October 25, 2011 at 12:46am

I agree about the emotional component, but the same rationale could be made for things that Gadhafi did during his rule. Rulers have emotions too. So if we would excuse our own actions in deposing them because we were emotional, why do we not excuse their actions for the same reason?


It's not that I'm condemning anyone for what happened. I don't waste my energy trying to assign "right" or "wrong" values to anything because I think those linguistic concepts are about as useful as mayonaise on PB & J sandwich. I'm simply making the observation that these people have become the thing they hated. Did you see that someone stuck a knife up his ass as he was being wrestled around by the mob? And wasn't sanctioned rape one of the biggest problems people had with Gadhafi? Yet the first chance they had, his ousters did the same thing. And they'll argue that he did it first; that their actions were in response to his, but Gadhafi could surely have said the same thing about his own actions. Perhaps he or someone in his family was raped, and he was merely taking his own revenge for that. And now Gadhafi's supporters have more incentive to go out and violate more people. Do you think they will stand idly by after watching their "hero" get sodomized. I doubt it. But hey, at least the mob got to have its impromtu revenge. It was all worth it, right? See, not only does revenge not chage the past, a you say, it also sets the future for more of the same. Therein lies its real harm, ironically self-inflicted.


As you say, we will see what happens from here, but I fear we already know what will happen because we humans have ever responded the same way to this kind of thing, and invariably created more of it by that response. Thirty or forty years from now we will see it again, and again, and again until or unless we can manage to overcome that emotional response.



Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 24, 2011 at 5:14am

It looked as if the Egyptian revolution went well.  Their hated leader stepped down and  there wasn't much loss of life.  But now we see it's not over.  Now, the people seem to have it in for Coptic Christians and Isreallis.  Which is just stupid.  For one thing, the Coptics have been around in that area for hundreds of years longer than the Muslims and are no trouble to anyone.  They have been a peaceful minority for hundreds of years.  Why take after them now? 


Also going after Israel is just stupid.  Have they forgotten so soon how hard Israel kicked their behinds back in the 70s?  Have they forgotten how nice it is to have all that restored property and no war with Israel for 30  years?  Have they not noticed how much better Israel has gotten at fighting in the last 30 years and they haven't improved that much at all, so the hinney kicking is going to be even harder.  And if they invade Israel, they are going to be on the wrong side since they did have a good peace treaty that's been upheld by both sides all this time.  When Murback fell, it appeared the hostilities were over, but obviously, it's not over.  Which goes to show, you can never tell how these revolutions are going to go.  Even the US had another war with the UK in 1812. 


I don't know if US businesses will be willing to wait for stability or if they are going to fly in like a bunch of vultures to nab that oil.  All I can say is, we shall see.

Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 24, 2011 at 4:57am

I don't deplore Russians.  I may not understand their culture, but that does not mean I deplore them. I have a feeling my studies in Russian history are more extensive than most people's.   There are people who loved Gadhafi and say he improved many things about Libya.  Apparently, the standard of living there was much improved compared to the rest of Africa.  Not everyone hated him.


You're trying to apply logic to an emotional situation and it's not going to work.  These people are not thinking logically.  They are thinking emotionally.  Revenge is illogical, but right now they want revenge and they're determined to have it.  No, revenge is not a good idea.  It's only going to make them feel better temporarily, but it will not change the past and in the long term they aren't going to feel better for doing it either.  However, in the short run, I'm sure this revenge is feeling pretty good and releasing a lot of anger and suppressed emotions. 


This overflow of emotion may take quite awhile to dissipate.  Take  Vietnam for example, the US leaves, hurray! Everybody's happy, but the war goes on for several more years anyway until it finally peters out. The war didn't die down until the emotions did. 


I hope that these intense emotions do die down quickly, because if they don't, there's only going to be more strife and suffering.  Look at Ireland, three hundred years of war because they could not put emotion aside and deal with the situation rationally. 


