Daily Archives: October 20, 2011

A Tyrant’s Ignominious Death

Ding-dong, the tyrant of Libya is dead. It’s been a long time coming, but finally, the people of Libya can finally put the Gadhafi era behind them.

Longtime dictator of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, has been killed following the capture of his hometown of Sirte.

There were confusing reports of Gaddafi’s capture and death, and questions remained over exactly how he was killed.

Arab broadcasters showed graphic images of the balding, goateed Gaddafi – wounded, with a bloodied face and shirt – but alive. Later video showed fighters rolling Gaddafi’s lifeless body over on the pavement, stripped to the waist and a pool of blood under his head.

While he was still alive, the fighters drove him around lying on the hood of a truck, perhaps to parade him in public. One fighter held him down, pressing on his thigh with a pair of shoes in a show of contempt.

Standing upright, he is shoved along a Sirte road by fighters who chanted “God is great.”

Gaddafi appears to struggle against them, stumbling and shouting as the fighters push him onto the hood of a pickup truck.

“We want him alive. We want him alive,” one man shouted before Gaddafi is dragged away, some fighters pulling his hair, toward an ambulance.

Most accounts agreed Gaddafi had been holed up with heavily armed supporters in the last few buildings held by regime loyalists in the Mediterranean coastal town, furiously battling revolutionary fighters. The battle for Sirte has been raging for more than a month.

At one point, a convoy tried to flee and was hit by NATO airstrikes, carried out by French warplanes. France’s Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the 80-vehicle convoy was carrying Gaddafi and was trying to escape the city. The strikes stopped the convoy but did not destroy it, and then revolutionary fighters moved in on the vehicle carrying Gaddafi.

One fighter who said he was at the battle told AP Television News that the final fight took place at an opulent compound. Adel Busamir said the convoy tried to break out but after being hit, it turned back and re-entered the compound. Several hundred fighters attacked.

“We found him there,” Busamir said of Gaddafi. “We saw them beating him (Gaddafi) and someone shot him with a 9mm pistol … then they took him away.”

Military spokesman Col. Ahmed Bani in Tripoli told Al-Jazeera TV that a wounded Gaddafi “tried to resist (revolutionary forces) so they took him down.”

Fathi Bashaga, spokesman for the Misrata military council, whose forces were involved in the battle, said fighters encircled the convoy and exchanged fire. In one vehicle, they found Gaddafi, wounded in the neck, and took him to an ambulance. “What do you want?” Gaddafi asked the approaching revolutionaries, Bashaga said, citing witnesses.

Gaddafi bled to death from his wounds a half-hour later, he said. Fighters said he died in the ambulance en route to Misrata, 120 miles from Sirte.

Abdel-Jalil Abdel-Aziz, a doctor who accompanied the body in the ambulance and examined it, said Gaddafi died from two bullet wounds – to the head and chest.

“You can’t imagine my happiness today. I can’t describe my happiness,” he told The Associated Press. “The tyranny is gone. Now the Libyan people can rest.”

In the United States, President Obama addressed the death of Gaddafi in a press conference. “The Transitional National Council informed the United States of Gaddafi’s death shortly before Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril’s announcement to his nation that the moment so many had waited for had come, a U.S. official said. The White House and State Department were expected to release official responses later Thursday,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press. “You have won your revolution,” he continued, “One of the world’s longest-serving dictators is no more.”

In Tripoli, celebrations are already underway with gunfire and honking. “We’ve heard quite a lot of celebratory gunfire,” Caroline Hawley reports for the BBC.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton visited Libya on Tuesday to offer a new aid package. She told students during a gathering in Tripoli, “We hope [Gaddafi] can be captured or killed soon so that you don’t have to fear him any longer.”

Gaddafi was ousted from power in August, and his whereabouts have been unknown for months. The Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, accused Libya’s former ruler of crimes against humanity.

