Is Gadhafi a Martyr?

Some wonder whether the late Libyan ruler was unjustly overthrown -- and whether the United States is complicit in the offense.

CRIMINAL OR MISUNDERSTOOD?: Even in death, Gadhafi has his defenders.

In the aftermath of his death, some are wondering whether the late Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi will be remembered as a martyr instead of a mad tyrant.

Fellow dictator Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, for instance, expressed anger over the death of his friend. “They assassinated him. It is another outrage,” he told reporters. “We shall remember Gadhafi our whole lives as a great fighter, a revolutionary and a martyr.”

Some have pointed to the free health care and subsidized housing in Libya as evidence of Gadhafi’s compassion, as well as his financial support of other African nations. “Mr. Gaddafi was a dictator, but he was a benevolent dictator, whether you like or dislike him,” said French journalist and blogger Moe Seager. “And he gave millions to black African health, educational and agricultural projects.”

But in addition to his support of impoverished nations, the Libyan leader was also known for funding a variety of notorious outfits. In fact, his government was implicated in the financing of many controversial militant groups, including several associated with terrorism.

Earlier this year, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan defended his friend Gadhafi and criticized President Obama and the United States for supporting the Libyan rebels. “It is a terrible thing for me to hear my brother called all these ugly and filthy names when I can’t recognize him as that.”

With a controversial friend like Farrakhan as an advocate, it probably isn’t a total shock to hear some African Americans sympathizing with Gadhafi’s plight and speculating about conspiracy theories in the wake of his death. In the comments section at the black news site, for instance, one reader declares, “Any Black person who celebrates the ‘death’ of Muammar Gaddafi has to be a product of western media propaganda.” He goes on to argue that Gadhafi was a strong benefactor of other African nations, and concludes by implying that Gadhafi’s ouster and death were the result of a CIA plot.

It’s easy for most of us to take for granted that Gadhafi was an international criminal whose multitude of vicious sins had finally caught up to him. But it’s interesting to note that not all Americans subscribe to that view.

And so, the question lingers: Was Gadhafi a misunderstood revolutionary or a cruel tyrant? The smart money is on the latter, but your answer most likely depends on your personal view of the media, international relations, and America’s role in the world.

About the author, Edward Gilbreath

Edward Gilbreath is editor of and the author of Reconciliation Blues: A Black Evangelical's Inside View of White Christianity.
  1. Qaddafi Great fighter? a revolutionary? a martyr? Really? Shame on Qaddafi, whose people are dying of hunger and he was hiding billions in private bank accounts in civilized countries. How many billions have you been hiding HUGO CHAVEZ for the “revolution”? Do you know that your cancer is called Karma?

    • I’ve always known they were going to attack Gadaffi and Libya and why, especially when he kicked out Western oil companies after goldman sachs misappropriated the $1.6million he wined and dined to bailed them out with and simply refused to pay him back. When he started to bring in the chinese to take over the oil contracts, thats what really pissed the west off because they were expecting Gaddafi to give them a second chance and bring them back into Libya. And he was willing to bring western oil companies back in and even forget about the 1.6bil lost by goldmann sachs BUT only on the condition that the west pay for Libyas oil in gold which Western countries if you didn’t already know, don’t have much off. This was the final straw, the western countries said fuck it, we’ll take your oil, your gold, destroy your country and kill you for trying to be so smart.

      The biggest issue with Gaddafi and Libya is that, if he had continued to do beneficial business with the chinese, issue the gold dinar as a the national currency and been able to prosperously run his interest free economy without being a member of the IMF, Libya’s economic and governmental system would’ve become a shinning example to the rest of the world – a threat to democracy and the international “usury” banking system. THATS A BIG NO NO.

      This invasion also happened so quickly because Gaddafi had plans to empower the african union by starting an interest free AMF(african monetary fund) – which he had already sured up $6billion ready to kick off in november of this year 2011, so the west were pressed for time. Lets not forget as well, that Gaddafi also fully funded the launch of Africas first and only telecoms satellite which made European Telecoms companies very angry because African calls didn’t have to go through their satellites meaning lower prices african international calls and a substantial over night drop for European Telcoms.

      If thats not enough for you, in the last few years Nestle, Perrier and Coca Cola have been going around the world buying up water supplies. They had been eyeing Libyas great manmade water project for the last few years. Gaddafi flat out refused to even come to the table for a deal saying that water was only to be supplied FREE for his people. As you’d imagine, they weren’t too happy with that – Now it’s theirs for the taking. Ironic, seeing as the west laughed at Gaddafi when he first started the project calling it an impossibility and calling him insane for even trying. That project would have been completed by end of this year.

      Yes, he was a dictator, he commited atrocities BUT with his dictatorship, he brought evident stability and prosperity – as his atrocities, I task ANYONE to name a single big, influential state today WITHOUT a history of atrocities that marrs it’s past AND I guarantee that Gaddafi’s atrocities will PALE in comparison to those committed by most, if not ALL, other dictators or western states.

      Think about it!.

      • i totally agree that brother gadhafi was a martyr. the United States must remember that their chickens will come home to roost one day.

      • The truth has spoken… Finally, someone with intelligence knows a spades a spade.
        This is yet again, another case of American hypocrisy and bully tactics. Anyone who supports
        this carnage is just as wrong. You speak off facts and not media propaganda.
        Every nation has blood on it’s hands, the question’s how much?
        NATO invaded a nation with under 6% unemployment, zero homeless, and nationalized oil.
        Proofs in the pudding! Thank you for your facts my friend!

      • libyans will feel the pain to their marrow very soon. they have been misled but soon they would realise the truth and come to terms with the visions and depth of ghadafi. yes he was eccentric but he was a visionary. RIP Brother Leader!!!

        • my heart bleeds for you father Gaddafi, may allah find your deeply betrayed soul an everlasting rest and i am sure he has done just that. I see you as my Osagyefo kwamr nkrumah but your people just as they did to nkrumah have collaborated to give u up. As a ghanaian, I find you the only brave man to have voice, all our spineless leaders who were thinking about themselves were just sleeping. I seriously feel angry to be african. With this kind of leaders, africa is just a prey to be hunted by anybody.

          • @ Aida on October 23, 2011 —> Allah u Akbar! You speak the truth. It is a distinctively strange sense of anger I feel to see so many people NOT knowing anything even remotely close to THE WHOLE TRUTH when it comes to this man and all that he has done and stood for!

      • At least you’re well informed with excellent proof. Thank you!

    • @ mary on October 21, 2011 –> Let us not pretend that every country has a massive problem with people dying of hunger and billions of dollars being hidden (or otherwise KEPT from the use) of the general public. If Karma is, indeed, a universal principle, then EVERYONE has a call to answer. That being said, America itself is experiencing the rings of Karma. Remember, when you point one finger at someone, you are pointing three back at yourself. Heed the Wisdom.

  2. usa and european just want to built up their economy that why they created this issue. they sold the weapons and ammonition s to rebels and addressed them to fight against government. the muslims are just facing problems. why dont britian hands over this long era kingship and changed it to democractic. why dont other eu contries do it. they have their interests. and moreover a will to fight against muslims.

    • They used Obama because he is half african. The europeans could NOT meddle with africa because they are former colonisers and it’s not a good look. Remember, africans are spread all the way across europe and the last thing they wanted is for the Caribbean’s in Britain, the african francophiles in France and the african community throughout the rest of europe to revolt within their own boarders. So Obama is and was a god send to them and because of his popularity with african americans, there was no way the US would have a problem with african americans disagreeing with what Obama did ….. so they used him as the face of the Libyan invasion and it worked. It worked oh so well, so well that they could they ordered the Aqaida arabs brought in from Afghanistan to fight as NATO “rebels” to kill black Libyan africans(remember, there was an apparent jailbreak in afghanistan where 2000 “alqaida taliban” prisoners suddenly vanished from an american run terrorist jail, never to found. then the war in Libya suddenly started over night 2 weeks later – goggle it). My heart bleeds for africa today, Gadaffi was shunned by his fellow arab muslims in the arabian middle east and he vowed that the best way to get back at them was to make africa powerful and he came so, so close. He governed Libya for over 40 years – When Nelson Mandela was freed from his 27yr sentence, the first and only african leaders he went see immediately were Robert Mugabe and Muammar Gadaffi to thank them personally for all the funding they provided to the best international lawyers who relentlessly rallied and bombarded the west, amnesty international and the UN courts with non-stop cases that kept apartheid south african sanctions going and finally saw the downfall of the oppressive regime. He personally, along with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe funded and trained black south african parties to hound and grind the white government into its subsequent submission in 1995. Do the research if you bother to, you WILL NOT find any different.

      Africa has lost a true visionary in Gadaffi and the continent will mourn for a long time to come. Yes, Muammar Al Gadaffi is most definitely a Martyr without question.