Yes, John, thinking rationally and logically would be the best thing to do right now.  However, they have 42 years of pent up emotions they're dealing with right now, so we're probably not going to see that for a while yet.  In the short term, we should probably just leave them alone to work this national tantrum out.  It may die down quickly.  After all, Gadhafi did enact reforms which improved the standard of life for many people, so their angst may be less than say, the Vietnamese after the Vietnam War. 


We shall see how long it takes Libya to work out it's national anger.  Hopefully, not long, but war doesn't start on a dime and it won't stop one either.  It may be awhile.  In the meantime, we're just going to have to sit back and wait and see what this means for the long  term situation in Libya.  It could be worse (more instability) or better.


It looked as if the Egyptian revolution went well.  Their hated leader stepped down and  there wasn't much loss of life.  But now we see it's not over.  Now, the people seem to have it in for cop

Comment by John Camilli on October 24, 2011 at 12:04am

Well sure, you live in the US. We only ever heard everything that would make us deplore Russians when we were growing up. But stories are never one-sided. People do not do things because they think they are evil things that do no good. Anyone we've ever called a tyrrant or a monster has had reasons they thought were good, even if we cannot see those reasons ourselves.


A prominent modern example is the West's idealistic conflict with Islam. Ask your average American and they really do think Muslims are wrong to live the way they do. Many even view them as evil, and certainly sentiments are much the same from the other side, as idealogies are much in the business of self-promotion and less of open, two-way communication with their detractors.


That is why it is so important to show mercy at every opportunity (though certainly not stupidity), because our "enemies" (if you are the type of person with enemies, unlike me) are gunning for us too, and if we show no limits in what we will do to them for opposing us, then why should they? If we would think of ourselves as leaders, then we must lead by example, not with a crushing fist.


All dynasties fall, and how we are deposed will be a reflection of how we have ruled. The same goes for all who would rule others. Gadhafi ruled without limits, and he was overthrown the same way, but in so doing, the people who overthrew and executed him commited themselves to the same kind of rule, and the same eventual decline. Now that they have begun this new reign in blood, they are helpless to prevent it from ending in more.

Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 23, 2011 at 8:34am
Regardless of whatever horrible things he did in life, many Russians revered him then and  they still do today.  I confess I do not understand the Russian mindset that twists into allowing them to think well of guys like Stalin and Ivan the Terrible. 
Comment by Grace Fitzpatrick on October 23, 2011 at 8:25am

Historically, what happened to Gadhafi is rather common.  During the French Revolution, they not only decapitated most of their royalty and nobility, they also dug up their dead royals and nobles and threw them in the river.  Then Napoleon went on a rampage conquering Europe which was (although terrible) also a vehicle of spreading democracy and equality through the continent.  


When ever a tyrant is deposed by revolution, there is going to be a backlash. Killing those responsible for the oppression is often part of it.  How far that backlash goes in Libya remains to be seen.  Hopefully now their oppressor is dead, they will be able to stabilize and return to a state of normalcy quickly.  However, that all depends on the effectiveness of their alternative elite aka the new government and how badly oppressed the people were under Gadhafi.  The worse the oppression, the worse the backlash.  For example, in terms of oppression, Czarist Russia was pretty bad.  Therefore, it was not enough to merely kill Czar Nicolas and his family, they also had to drop the bodies in acid until the remains were almost non-existent and bury the remains in an undisclosed location.


Since the revolutionaries felt the need to defile and display the body after death - not to mention take lots of photos and videos of his dead body, I would say the backlash is probably going to be pretty bad and extend beyond just Gadhafi to his henchmen and possibly his family.  The Libyans are obviously still very upset and they most likely have the need for more revenge than just death. 


