The echo of fire crackers in the evening on Thursdays is a normal phenomenon in Libya. It announces the celebrations of marriage events in one’s neighbourhood.
However, the same meaning is not likely to be derived from the same source any other day except in exceptional circumstances.
The thunderous sky-rocketing fire-crackers were heard in the evening on Saturday, the 20th October.
Before I could look out of the window to explore the reason for revelries, one of my friends rang me up.
‘Mohammad, the festivities expressed by fire-crackers in the air are due to news coming from Bani Walid’, he said without being inquired for.
He continued, ‘Khamis Gaddafi, the son of the former oppressive dictator Muammar Gaddafi has been killed in Bin Waleed. Apart from many other high profile figures from the previous regime have been arrested including the spokesman, Moussa Ibrahim’.
He then quickly concluded, ‘The reason why Libya witnessed violence in recent past might be owing to such evildoers at large. Now Libya will be in peace. This is indeed a moment of rejoice’.
My friend was indeed speaking on behalf of common people. The festivities outside in the streets or on the roads in Zliten confirmed what he said and explained.
The military operation in Bani Waleed, no doubt, may be inevitable. At the same time, it is unfortunate as well.
Inevitable in the sense of having lost all possibilities of negotiations by the authority with Qaddafi loyalists, for they are the first ones to ignite fire by brutal torture and killing of Omran Shaaban, the 22-year-old Libyan, who is honored to be the captor of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi.
Unfortunate in view of how long Libya will continue to hunt rivals and kill them in revenge in the name of security and stability.
The roots of revenge killing between the tribes in Libya are deep. It was more incited by the dictator during his forty-year in power to divide and rule.
That is why just after the revolution, those who had suffered immensely during the harsh regime, took the path of revenge as a form of justice to settle score with all those who contradicted their way of logic and reason.
This legitimacy of rightness outside the preview of legal system is what is referred to as a kind of “wild justice”.
Revenge is a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance, be it real or perceived. It is also called retribution, retaliation or vengeance.
Revenge killing is a phenomenon normally witnessed during the time of armed hostilities. Now, the time of war in Libya is over. Furthermore, the country has an elected government.
Violent death occurring from government or even police action is also accountable to the law of the land.
We must not punish individuals who have no relationship with the previous regime or even those who have an indirect role.
The operation in Bani Walid may be, for some reasons, justified but in the backdrop of fighting, have we ever thought how many innocent lives have been lost? How many more women and children have been further widowed and orphaned?
This act of tribal war is very akin to a settling of accounts between killers and will certainly weaken the authority of state control.
One should not forget that Libya is now a democratic country. It has gone far away from the era of Qaddafi when unlawful detentions, ill-treatment and senseless killing of the suspects being opposed to the regime were the norms of the day.
The new Libya cannot afford to follow the same for long if it wishes to emerge as a nation where the law of justice rather than the act of revenge should be its fundamental principles of governance.
In this respect the valued words of the Secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, to resolve the crisis peacefully and to work together to strengthen the legitimacy and effectiveness of state institutions seems very timely and noteworthy.
Moreover, revenge is the tool of the weak and blinds the way to the logical solution of the problems. There is a famous saying, ‘The tree of revenge never yields any fruit’. It is self-defeating. It is an infection of the spirit.