Prayer on Muammar Gaddafi’s death

16

October 22, 2011 by John-Charles Duffy

Would folks mind if I addressed myself to God in this post? I don’t presume to be a voice for anyone else but myself. But I want to talk to God about statements that I made publicly; and since those statements were made to the general “cyberpublic,” I’d like to “cc” that same public on this message, for the sake of accountability.

************

Heavenly Father and Mother–

I’m grateful that Gaddafi is no longer in power. I pray that this can be the beginning of a better life for Libyans. I pray for peace, and justice, and democracy in Libya. I pray for an end to the violence.

I’m not grateful that he’s dead. I’m sorry that he’s dead. I mean that in the sense that I take accountability for being complicit in his death. I spoke out in support of the war in Libya. And that makes me–I was about to say “in some small way,” but I take that back; minimizing my guilt is Your judgment to make, not mine. Let’s try this again: I spoke out in support of the war in Libya. And that means I share responsibility for the vigilante actions of the soldiers who killed him instead of bringing him to legal justice.

Gaddafi’s death should not have happened. I don’t know, really, what You would have regarded as the ideal way to end his regime. I know You hate tyrrany, so I assume You hated the violence of Gaddafi’s reign. I know You also hate war, though I operate on the assumption that You recognize it’s necessary at times. But I also know You would not have wanted things to end like this.

As I’m writing this, I’m realizing that I feel guilty about Gaddafi’s death because that’s the one that’s been publicized. But if I share responsibility for Gaddafi’s death, because of my support for the counteroffensive against his regime, then I also share responsibility for I-don’t-know-how-many deaths carried out by the rebel forces and their NATO allies, or for whatever other atrocities the rebels have committed on the way to power. I also share responsibility for whatever injustices the new regime commits from this point forward.

I started off this message feeling repentant, but now I’m actually feeling rather angry at You for putting us in situations where we have to make these impossible choices, while You sit up there and judge us and cry over our failures.

I don’t want to end on that note. I pray that somehow what has happened can lead to good for Libyans. I pray for all those who are suffering, whatever “side” they’re on.

In Christ’s name, amen.

16 thoughts on “Prayer on Muammar Gaddafi’s death

  1. Robert Poort says:

    answer from your Heavenly Parents:

    dear John-Charles, thank you son for your heartfelt prayers.
    Your life on earth is relatively short, especially when measured on the time line of eternity!
    We mention this as to somewhat diminish your pain and anguish – but certainly not as an encouragement to withdraw from tragedies like the one playing out in Lybia, and so we do appreciate your prayers. Unfortunately our beloveth latter-day saint children have taken the pacifism out of mormonism, whereas we have clearly instructed them to “renounce war and proclaim peace” (D&C 98:16).

    The bloody conflict in Lybia seems yet another war we didn’t want but are unable to prevent. Or so it seems, because most governments – and the people they represent – are not interested in pacifism. On the contrary, the military industrialized complex is interested in secretly or openly promoting wars. As long as pacifism is not understood and embraced by the people and their governments, there will be many “Obama’s” seemingly trapped between facts and circumstances they no longer control. Pacifism goes to the root causes of conflicts and tries to eradicate them. People are somewhat confused about pacifism because the very word makes them think of passivism. Well, there is nothing passive about pacifism; she proactively works on promoting peace instead of objecting to wars once they become inevitable. The latter may be the case anyway, since it’s better to object to even inevitable wars than not to object at all, but unfortunately that is all that people seem to know about pacifism.

    As your Heavenly Parents we renounce violence wherever it comes from and we encourage you to proclaim peace whenever possible. Thank you son, for joining The Mormon Worker and her exploration of radical politics, of which pacifism certainly is an important part. As for your brother Muammar Gaddafi; he’s sitting right here with us, together with the many victims he made; they all will be just fine. But we must go now, because another solemn session of truth and reconcilliation is about to start here in the celestial realms.

    love eternal,

    Heavenly Mom and Dad

    • Brooks W. Wilson says:

      Excellent, Robert. Milo Minderbinder, in the best anti-war book I have ever read, suggests that the government get out of the way and turn war over to business. Fait accompli!

      Pacifism could start by changing our national anthem from one glorifying war to glorifying peace (America the Beautiful for example) and by stopping the use of the military as the center piece for our “exceptionalism.”

