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from Photographers' Blog:

Watching Libya from Malta

By Darrin Zammit Lupi

When the Arab Spring got underway late in 2010, few of us imagined it would spread to Libya with any tangible effect. To those of us of my generation here in Malta, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was the bogeyman - he’d always been there lurking not too far from our shores - Libya is less than 350 km to the south of the island, and Gaddafi was a frequent visitor and close friend of the Maltese government in the 70s, my childhood years.

A year later, when I look back on the events that kicked off on February 17, 2011, I’m amazed it all happened so fast. Who would have dreamed that Gaddafi would be overthrown within six months, and dead within eight?

The start of the uprising turned Malta, normally a rather quiet news backwater spot in Europe into the center of world attention, as countries from all over the world struggled to evacuate their nationals from Libya. As soon as we got the first indications that there may be evacuations, I immediately started looking into ways of how I could get as comprehensive a coverage as possible.

My plan was to try to fly into Tripoli on an evacuation flight and fly straight out again – the shots I was looking for were of Europeans boarding the aircraft. Evacuations seemed to be starting off slowly – my first point of contact was the Austrian Embassy in Malta, as they were the first to send a military plane to the island to be on standby to fly into Tripoli. The Reuters Vienna bureau got in touch with authorities there, but no luck. There was no way they would take a journalist with them, occupying a very precious seat on the plane on the return flight.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

The stuff dream photos are made of…

Hey, Blog Guy, I'm here! Do  you recognize me?

I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet To Come?

No, you dimwit. This isn't "A Christmas Carol." I'm the guy who sets up all those great fantasy photos for your readers, so I'm sorry to see it's going away.

Well, thanks for all your good work. You've pulled off pictures I would have thought impossible, especially the ones involving world leaders.

from Full Focus:

Images of October

The month of October has been a dramatic month of deaths, from Steve Jobs of Apple succumbing to cancer to the demise of former Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi, as well as the dramatic racetrack death of Indianapolis 500 champion Dan Wheldon.   But toward the end of the month, life was celebrated with the birth of the seven billionth person on Earth.  Also in the news was the continued and now global growth of the Occupy Wall Street movement, Palestinian prisoner releases for captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and a devastating earthquake in Turkey. WARNING: Graphic content.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Farewell to the Gaddafi Goof-O-Rama

Blog Guy, have you been crying? What's the matter?

Oh, you know, I just hate to see Muammar Gaddafi go.

Are you nuts? He was a brutal dictator, overthrown by his own people!

Sure, but he was a madcap, zany goofball, too. He was in a class all by himself, and my blog was richer for him.

So it's all about you and your blog and your goofy stuff, Blog Guy? Everything in the world?

from The Great Debate:

Libya’s democracy has a real chance

By Daniel Serwer
The views expressed are his own.

Libyans will be getting up late tomorrow morning, having enjoyed a spectacular celebration tonight.  "The Wizard of Oz" comes to mind:  “The witch is dead, the wicked witch is dead!”

Now begins the hard work of building a more open and democratic society with some distinct advantages, and Libya has vast resources—not only the oil and gas in the ground, but also cash in foreign bank accounts.  Qaddafi’s ironic legacy is that his ill-gotten gains will fund Libya’s reconstruction.

from Breakingviews:

Gaddafi death could add momentum to Arab Spring

By Una Galani
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are her own.

Muammar Gaddafi’s death adds welcome momentum to the Arab revolution, allowing Africa’s biggest holder of oil reserves to begin moving towards democracy, like Tunisia and Egypt. If the country’s interim rulers can stick to their plan to hold elections within eight months, it might even take less time to get there than either of Libya’s revolutionary peers.

from The Great Debate:

Day 1 of the Libyan experiment

By Kyle Scott
The opinions expressed are his own.

The U.S. has avoided some of the mistakes it made in Iraq and Afghanistan in its dealings with Egypt and Libya. While the context of the Arab Spring is entirely different from that of the invasions of Iraq or Afghanistan, the thought that democracy could be forced upon a nation has been avoided by the Obama administration in a post-Mubarak Egypt and a post-Gaddafi Libya. With Gaddafi's death today, the challenge now is to continue taking this view while helping Libya move toward democracy. Working towards a successful transition requires adherence to two rules: A bottom-up system will be much more successful than a top-down one. The system that works in the U.S. may not work in these countries.

Top-down systems require coercion and manipulation to get things done. Bottom-up systems govern through consent. One works on domination and the other on cooperation. The uprising in Egypt was certainly bottom-up, but the government that has supplanted Mubarak is decidedly top-down. The prospect for Egypt looks bleak if the goal is to establish a representative system of government in which the majority retains the right to rule but the rights of the minority are safeguarded. It is not only because dissident voices are being quieted and religious minorities are being persecuted that the future looks bleak, it's because once power is gained, particularly in a top-down centralized regime, reform is difficult as power tends to entrench itself as the Egyptian people know all too well.

from The Great Debate:

A new beginning for Libya

By Stefan Wolff
The views expressed are his own.

The fall of Sirte and the death of Colonel Gaddafi today most likely represents the finishing blow for the remnants of the old regime in Libya. They are a highly valuable prize that the National Transitional Council (NTC) fought hard to obtain and that should trigger the formal transition period that Libya’s now widely recognized government has envisaged to lead to democratic elections and a new constitution. Comparable only to the fall of Tripoli in late August, today marks a momentous achievement for a popular movement that twelve months ago was hardly conceivable, let alone in existence. For all intents and purposes, Libya’s is the only successful uprising of the Arab Spring to date.

Though Libyans and their allies across the world are right to celebrate, we must not ignore the challenges ahead. Building a new and legitimate state in Libya remains a difficult task. Gaddafi’s death may well take the sting out of any loyalist resistance for now. The question of what the NTC will do with Gaddafi – try him in Libya or extradite him to the International Criminal Court – no longer exists, but there are others from his inner circle that will have to be dealt with in the future. Both trials at home, like Saddam Hussein’s, and trials abroad, like those handled by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, have their different problems and neither option is likely to avoid a sense of victors’ (in-) justice among Gaddafi loyalists.

from Oddly Enough Blog:

Oh, so this is a SERIOUS bike lane!

Okay, listen up, troops! I've got your duty assignments for the anti-Gaddafi army!

Smith, you're riding in a tank. Jones, you're a bombardier. Williams, you fire rocket-propelled grenades and blow up big stuff all day long. Johnson, you're on Bike Patrol. Williams, you're...

from Africa News blog:

Were NATO strikes on Gaddafi’s home town justified?

Britain’s defence secretary, Liam Fox, sounded a little scripted in Misrata at the weekend when I asked him whether NATO’s airstrikes in Muammar Gaddafi's home town of Sirte were staying within its remit to protect civilians in Libya.

“NATO has been extraordinarily careful in target selection.”

“NATO has been very careful to minimize civilian casualties.”

“NATO has stayed within its mandate throughout.”

It’s a mantra that NATO, and the countries that have contributed to its Libyan adventure, have had to learn well.  They’ve been accused of stretching the legality of the mission “to protect civilians by all necessary measures” before.

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