Answer: By targeting those symbols most closely associated with the regime.
This is exactly what has occurred in Colonel Muammar Gaddafi's compound in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. Its walls have been breached and its defences overrun. And the dictator's decapitated head lolls beneath the feet of jubilant rebel fighters. But this is not the real thing. It's a golden substitute, hacked from the body of an idolatrous statue. Once the symbol of a despot's supremacy, this obscene portrait is now a simple full stop: the final, clinching proof that the tyrant's rule is over.
Events have now reached their inevitable, bloody conclusion. Colonel Gaddafi never did face justice - just the butts of rifles and the barrel of the gun that appears to have ended his life. Yet "[k]illing him is not enough", insists Alaa al-Ameri writing in the Guardian:
We have to forget him. To do that we have to expunge his
influence from every aspect of our lives. Only then can we
be free of him.(1)
The idea of Gaddafi being utterly erased seems remote, not least given the grisly appeal of death and disaster tourism.(2) And would it be sensible to totally forget this monster? Surely the best way of safeguarding against some future Gaddafi would be to remember the terror and despair that he brought both to the people of Libya and to the citizens of other countries, not least the United Kingdom and the United States. Moreover, we would be wise to remember the cancerous influence he exerted on foreign powers - as exemplified by the actions of the former British premier, Tony Blair.(3)
The people of Libya can be forgiven for wishing to forget Gaddafi. But the people of Britain would do well to keep him in mind.
(1) al-Ameri, Alaa (2011) "Gaddafi is dead. We must now forget him", The Guardian, 20/10, accessed 20/10/2011 at, http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/oct/20/gaddafi-dead-libya
(2) See my blog posting, "Sites of sickening sights", 26/08/2011.
(3) Brady, Brian (2011) "Evidence grows of Blair's links with Gaddafi", The Independent, 18/09, accessed 20/10/2011 at, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/evidence-grows-of-blairs-links-with-gaddafi-2356576.html.