  2. seedofjapheth says:

    Gaddafi basically used the oil wealth of Libya to help the people of Libya. The following is list of ways in which Libya under Gaddafi did things.

    1. There is no electricity bill in Libya; electricity is free for all its citizens.

    2. There is no interest on loans, banks in Libya are state-owned and loans given
    to all its citizens at 0% interest by law.

    3. Home considered a human right in Libya – Gaddafi vowed that his parents
    would not get a house until everyone in Libya had a home. Gaddafi’s father has
    died while him, his wife and his mother are still living in a tent.

    4. All newlyweds in Libya receive $60,000 Dinar (US$ 50,000 ) by the government
    to buy their first apartment so to help start up the family.

    5. Education and medical treatments are free in Libya. Before Gaddafi only 25%
    of Libyans are literate. Today the figure is 83%.

    6. Should Libyans want to take up farming career, they would receive farming
    land, a farming house, equipments, seeds and livestock to kick- start their farms
    – all for free.

    7. If Libyans cannot find the education or medical facilities they need in Libya, the government funds them to go abroad for it – not only free but they get US
    $2, 300/mth accommodation and car allowance.

    8. In Libyan, if a Libyan buys a car, the government subsidized 50% of the price.

    9. The price of petrol in Libya is $0. 14 per liter.

    10. Libya has no external debt and its reserves amount to $150 billion – now
    frozen globally.

    11. If a Libyan is unable to get employment after graduation the state would
    pay the average salary of the profession as if he or she is employed until
    employment is found.

    12. A portion of Libyan oil sale is, credited directly to the bank accounts of all
    Libyan citizens.

    13. A mother who gave birth to a child receive US $5 ,000

    14. 40 loaves of bread in Libya costs $ 0.15

    15. 25% of Libyans have a university degree

    16. Gaddafi carried out the world’s largest irrigation project, known as the Great Man-Made River project, to make water readily available throughout the desert country.

    • Brooks W. Wilson says:

      What is your source, please. Wikipedia (and every other source I found) sees him differently.

      In 1969, Gaddafi created Revolutionary committees to keep tight control over internal dissent. Ten to twenty percent of Libyans worked as informants for these committees. Surveillance took place in the government, in factories, and in the education sector. People who formed a political party were executed, and talking about politics with foreigners was punishable by up to 3 years in jail. Arbitrary arrests were common and Libyans were hesitant to speak with foreigners. The government conducted executions and mutilations of political opponents in public and broadcast recordings of the proceedings on state television. Dissent was illegal under Law 75 of 1973, which denied freedom of expression. In 2010, Libya’s press was rated as 160th out of 178 nations in the Press Freedom Index by Reporters Without Borders.
      During the 1970s, Libya executed members of the Islamist fundamentalist Hizb-ut Tahrir faction, and Gaddafi often personally presided over the executions. Libya faced internal opposition during the 1980s because of its highly unpopular war with Chad. Numerous young men cut off a fingertip to avoid conscription at the time. A mutiny by the Libyan Army in Tobruk was violently suppressed in August 1980]

      From time to time Gaddafi responded to external opposition with violence. Between 1980 and 1987, Gaddafi employed his network of diplomats and recruits to assassinate at least 25 critics living abroad. His revolutionary committees called for the assassination of Libyan dissidents living abroad in April 1980, sending Libyan hit squads abroad to murder them. On 26 April 1980 Gaddafi set a deadline of 11 June 1980 for dissidents to return home or be “in the hands of the revolutionary committees”. Gaddafi stated explicitly in 1982 that “It is the Libyan people’s responsibility to liquidate such scums who are distorting Libya’s image abroad.” Libyan agents have assassinated dissidents in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. As of 2004 Libya still provided bounties on critics, including $1 million for one journalist.During the 2005 civil unrest in France, Gaddafi called Chirac and offered him his help in quelling the resistors, who were largely North African. There are growing indications that Libya’s Gaddafi-era intelligence service had a cozy relationship with western spy organizations including the CIA, who voluntarily provided information on Libyan dissidents to the regime in exchange for using Libya as a base for extraordinary renditions.

      Following an abortive 1986 attempt to replace English with Russian as the primary foreign language in education, English has been taught in recent years in Libyan schools from primary level, and students have access to English-language media.