      I am an AFRICAN. And most africans share the following view – We were once proud of Barack Hussein Obama because his father was an AFRICAN too, we expected nothing of him, no benefits, no special treatment(except maybe Kenya were his father was from) …. all we wanted was for him to do africans proud and indirectly represent the “dark” continent well by doing a good job and performing with excellence through changing the perception of the greatest nation in the worlds view of africans. NEVER WOULD I HAVE THOUGHT IN A MILLION YEARS, THAT HE WOULD BE THE ONE TO IN FOREFRONT OF BRINGING BACK ALL THE OLD COLONISERS OF A FINALLY FREE AFRICA. Please remember, that South Africa was the only country in the whole of africa that was still under colonial rule. South Africa finally gained its independence in 1995 which ALL of africa FREE. My heart bleeds for my continent and I’m so sad, so confused, as to why after only 16yrs – A BLACK MAN OF PART AFRICAN DIRECT DECENT, WAS THE VERY MAN TO PROUDLY LEAD THE OLD COLONISERS BACK INTO AFRICA. I also ask you consider one more thing – AFRICA WAS NUCLEAR WASTE FREE, ONE OF THE 3 CONTINENTS LEFT ON EARTH TO HOLD THAT STATUS(the other 2 are arctic and ant-artcic) …. BUT WITH THE INTRODUCTION AND USE OF MODERN, WESTERN ARMOURY BY NATO IN LIBYA, DEPLETED URANIUM HAS NOW INFECTED AFRICA. I ASK YOU, WHY WOULD OBAMA DO THIS SO CLOSE TO HIS FATHERS PLACE OF BIRTH????.

      • If you seriously think the toppling of Gadhafi by his own people (albeit with NATO air support) represents an effort by Europe to recolonize Africa, you’ve been reading “The Final Call” too long. In fact, there is some concern the new Libya may be run by people with ties to Al Qaeda (a fear ‘daffy himself expressed). It will be interesting to see, should the New Libya turn out to be more anti-Western than the old one, if screwy Louie tries to ingratiate himself with his deceased pal’s killers.

  3. Only a fool would think there is some debate over whether Gadhafi was a tyrant. The fact that a significant number of black Americans buy into the absurd idea that Gadhafi was a martyr is pretty simple to explain; the widespread acceptance of loony demagogue Louis Farrakhan. If Gadhafi hadvany redeeming quality it was perhaps that he was legally insane. The Farrakhan/Gadhafi relationship was a cynical mutually beneficial farce. Gadhafi saw Farrakhan’s NOI as a potential
    5th column to strike at the US from within (he openly said as much), while Farrakhan certainly wasn’t about to turn down those big checks ‘daffy was giving him. The irony is of course the NOI’s most generous contributor in terms of fund$ was a caucasian (though NOI types are loathe to acknowledge the whiteness of Gadhafi and North Africans in general, as indeed are many white Europeans and Americans).

  4. How is Hugo Chavez a dictator? He won a democratically held elections in his country. Just because the western media demonizes him, it don’t mean he is a demon.
    As to brother Qaddafi, there ain’t a single African leader who has done as much as he for liberation of South African blacks from the clutches of apartheid by providing funding and moral support.
    After the fall of the apartheid regime in South Africa, the west tried to put pressure on Mandela to dissociate from brother Qaddafi, this is what Nelson Mandela said:
    “Those who feel irritated by our friendship with President Qaddafi can go jump in the pool,”

  5. There is no greater dictatorship than the government of the United States! BAR NONE!

  6. As for obama he is already outof the white house. In fact he does not see himself as an African, he will also be bitterly betrayed one day. If only reincarnation is true, i pray you be reborn back quickly to deliver africa. Oh libya you will suffer till anther gaddafi liberate you

  7. This is how you know our own black leaders are our enemies because what thinking man who claims they care about the black community wouldn’t speak out against these atrocoitioes, these war crimes that Obama has committed against humanity without congressional approval. Hell even Bush got the green light to go into Iraq by congress. And what about the dark lybians who are being hunted and killed like animals on the Sahara plain. Wheres Sharpton, Jackson, and the NAACP to speak out against Africans being slautered in Lybia. These porch negros are afraid to speak out because they may lose their jobs or lose funding from the federal Govt to promote their propaganda. Todays so called black leaders are a joke. The US and NATO did not discriminate on who these bombs fell on men, women and children infact theres a video on youtube that shows a small childs bottom jaw blown off and screaming in pain. I’m a grown man and when I seen this I got misty eyed then that was followed by anger and disgust for the puppet president Obama who made all this possible doing the Bidding of his banker slave masters. If Obama deep fryed a baby you got some stupid niggas who would say maybe he was just hungry.

  8. What in the world is going on here? And where are all the sensible voices. All this nonsense about Gaddafi being a good guy and Obama and America being so evil is b.s. Of course the United States has done things in the name of national interest in defense that none of us our proud of, but the business of running a sovereign nation is messy. What we haven’t done is egregiously slaughtered innocent people on purpose or committed genocide against our own people (though I’ll admit our American prison system isn’t always the fairest for minorities). You folks can scream conspiracy theories all you want and cherry pick Gaddaffi’s good deeds to the exclusion of his many crimes against humanity. That’s fine. But don’t come on here with your one-sided, revisionist history hating on America as if its sins are worse than these oppressive tyrants whose main priority is to stay in power and keep their people living in fear.

    • “What we haven’t done is egregiously slaughtered innocent people on purpose or committed genocide against our own people”

      You’re seriously kidding right? I mean your head cannot really be that far up your ass to believe that statement you made. I guess you forgot about Black people and Native Americans, mass lynching, segregation and Jim Crow, slavery, the assassination of Dr. King, the slaughter of Black Americans, the writing of us into history as 3/5th humans and on and on and on…Really? How dumb can you people be? I understand if you decide to not be in agreement with the little you know of Libya or Ghaddafi outside of media sound bytes, but there is no way you should possibly be daft enough to not know the very recent history of the United Sates and the treatment of its own people, including those that they only considered 3/5th people. smdh.

      Propaganda, cowardice and brainwashing is a trip.

  9. The author has been drinking too much communion wine.America always in somebody else’s mess where is the church. Talking heaven when people are catching hell on earth.typical christiian can’t change or solve any problems.we should support Qaddafi he is not just Arab he is black.he is a martyr just like Jesus . People called Jesus mad they questioned him because he did not go along with the status quo.people were happy about his death.this is the beginning of the end of Europe and America.and god told me that how about that one

  10. The murder of Brother Qaddfi shows the world the wicked power of U.S. led NATO forces who assisted the traitors to overthrow and kill this great leader. White Amercia has been committing the worst crimes ever since they have come into contact with the black people and other people of color. Evrey time a Black person writtes hius last name down (the slave masters name) the world is reminied of the the greates crime that ever took pace in the annals of history.Blacks in America are still catching hell because white supremacy/racsim that contols all the areas of people activity. Obamba is nothing but a tool for the rich who run and control the world. He was used to kill Brother Qaddfi. America will be hated even more by the people of the world who want to be free of the western world’s oppresion. May Allah be pleased with Brother Qaddfi’s soul. May Allah bless Mininster Louis Farrakhan who is the only bold strong leader that we have left.

  11. We live in ignorant, arrogant and selfish world of millions of lies. If you do not live through any event you can’t be sure that the information you will have about this event from someone else would be true.The sad thing is that to know the truth and recognize someone personality and value and appreciate his deeds, the person need to die first. I am white and European. I am blessed to marry the African man and to be connected to African people and African history through my marriage. Unfortunately until now I did not know a lot about Gaddafi, I feel so bad that I did not know the real truth about him when he was alive. I have a very uneasy feeling of despair that it is too late and the great guy is gone. I wish I could think about him he is not he was. May Allah to be pleased with Gaddafi’s soul and give him the best place in paradise for every good deed he did and forgive him anything should be forgiven. I am mourning him with my full respect and sorrow.

  12. This is getting old. The classic scenario of the Great Satan America along with NATO manipulating the dim witted billion plus African and Middle Eastern people of with their plots of taking over the world and grabbing all the oil. Gaddafi had free health care and free education? So what? Hitler revitalized the German economy and put peple back to work. Does that make Hitler a martyr. The age of dictators over. Western powers defeated communism. Dictatorship is next. Go for it.

    s with their

  13. yes Gadhafi Is a Martyr Gadhafi did not run away from his country he killed by nato and Barbaric Cruel friends without Defense
    He burned without his family lonely
    rest in peace and god bless

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  16. HELL YES, he was a martyr, and he’d have chosen a martyr’s death. I am american, white, a veteran, and female. According to the media, this country and this death should have meant nothing to me, but the shame at my own government’s actions is overwhelming. F*** YES, he was a martyr; the ignorant american media, and the bloodthirsty american government MADE him so. And F*** the ***** SARKOZY!!!

  17. God Bless You, Libyan People….you need all the help you can get.