Gaddafi: body politics

Article on Prospect: THE POLITICAL LIFE OF DEAD BODIES

Even before Gaddafi was officially declared dead, the internet was awash with gruesome pictures and videos of his corpse. While the media offered confused reports about the way he died, those films and photographs proved beyond doubt that he had, nevertheless, died. And until his body is buried, hundreds of Libyans will get the chance to see the dictator’s corpse, currently being stored at a meat market in Misrata.

When Osama bin Laden was shot dead by the American military in May, it was, as we know, a very different story. There were no pictures; nor did US officials permit video footage to be broadcast, although this is presumably what President Obama and Hilary Clinton were watching in that now famous photograph. The al Qaeda founder was swiftly buried at sea after he was killed. The American military knew that Bin Laden’s dead body could prove just as dangerous as the man was in life.

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