If the company allows, it should be possible for Africans both on the continent and in the diaspora to have a nuanced conversation about the life and legacy of the former Libyan leader, Col. Muammar al-Gaddafi.
The caveat here is important; Gaddafi divides opinion nine whole years after a section of irate Libyans killed him, ironically in Sirte, on the permission of Western governments. Before and after his death, he was either a villain or a problematic hero, depending on where you stand.
Those whose opinions of the man were a shade of grey have always been in the negligible minority. But why is it so hard to reconcile the different aspects of the enigmatic Gaddafi?
One of the reasons, if not the chief reason, for how we perceive Gaddafi, comes down to the hyper-partisan spectacles with which global realpolitik forces us to view things. There is very little room for middle grounds, one is either here or and there and the powerless are collateral damage.
It is no secret Gaddafi had sought an international family, perhaps in fear of Western imperialism. When his dream of Pan-Arabism failed, he spent and spoke his way into the hearts of Africans south of the Sahara about the need for Pan-Africanism.
And even though he was far from succeeding, Gaddafi’s commitment to making Africa a unified and stronger political and economic bloc in global affairs was for whatever reason, stronger than the will of most. He practically walked the talk while many other African countries found reasons why this and that stood in their way.
At the end of the 20th century and at the beginning of where we now are, Gaddafi makes the cut as one of the biggest proponents of Pan-Africanism.
At the same time, he was a warmonger. Even if we overlook Western accusations of Gaddafi backing terrorist organizations, we would still have to contend with he did on the continent.
Some of his indiscretions are listed below: