I had grown up watching Khomeini before the afternoon children’s program, before the nightly news my grandfather watched. His image splattered everywhere I walked in our streets, seeing his photo with his grandson in my cousin’s school books … This old, funny looking man who seemed to (me) exude a sort of innocence. You see, he was a part of my family, I saw him more than some uncles and aunts. Contrast that to what I heard of him at dinner parties, and you got yourself one confused looking baby.
At home, my parents were adamant about speaking not a word of politics, but as young as I was, I noticed that my grandfather, who was quick to call Khomeini “the greatest butcher of the 20th century” was silent after the news of his death. Years later I asked him about it, and he said that he wasn’t sure what to make of the death, wasn’t sure what awaited the country after a brutal 10 years of war, revolution, executions and chaos.
In my lifetime, I have seen many a dictators fall … to old age, to escape, to trials and to murder.
I’ve also seen the world grow ever more accustomed to the murder of 16 year old boys without a second thought, nod or gesture.
So accustomed I’ve become to it, that I didn’t even flinch when I saw images of a seemingly dead Muammar Ghadaffi roaming the internet, news channels and newspapers. I think I have ceased to care. As euphoric as some Libyans will be, I doubt that the lives of ordinary Libyans became any less bearable today. Will it be so in 10 years? Maybe, but who really knows? Given the uncertainty surrounding Ghadaffi’s death in the first place, I doubt a bullet or two will determine Libya’s future. The fetishism of revenge on the other hand ….
I’ve become disgruntled with a world who relishes big events: the wedding, the graduation, the execution, the fall, etc, etc … where really, it’s the day after, and the days after that, that make all the difference. The Egyptians seem to understand that better than a whole lot of us right now …