Muammar Gaddafi before his death
It was just after 7 am on Thursday, October 20, 2011 when I heard the news that Muammar Gaddafi had been killed by opposition troops in his hometown of Sirte, Libya.
Taking Sirte was to the last push for the revolution and the final victory for the National Transitional Council.
I was on my way to present as a keynote speaker at the International Conflict Resolution Day conference in Colorado Springs. As I sat in my car listening to the news, my first thought was one of disbelief. Could it really be true this time?
Kenneth Gibson, Lisa’s brother who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland
We had heard stories in the past of his children being killed, which turned out to be false. But this time, I felt in my heart it was true. What I didn’t feel was joy like some Lockerbie family members. I heard one say she wanted to dance on his grave. What I felt was a bit more sober.
I know all about the pain of losing a loved one, as my own brother, Kenneth, was killed in the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland.
My first thought was maybe finally the Lockerbie families can move forward. Twenty four years is a very long time to keep fighting.
My second thought was more telling. How unfortunate that it had to come to this. Since the revolution in Libya began, Gaddafi had every opportunity to step down. Instead, he turned on his own people. Escalating his reign of terror, he began ordering his troops to rape woman and kill everyone who opposed him.
Lisa speaking in Libya the day the International Court issued its arrest warrant for Gaddafi
Mass graves were found of the countless people who had been murdered senselessly by Gaddafi and his regime. Having recently found their voice and tasted the liberation that freedom brings, his resistance just created more resolve in the people to continuing pressing forward until Libya was completely free from Gaddafi’s tyrannical rule. I had seen this resolve first hand when I spoke to a crowd of 100,000 people in Freedom Square in Benghazi, the day the International Court issued its arrest warrant for Gaddafi. Now, the Libyan people got their justice.
The journey doesn’t end here. This is just the beginning of the process of rebuilding. Libyan governmental leaders shared with me that it is going to require Libya to begin from the ground and completely rebuild after systematic destruction by a brutal regime. There have been no organizational structures and corruption has been the norm.
Lisa being thanked by the Libyan people at the rally in Benghazi
They believed it would likely get worse before it gets better. The revolution unified all the anti-Gaddafi tribes together for a common goal of ousting Gaddafi from power. Now they have the enormous task of trying to unify the country around creating the democratic system the revolution was fighting for. This is going to take time and they will need the help of the global community.
So, in January, the Peace and Prosperity Alliance will work in partnership with other agencies to launch the first Libya Leadership Institute in Libya. We will be training Libya’s new leadership in topics like conflict resolution, leadership, anti-corruption and organizational management.
For more information on how you can be a part of rebuilding the country of Libya email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lisa Gibson is the Founder and Director of the Peace and Prosperity Alliance (www.peaceandprosperityalliance.org). She is an ambassador of forgiveness and reconciliation, also an attorney, mediator, public speaker and author of the Award Winning book “Life in Death: A Journey From Terrorism To Triumph.” Lisa has a unique voice on global terrorism having lost her brother on the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. As a result of this tragedy she is overcoming evil with good by serving the people of Libya, the country found responsible for her brother’s death. Her story of forgiveness made the headlines when she met with and forgave Libyan Leader Muammar Gaddafi, the world’s most notorious terrorist and the man responsible for her brother’s death. She can be contacted by e-mail at: Lisa@peaceandprosperityalliance.org