      Link:
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muammar_Gaddafi

      • seedofjapheth says:

        “The standard of living in Libya is quite normal. Things like sound educational system and social infrastructure are what the citizens enjoy. School is free, electricity free and water is free.”
        http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/living/2011/june/11/living-11-06-2011-002.html

        “Libya’s education and health services are free. Electricity is free. Petrol price is lower than water. Price of food is cheap. There are government subsidies on almost all necessities, from buying a car, apartments and putting up a small business. Wages are high in comparison to Libya’s cost of living and with that of its neighbouring countries. Citizens of Libya enjoy free government services, entitlements, subsidies and so on.”
        http://migrante.org.au/site/?p=650

        “Libyan citizens enjoyed perks which are the dream of those in the west: free unlimited health and dental care, free unlimited funding for education anywhere in the world, rent-free house, $60,000 to couples upon getting married. This was carried out in line with the “Third Universal Theory” as explained in The Green Book which Colonel Muammar Qaddafi authored after leaving government in 1979.”
        http://hamsayeh.net/society/1116-chavez-qwe-only-recognize-one-libyan-government-the-one-led-by-muammar-gaddafiq.html

        Gaddafi was a great leader.

  3. Forest Simmons says:

    Alma 24: 27 And there was not a wicked man slain among them; but there were more than a thousand brought to the knowledge of the truth; thus we see that the Lord worketh in many ways to the salvation of his people.

    In other words, better for the wicked to survive than the righteous: the wicked need the chance to repent while in the flesh.

  4. Let me add a follow-up to my initial post on this subject. (I’m reblogging this from Liberal Mormon Spirituality.)

    I favored intervention in Libya because I felt the U.S. ought to support the Arab Spring and because the action, unlike in Iraq, was a defensive, not “preemptive,” measure and had international support. I’m not sure how an intervention that began as an effort to enforce a UN-mandated no-fly zone and ceasefire ended up becoming NATO-backed support for a civil war. I also still can’t explain in a non-cynical way why there was a political will to intervene militarily in support of rebels against Gaddafi’s regime, while there is apparently no will to intervene militarily on behalf of protesters in Syria, or Yemen, or in Darfur.

    The bottom line is that I feel used by my government. I’m also humiliated to realize how uninformed I am about rigorous thinking on non-violence. I don’t know enough to be entitled to an opinion about how the situation in Libya, or any of the places I’ve mentioned above, could have been handled in a different way that might have minimized violence and avoided civil war.

    What I do feel opinionated about is this: I want to live in a society where articulate, pragmatic voices for non-violence are more prominent in the media and in government. When I’ve heard proposals for a “Department of Peace” in the past, I’ve smiled at them as admirable but utopian wishing. I’m prepared now to seriously advocate the creation of some version of such an entity.

    • seedofjapheth says:

      The USA always uses moderate language in order to justify getting involved in something but then when it gets involved it does far more than it originally said it would. Look at the somewhat recent resolution it tried to get passed in the UN regarding syria. The resolution enables UN countries to “take measures” against Syria. Russia saw what the USA was trying to do and vetoed it. Although I wouldn’t feel too ashamed of being tricked if I were you. Russia got tricked when the UN passes the resolution for the UN to “protect civilians”. However the USA used such a resolution to bomb Libya back into being a third world country. Under Gaddafi it became a first world nation. If Russia had known what the USA would do to Libya it would have vetoed the resolution.

    • Robert Poort says:

      I for one was very uninformed about rigorous thinking on non-violence. Always caught between facts and political circumstances, which changed faster than my understanding could keep up with. Not untill I started studying the site http://mormongandhi.com/ I came more aware of and committed to the principles of non-violence. Invariably, the use of violence leads to more violence.
      Years ago I began learning about peace in context of my mormon faith at http://www.gomakecontact.com/mesj/library/speakouts/speak-on-peace.html and presently view the only way out of violence in the world is commitment to pacifism.

      Tom Fox:
      “The force of peace would require a great deal of organization and teamwork. Imagine a moment if the United States government had the same number of people working abroad and at home in the Peace Corps and Americorps as are in the armed forces. And that would just create a degree of stasis. A balance point not really moving us in the direction of God, just keeping us from moving in the direction of the “commander of the spiritual powers of the air” (Eph. 2:1)

      see: http://themormonworker.net/past-issues/archive/the-force-of-war-and-the-force-of-peace-the-same-force-moving-in-the-opposite-direction/

      There are hopeful sign and alternatives like:

      http://mormongandhi.com/2009/09/19/no-more-studying-war-in-utah/
      and the BYU-Hawaii course: “Intercultural Peacebuilding” my youngest son is about to embark on:
      http://academics.byuh.edu/DOMckayC/certificate

      But as Tom Fox explains those are unfortunately just a drop in the ocean. These kind of classes should be taught from kindergarten through university on a large scale. Mandatory !

