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Thursday, 27 October 2011


They said he was a murderous dictator
on whose command the desert sands ran red;
who would not tolerate the agitator
and many took their families and fled;
whose rule of thumb was not designed to cater
for those who craved democracy instead.
Manhandled by the frenzied agitator

~ liberation was a bullet in the head ~

admitted the new government commentator,
explaining how they’d severed his life’s thread.
And now they proclaim praise to the Creator
on seeing the body stretched out in a shed.
But to the international spectator,
the way this haggard tyrant wound up dead
does not bode well for hopes of justice later.

© Peter Goulding

Qaddafi’s Death Places Focus on Arab Spring’s ‘Hard Road’
Peter Goulding works in a warehouse in co. Kildare, Ireland and has bribed editors in four continents to accept his poetry. He has no practical talents whatsoever.


  1. Very good. I have been asking questions internally about this and I do not think Libya is any more free than they were as long as this kind of primitive justice prevails.

    An excellent way to capture this news.

  2. Excellent observation indeed, yet I would say it us easy for us (in distant lands) to sit back in judgement and compare vengeance with justice as we simply weren’t there, we were not experiencing the passions of that very moment in time nor the passions aroused before that time in those existing within a violent dictatorship. Much is done in the heat of the moment that we may later regret.

    The linked article is very good, summarising the history of Libya since Gadaffi’s time and stating that his dictatorship glued together dozens of insular tribes. This glue held fast as the people of Libya fought for their freedom. But will it now? Or will all those tribal hatreds and suspicions come to the fore as after the dissolution of the USSR?

    I too believe that “Libya is going to have a terrible time” (Lisa Anderson).

    Sadly when dictatorships topple, often a gaping wound is left that will bleed for many years to come.

    Anna :o]

  3. Great sense of rhythm, which particularly works for this poem. And I especially like 'on whose command the desert sands ran red' (the line, not the situation) in terms of sound.

  4. I find it hard to judge when so recently we assassinated Bin Laden. I found myself uncomfortable with the relief I felt, and profoundly sad to know that it was just that--he was not to be taken alive. Yet I was still relieved. How on earth would I feel about a dictator who had ruled my country with torture, terror, intolerance? How would I act?

    I don't know. I know only what I would LIKE to think.

    None of these questions is simple.I don't know what the people will do with their freedom. Revolution is bloody. And each sees justice in his/her own acts and injustice in "the other."

    I sit and I understand why he was killed this way; I understand the "logic" in not taking Bin Laden prisoner. I get it with my head. My own moral convictions don't "get it at all." I cannot imagine the Libyan life with Gadaffi. I have no frame of reference.

    And then I struggle with the contradictions of my OWN heart and soul. I see the growing divides in my own country--we have not been at the mercy of a dictator. We fall apart differently.

    But can I then JUDGE Libya? I can't. I can only pray.

  5. Yes, I agree that's is always easy for us to comment from the comfort of our western armchairs. It just makes me nervous when people take it into their own hands to dispense summary justice.
    Many thanks for the comments.

  6. Lyrical, yet terse, and ever so sardonic. Vintage Goulding.