After months of bloody conflict, embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gaddafi was reportedly killed in his hometown of Sirte.
Although more information is still pouring from Libya, rebel leaders and many of the Libyan people are rejoicing over the news of his death.
Gaddafi ruled the country for over 40 years, after a military coup in 1969. Gaddafi, who viewed himself as a “brother leader,” was a Pan-Africanist and worked to unite African countries and fashion it into a sort of “United States of Africa.” His goal was to develop “a single African military force, a single currency and a single passport for Africans to move freely around the continent,” while including other countries, like Jamaica and Haiti, whose population was majority Black. Although his “United States of Africa” idea didn’t work out, many of the principles influenced the formation of the African Union, of which he served as chairman from 2009 to 2010.
While he was embraced by many at home, Western leaders shunned him. After denying involvement for years, Gaddafi took responsibility for the 1988 Pan Am bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland which killed 270 people.
After coming to power, Gaddafi was reportedly suspicious of a possible coup and was very active in crushing dissidence. However, after other countries in the region–namely Egypt and Tunisia–saw their leaders fall, many Libyans took to the streets to oust Gaddafi. As a result of 6-months of protests and bloody conflicts, rebel forces were able to overthrow the government, and many are claiming responsibility for Gaddafi’s death.