What’s worse than a billionaire brat? One that is also a sadist. In this searing piece, Juan Cole tears up Seif al-Islam and the other spoiled sons of Qaddafi. Whether the crime is beating their wives or bombing civilians, it appears that these boys are not used to being held accountable for their action.
The older I get, the more I realize the how central accountability is to creating a healthy, democratic society. In Egypt, there are too many stories of police officers who arrested, tortured and killed individuals–who had not even come close to committing a crime–and then got off with a mere slap on the wrist. The story of Khaled Said came to represent the thousands of such acts of police brutality and abuse. The 28 year old was at an internet cafe in Alexandria when he was picked up by police and then mercilessly, and publicy, beaten until dead. While there are many Egyptians who have met similar fates at the hands of their “law enforcers,” such brutality typically happened behind closed doors. You know the level of impunity in a country has gotten out of hand when police officers no longer feel embarrassed about their dirty laundry. However, it turns out the rest of Egypt didn’t approach such horror with the same whimsical attitude that the police did. Immediately, Said became a martyr for all Egyptians frustrated over abuses of power. Online images of Said’s mangled corpse became viral, and a facebook page, entitled “We are all Khaled Said” was created (it now has over 1.1 million “likes”). Said’s story became one of the rallying points of the revolution, as his story spoke to the systemic problems of policey brutality and a lack of accountability within governmental institutions.
However, the revolution was simply the first step in Egypt’s struggle to confront these, and other, stubborn problems. I hope that Said’s death was not in vain, but only time will tell whether there will be increased accountability and an end to impunity.
Just like these police officers, the Qaddafis don’t realize that the rules of life do, in fact, apply to them. It makes me sick to look at photos of Seif al-Islam, dressed to the nines in a white tie tuxedo. Where did you get that money, playa? How does it feel to know that you are stealing from the poor to give to the rich? And when they get angry about it, you and your father bomb the hell out of them and then smugly defend the senseless slaughter.
I realize that Seif’s upbringing as a spoiled son of a megalomaniac may have prevented him from learning the basic lessons of being a human, but sooner or later he and his father will learn that every action does indeed have consequences. And not just for the civilians who die at their hands.