At long last, the dictator is dead. Colonel Muammar Qadhafi, a despot who for 42 years stole the freedom of his people and robbed them of what happiness they might otherwise have had, is dead.
His demise was pitiful, found by the army hiding in a cramped and dirty drain in his hometown of Sirte. He was dragged out covered in blood, shot by the soldiers who found him and beaten to death by those who had gathered around.
His last words were reportedly “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot!” - Hardly what you would expect to hear from such a tyrant, although perhaps words that betrayed his real cowardice.
They were words that betrayed the fear and anxiety he felt as he waited with bated breath for the army to eventually find him. The sight of him begging for his life was surely a pitiful one. What ended that life was a gunshot to the leg and a beating charged with rage decades in the making. In the end, he was spared from suffering through the same terror and anxiety that he put his own people through for 42 years.
“We have been waiting for this moment for a long time. Muammar Qadhafi has been killed.” That was how the Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril announced the news of his death. Qadhafi’s demise came two months after the capital Tripoli fell to the rebels. The bloody quest for democracy ended along with his life, bringing to a close eight months of fighting between the rebels and regime loyalists. All that is left now is for the new government and the people to erase the scars of the civil war as soon as possible and push forward, forging a new era of democracy and economic development.
History has now entered a new phase where the winds of democracy are sweeping away the last remaining autocratic regimes. It is only a matter of time before these winds find their way to the Korean peninsula. The anger of the North Korean people at the violence and hunger they are subjected to is on the verge of exploding. Kim Jong Il is going to abhorrent extremes to maintain, perhaps barely, his hold on power.
The situation in North Korea is now like a field of parched wildgrass in late autumn. One small flame could be all that is needed to set the whole field ablaze. What the South Korean government and the revolutionaries inside North Korea need to do now is find a way to spark that flame. It is for this reason that civilian broadcasters who want to spread their message north of the border are desperate to see the North Korea Broadcasting Act enacted in South Korea sometime soon.
Last but certainly not least is a word of advice for Kim Jong Il. Take a look at the photos of Qadhafi, bloodied and dying, and have a good think. Tyrants who accept the democratic winds of change or find a compromise do for the most part escape with their lives; but those who insist on lamely trying to subdue the modern desires of their people have all met the same sorry end.
So, Kim Jong Il, if you don’t have the will or the capability to feed and clothe the 23 million people in your country, then stand aside and hand power over to those who will pursue democracy and liberal reforms. The only thing waiting for dictators who pursue violence after the people have found their voice, as they did in Libya, and as they might do in your own country, is a sorry death.
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