Sunday October 23, 2011 1:35 PM
Libya’s transitional leader declared his country’s liberation Sunday after an 8-month civil war and set out plans for the future with an Islamist tone. The announcement was clouded, however, by international pressure to explain how ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi had been captured alive days earlier, then ended up dead from a gunshot to his head shortly afterward.
Gadhafi’s death in circumstances that are still unclear, and the gruesome spectacle of his body laid out as a trophy in a commercial freezer and on public view, are testing the new Libyan leaders’ commitment to the rule of law. Even at the ceremony to declare liberation, two speakers in positions of authority essentially said Gadhafi got what he deserved.
But transitional government leader Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, who made the keynote speech, did not mention the events surrounding Gadhafi’s end and called on his people to eschew hatred.
“You should only embrace honesty, patience, and mercy,” Abdul-Jalil told the crowd at the declaration ceremony in the eastern city of Benghazi, the birthplace of the uprising against Gadhafi. He urged Libyans to reconcile their differences.
And he laid out a vision for the post-Gadhafi future with an Islamist tint, saying Islamic Sharia law would be the “basic source” of legislation and existing laws that contradict the teachings of Islam would be nullified. In a gesture that showed his own piety, he urged Libyans not to express their joy by firing guns in the air, but rather to chant “Allahu Akbar,” or God is Great. He then stepped aside from the podium and knelt to offer a brief prayer of thanks.
Using Sharia as the main source of legislation is stipulated in the constitution of neighboring Egypt. Still, Egyptian laws remain largely secular as Sharia does not cover all aspects of modern day life.
The uprising against Gadhafi erupted in February as part of anti-government revolts spreading across the Middle East. Neighboring Tunisia, which put the so-called Arab Spring in motion with mass protests nearly a year ago, has taken the biggest step on the path to democracy, voting for a new assembly Sunday in its first truly free elections. Egypt, which has struggled with continued unrest, is next with parliamentary elections slated for November.
Libya’s struggle has been the bloodiest so far in the region. Mass protests quickly turned into a civil war that killed thousands and paralyzed the country for the past eight months. Gadhafi’s hometown of Sirte was the last loyalist stronghold to fall last week, but Gadhafi’s son and one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam, apparently escaped with some of his supporters.
Abdul-Jalil paid tribute to the Gulf Cooperation Council, a six-nation alliance led by Saudi Arabia, the Arab League and the European Union. NATO, which aided the anti-Gadhafi fighters with airstrikes, performed its task with “efficiency and professionalism,” he added.
President Barack Obama congratulated Libyans on the declaration.
“After four decades of brutal dictatorship and eight months of deadly conflict, the Libyan people can now celebrate their freedom and the beginning of a new era of promise,” he said.
using the number/letter grid:
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
A B C D E F G H I
J K L M N O P Q R
S T U V W X Y Z
A = 1 J = 1 S = 1
B = 2 K = 2 T = 2
C = 3 L = 3 U = 3
D = 4 M = 4 V = 4
E = 5 N = 5 W = 5
F = 6 O = 6 X = 6
G = 7 P = 7 Y = 7
H = 8 Q = 8 Z = 8
I = 9 R = 9
4312161 12433 11393 48
his path of destiny = 48 = Goals. Direction. Purpose. Meaning.
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