Reuters is also reporting that an official from the National Transitional Council, Libya’s interim government, has confirmed the death of Abu Bakr Yunis Jabr, Gaddafi’s Minister of Defense.

Is There A Point To God Debates Anyway?

In which an atheist expresses his frustration with engaging theists:

I found more often than not it is better to keep atheists beliefs to oneself.  The debates become pointless.  Many believers actually have not fully thought about what they believe, and so when confronted by logic or the thoughts of an atheist, it takes them out of their comfort zone.  This is usually not a good feeling for them and leads to actions that are intended to protect their current state of “ignorance is bliss.”

There was a time when one could reasonably discuss with an atheist on belief and non-belief and expect a polite but firm discussion. Ultimately, the theist may not succeed in getting the atheist to see his point of view, but the exchange would be as cordial as it was passionate. This is because, the atheist would be interested in showing why he is not fully persuaded to believe. Perhaps, if you run into a decent friend or acquaintance who is ideologically opposed to you on the God question, such a frank but civil discussion can truly occur.

Alas these days, with the birth of this New Atheism, unsophisticated and full of sound and fury, it has become quite fashionable in atheist circles to deride, cajole, mock, insult and pollute theists and theism. This is what usually passes for intelligent debates with many of today’s atheists–some haughty posturing borne out of a sincere atheistic belief that virtually all theists are silly and DELUSIONAL. It is no wonder that these discussions quickly devolve into a mud-slinging match because people cease engaging honestly and respectfully; much heat expended but no light thrown on the issue before consideration. After one has tried a few times to discuss issues of great personal import with a person who seems more or less disposed to aggression, one inevitably tires of the whole affair. Perhaps, like some have suggested, there is really no point to these discussions. Atheists can gather together, as often as they are wont, listen to speeches (read sermons) delivered by their atheistic  high priests, build up and exhort one another in their common God-disbelief, share an intimate fellowship of universal mockery or umbrage at some offensive actions from the faith arena, and disperse to their respective homes–ALL WITHOUT BOTHERING ABOUT THESE ‘IGNORANT’ THEISTS!

But I think that would be too easy—for how else are atheists going to satiate the inner hunger to rid theists of their meddlesome and ‘ignorant’ God-belief if they can’t utilize sundry web fora, Youtube videos, billboards and citybuses to fulminate on the ills of religion? I mean, how dare anyone hate on atheists anyway? Aren’t they the hallowed few who managed to see through the puerile sunday-school caricature of Christian orthodoxy they were unfortunately  given when they were much younger? Aren’t they the uber-logical geniuses against whom every contrary opinion must be the product of some delusion and faulty reasoning? Why should the largely ‘ignorant’ mass of humanity squirm for being upbraided by the ‘ever-so-gracious’ but nonetheless ‘completely rational’ and ‘supremely intelligent’ atheist? Shouldn’t they consider the atheist’s sophomoric diatribe against theism, or his endless bellyaching over the ills committed by religious people, an act of charity? Oh well, I don’t know about you—but in the interest of peace, and to massage the egos of newly-minted atheists, who are eager to jump into a debate to vomit the latest things picked up in college, perhaps it is better to just sit still and allow the atheist to lecture for all he is worth.

Sadly, I have noticed that too many atheists are rather diffident about  this namely: honestly sharing what they truly believe; you know, about constructing a positive worldview and philosophy that is completely devoid of God and its implications. Worse, an alarming number of the atheists who feign some serious dedication to science are actually terrible at it; do not seem to understand its finite scope, and regrettably cannot lecture on it. But of course, that shouldn’t matter—nothing is as satisfying as a smug dismissal of your theistic opposition as a bunch of deluded dingbats. Its a nice zinger, and I am sure if you deploy that characterization often, in no time, you would rise within atheist ranks. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone for intolerance is a vice only when theists employ that against atheists. When atheists show intolerance for theists, it can only be because they were genuinely concerned about the  theist’s ‘refusal to see the light’.

Let the discussions rage on.

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