Libyan freedom fun: hangover to come?
The graphic footage of Colonel Gaddafi's demise was a blood-stained image which marked the end of the old regime. And while questions over his death continue to cause controversy, some fear the sanguine beginning of Libya without the colonel also hints at a bloody future.
Ex-leader body off display
The Libyan interim government has said Gaddafi’s body will no longer be on public view. The gates have been closed on the fourth day of being exposed to people. Since Friday, Gaddafi’s fellow countrymen have been lining up for a family photo with his bloodstained corpse. Hundreds of people waited outside the freezer for their turn to pose for photos with the dead colonel as a trophy.
New interim government to come in 2 weeks – NTC
Leader of the National Transitional Council Mustafa Abdul-Jalil has said that the new interim government will be formed in two weeks’ time. Also during a news conference in the eastern city of Benghazi he stated that the NTC has formed a committee to investigate the killing of Muammar Gaddafi on Thursday.
There are conflicting reports on the new government to be formed. Some NTC members insist on Libya moving to adopt Sharia Law, a possibility analysts were speaking of months before Gaddafi was killed. If that happens, Libya will be moving towards a hardline fundamentalist Islam direction – something its citizens have forgotten about over the 42 years of Gaddafi rule.
However, Libya’s interim leader has promised to build democracy with the full-scale implementation of Sharia Law. Berlin-based Middle East and North Africa expert Dr. Udo Steinbach believes they are compatible.
“I think the reason the leader [of the NTC] announced the implementation of Sharia was to find some sort of identity for the future political and social system in Libya,” Dr. Steinbach says.
“Gaddafi has left a complete vacuum, and there is no national feeling, no personality, there is no charismatic leader, so it’s Islam and Sharia that might fill in the gap”.
According to Dr. Steinbach, as Sharia Law is, in fact, flexible it is possible that Sharia, as a “very enlightened form of Islamic law” can take root in Libya on the one hand and democracy on the other.
What freedom may come?
Libya's interim rulers rushed to call for a celebration of what they call the country's final liberation, which was announced from Benghazi.
RT’s Anissa Naouai attended the so-called ‘Libyan liberation’ in Tripoli, where the main celebrations were held on Martyrs’ Square – which was until recently known as Green Square.
People came to the square with their families and flags. Some were still shooting into the air to mark the celebration, others responded with fireworks. As strange as it might seem, there was a family atmosphere at the site as the celebrations took place.
RT’s correspondent asked some of them what they see happening beyond Gaddafi, what they expect from the interim government or simply what will happen after that. They all answered “freedom”, but could not say much more. They are just happy that Gaddafi is gone and do not look beyond the celebrations.
Before the war, Libya boasted probably the highest living standards on the African continent – in terms of high life-expectancy, low infant mortality rate, European-style healthcare system, and very good social benefits. Those familiar with the Libyan socially-oriented state structure that used-to-be realize that the mere rebuilding of infrastructure and recovery of that system would be an immense task. And those who are now busy celebrating simply do not realize that, likely expecting life to be back on track after Muammar Gaddafi is buried.
Having a chance to walk around the outskirts of Tripoli, RT's Anissa Naouai witnessed them in shambles, traces of military distraction are everywhere, with many buildings half collapsed or missing walls and roofs – the work to be done looks immense just in terms of reconstruction.
It has been reported that 60 per cent of the country does not have running water, problems with electricity and fuel supply are an everyday reality and the NTC promises to solve the problems in the nearest future.
Meanwhile the New York-based Human Rights Watch says it has discovered 53 decomposing bodies, apparently of Muammar Gaddafi loyalists, some of whom may have been executed by revolutionary forces. The discovery in Gaddafi's hometown of Sirte seems part of a trend of killings, looting and other abuses committed by anti-Gaddafi fighters, who consider themselves above the law. Human Rights Watch urged Libyan authorities to rein in armed groups.