Saturday, 22 October 2011

Dad, Dignity and Gaddafi

I walked into the kitchen at work yesterday to be greeted by newspapers whose front pages bore the image of a dying man. I knew Col. Gaddafi was dead. Late night radio and news on the way to work told the story of a tyrant's demise. However, when I saw those images that's not what I saw.

I struggled to hold back tears as I saw the images of a vulnerable, injured, weak, elderly man who was scared and whose life was slipping away.

I saw my father's final hours. I saw him lying in bed, struggling to breathe. I felt the fear of leaving him, knowing I might be leaving him to die without us holding his hands.

I'm shocked by my reaction. I am shocked that I'm likening the image of a tyrant to the man I loved so dearly.

Time and history will write the story of a selfish dictator. Libya will recover and heal.

I understand why Libya celebrates. They have won their freedom. I am angry with our press and our politicians for celebrating the death of a human being.

We demand that dictators, tyrants, cruel leaders and war criminals should treat their prisoners and people fairly. Our society subscribes to the principles human rights, and asks this of others.

Revelling in the a dying man's most private and vulnerable moments is not ok. By doing so we reduce ourselves to the cruelty of those who are evil. If we revel in the death of a man, we are no different to those who kill. We are complicit and we are hypocrites.

War, accidents, abuse, pain or other circumstances ensure that we will not all have a good end to end to life. Where it is possible, we all deserve to die with dignity.


  1. Thank you! I'm also much cheered by calls for investigation and a radio interview that showed the compassion of the Libyan part time soldier who tried his best to give a dying man dignity, despite the chaos around him.