  5. EWF says:

    May I mirror your plea with one of my own.
    Dear God I heaven, I plead with you. Where are you? I know I’m not allowed to say that. I hesitate. I know where you are. I know who you are. I don’t doubt that. This old wicked world is at its worse, so I’m told. Maybe it is. I’m sure it is. I’m tired. Its sad so many are fallen and are lost. Where are we? How much longer do we have to endure this? My soul aches. I was just told in Stake Conference that we are a Stake in Zion. Where is Zion? If this is Zion, Zion sucks. I’m 37. Do I have to live another life time in this kind of world? I have to live in it. What would my family do without me? Rely on family or the Saints? I’m sorry. Forgive my outcry. I know you have heard me. I plead I will hear you. “Standing alone” toward the Saints, is hard. Can I do it? The Saints don’t like to hear it. They are apathetic and asleep. Maybe I am to.

  6. seedofjapheth says:

    “The standard of living in Libya is quite normal. Things like sound educational system and social infrastructure are what the citizens enjoy. School is free, electricity free and water is free.”
    http://www.sunnewsonline.com/webpages/features/living/2011/june/11/living-11-06-2011-002.html

    “Libya’s education and health services are free. Electricity is free. Petrol price is lower than water. Price of food is cheap. There are government subsidies on almost all necessities, from buying a car, apartments and putting up a small business. Wages are high in comparison to Libya’s cost of living and with that of its neighbouring countries. Citizens of Libya enjoy free government services, entitlements, subsidies and so on.”
    http://migrante.org.au/site/?p=650

    “Libyan citizens enjoyed perks which are the dream of those in the west: free unlimited health and dental care, free unlimited funding for education anywhere in the world, rent-free house, $60,000 to couples upon getting married. This was carried out in line with the “Third Universal Theory” as explained in The Green Book which Colonel Muammar Qaddafi authored after leaving government in 1979.”
    http://hamsayeh.net/society/1116-chavez-qwe-only-recognize-one-libyan-government-the-one-led-by-muammar-gaddafiq.html

  7. “In other words, better for the wicked to survive than the righteous: the wicked need the chance to repent while in the flesh.”

    what a shameful statement.

    • Forest simmons says:

      Throughout the scriptures whenever a prophet is threatened with death he typically leaves it up to the Lord. He is confident that the attempts to kill him will be frustrated until his role in the Lord’s work is accomplished. After that it doesn’t matter to him; if he must “suffer the will of god in the flesh,” so be it. See the comments of Ether at the end of the Book of Ether, and Moroni after translating that book.

      • what’s foolish is trying to apply that course of action to the people of Libya. Who the hell are you to decide who’s righteous enough to die and wicked enough to live to repent in terms of the entire population of a country? There’s a time for fairy tales…

      • Forest Simmons says:

        My comment was in response to a prayer of mourning Gaddafi’s death. I mourn his death all the more because he was wicked and so deeded a chance to live and repent.

        I mourn for the hard hearts of those who cheer anybody’s death.

        I mourn the death of all those who don’t have a chance to live “to the age of a tree,” but especially those who don’t seem to have a hope of a glorious resurrection:

        D&C42:45 Thou shalt live together in love, insomuch that thou shalt weep for the loss of them that die, and more especially for those that have not hope of a glorious resurrection.

        I wonder if you have a different interpretation of this scripture or the one i quoted earlier (Alma 24: 27) in this context.

  8. Forest Simmons says:

    D&C93:38 Every spirit of man was innocent in the beginning; and God having redeemed man from the fall, men became again, in their infant state, innocent before God.

    39 And that wicked one cometh and taketh away light and truth, through disobedience, from the children of men, and because of the tradition of their fathers.

    Isn’t this reason enough to mourn the death of the wicked?

    But (taking into account the evil of sinning against great light and knowledge)who is more wicked, a person like Gaddafi who (unlike king Lamoni) never heard the fulness of the restored gospel before departing this world, or a Latter-Day Saint who (contrary to scriptural warning) upholds churches (i.e.corporations) that have been built up to get power and gain without regard for the consequent suffering of innocent people?

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