August 31, 2011
HLS Visiting Professor Chibli Mallat recently published an op-ed in the Egyptian newspaper Ahram Online entitled “Libya’s Revolution: a troubling legacy of violence.”
It is estimated that more than 35,000 individuals have been killed in the uprising that resulted in the end of the dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi. Mallat points out that this death toll is higher than those in ongoing revolutions elsewhere in the region and questions whether rebels in Libya were right to take up arms.
He writes: “Once Gaddafi was at the doors of Benghazi in the frenzy of revenge, someone —anyone—should have intervened. ... But is it necessary to reach the point that arms are engaged? Is it not wiser, albeit perhaps more frustrating, to keep the revolution pure in the tenacity of its nonviolence, rather than lose the absolute moral superiority against violent rulers? More importantly, is it not more efficient for the revolution itself, both for the nature of its success and for the day after the dictator?”
Mallat is the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Visiting Professor of Islamic Legal Studies and the author of several books including “Iraq: Guide to Law and Policy” (Aspen/Kluwer Law International, Boston, 2009) and “Introduction to Middle Eastern Law” (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2007). He recently worked with a group of students from HLS, Harvard Kennedy School of Government and Tufts’ Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy to draw up a series of recommendations for constitutional reform in Bahrain. You can read the full story here.