Revolution is usually very nasty business. A period of violence and turbulence after the Revolution is very common.  Seldom are the conquered leaders and generals allowed to simply leave.  The American Revolution is a noted exception.  However, the AR had several really big things going for it.  1) The level of oppression was not so high that a vast strong, alternative elite could not be formed.  In fact, the Americans not only had an alternative government set up from the beginning of the war, they also had a blueprint for governing after the war.  2) The oppressors lived on the other side of the ocean and could only be reached by several weeks of arduous sea travel.  3)The Americans kept diplomats in place in Britain and France throughout the war and these diplomats were respected and effective.  4) The British commanding generals  left shortly after the war therefore not exposing themselves to possible revenge plots. Besides they were not seen as the vehicles of oppression.  The king was and he was safe hundreds of miles away.  5)  Commanding generals, if seen as generally honorable people, aren't always killed.  For example, Lafayette was imprisoned but not killed after the French Revolution.  Chang Kai-shek and the Nationalists were allowed not only to leave but also to form their own country then Formosa now called Taiwan.  General Lee and several of the Southern generals held respected positions in society after the South's failed attempt at Revolution.   However, before Americans get too proud, one only need look at the Indian Wars to see plenty of backlash and revenge killing. 


Obviously, the answer to your question is yes, in some circumstances, the deposed tyrant is allowed to live.  How long is another question.  Sitting Bull was killed sitting peacefully in front of his house with his wives and children. Sitting Bull was not a tyrant.  However, he was a revolutionary leader of a failed revolution seen as the bad guy by many in white society. 


The big question now is will Gadhafi's henchmen and family be hunted down and killed the same way.  That remains to be seen.  A lot depends on how they are viewed by the Libyan people. 


As for Stalin, he did not die through revolution.  Whether through murder or natural causes, he simply died.  Regardless of whatever horrible thing

Comment by John Camilli on October 23, 2011 at 1:37am

Who ever said we should leave them in power? Are there no alternatives to deposing dictators than mob executions? I guess if it's one or the other I'd say go ahead and publicly torture them, disembowel them and let your kids watch, but I just don't think it has to be one or the other, and it's that dichotomistic mentality that results in people like Gadhafi. That 'if you're not my friend you're my enemy and I must rule you or kill you' mentality. The fact that all of you see it as such a black and white situation suggests to me that, given the power and influence, you would not be much better at ruling than was Gadhafi.

Once your oppressor has been deposed, and can no longer oppress you, why can you not be content to sequestor him or her in prison, or even sentence them to death in a humane manner? To turn around and immediately do the things you've called evil to the person you have called evil for doing them, is to soil the righteousness of your own liberation. You annoint your new, free governance in blood and teach the next generation of youth that there is justice and glory in killing.

"Who will not mercie unto others show, How can he mercie ever hope to have?"

-Edmund Spenser

"Nothing can make injustice just but mercy."

- Robert Frost


"Teach me to feel another's woe,

To hide the fault I see,

That mercy I to others show,

That mercy show to me"

- Alexander Pope


"The quality of mercy is not strained; it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the places beneath. It is twice blessed - by him that gives and him that takes."

- Shakespeare

Comment by Prog Rock Girl on October 21, 2011 at 10:13pm

Leave these evil men who are temporarily harmless alone and they may eventually stop being harmless. Killing an evil dictator also does not change the likelihood of the same type of dictator coming back in his/her place. If anything, killing someone once because he/she has killed many people doesn't feel like enough.


I doubt that you are anti-violence across the board. For one thing look at the misplaced sympathy of being more upset about tyrants being killed than the millions they've killed. Most people who claim to be anti-violence are only that way when it's something they're against.


The only thing I can say about mobs killing people is that mobs can just as easily do the same thing to innocent people.



Comment by John Camilli on October 21, 2011 at 2:07am
You will never be free so long as you produce individuals who believe its ok to do what was done to Gadhafi. Because once you kill the Gadhafis and Bin Ladins and Husseins, you just have more of the same kind of people to step up and take their place, and it starts all over again.



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