Written on: 26. 8. 2011 in the category: news

Lockerbie Bomber

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Oh this day to see the face of Abdelbasset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, who must really have thought that he’d got away with the mass-murder of 270 people. For in one of the most infamous and degrading decisions ever taken by a western democracy, this creature was allowed to return to Libya two years ago, because he was “terminally-ill”. This was in accordance with “Scottish values” – whatever they might be – declared Kenny McAskill, the Socrates in charge of what passes for justice in Edinburgh. Bt actually, the release of this mass-murderer was merely an unprincipled act of boastful juvenilia, a declaration that a sovereign Scotland was not England and not the US, and could therefore do what it liked, na na na naaa. It was Scotland’s own de Valera moment – as when the taoiseach offered his condolences on the tragic death of Herr Hitler.


Better still: Al-Megrahi is – it is reported – being kept alive by some British wonder-drug, which is not available in Britain. These should be confiscated the moment he is captured. I am undecided whether he should rot for the rest of his days in a foetid underground rat-infested cell in Benghazi, or be staked to a runway at Heathrow Airport. But I am absolutely clear that the Scottish executive is too childishly pompous to be allowed to anywhere near the decision over his future, lest they grant him the freedom of Lockerbie, or make him Thane of Glamis.


The final moments of the evil Muammar Gaddafi are thus upon us: and what friends he had in Ireland. He armed the IRA and added maybe two decades to the Troubles; hundreds, perhaps thousands, died because of the munitions he shipped to this country. The shocking and chilling revelation seven years ago that in the 1970s the coalition government chose not to protest to Libya about its role in arming the IRA, lest such an action damage relations between the two countries established a nadir in national self-esteem that would be hard to match: except, of course, the government of the majestic McAskill duly matched it. If you do not take your national sovereignty, your laws, and your constitution seriously, then you cannot expect outsiders to do so. If Libyans regarded us with contempt, they had good reason.


“A protest might spur Col Gadafy to provide further supplies; the IDA feel that they may succeed in interesting Libyans in investment here; Irish organisations are interested in contracts with the Libyan authorities,” said a Department of Foreign Affairs note in 1973. Libyan action, it continued, was probably due to “misunderstanding by Colonel Gadaffi of the position in Ireland”. Well, if that despicable, murderous clown didn’t understand the “position in Ireland”, was it not the job of our government to have made it perfectly clear, with a declaration of unremitting hostility towards any state that interfered in Irish affairs?


Instead, we sank deeper and deeper into a moral abyss. Evils unprecedented in western democracy were facilitated by Gadaffi’s Semtex. Hence, the murders of the British ambassador, Christopher Ewart-Biggs, and his secretary, Judith Cook: and hence, the Mullaghmore atrocity, in which a boatload of children and octogenarians were blown to kingdom come. More horrors were to follow: Four Libyan arms shipments, totaling some150 tons, reached the IRA between August 1985 and September 1986.


Thus arrived the Semtex used in the Enniskillen poppy day massacre, which in turn led to one of the most unforgettable acts of moral generosity in the entire Troubles: Gordon Wilson publicly forgiving the bombers that had murdered his daughter Marie, who died in his arms. I stray into difficult territory here, but I must, for it takes us to the heart of this difficult thing, compassion towards the guilty. I do not blame Mr Wilson for his deeds, but the question remains. How can anyone ever forgive a murderer who has not sought forgiveness? Are the unrepentant to be treated with the same clemency as those who admit their sins and seek to be forgiven? Does Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, who clearly reveled in the lavish state-reception for him when he returned to Libya two years ago, deserve the respect due to a Sean O’Callaghan or an Eamon Collins, who having admitted their sins, sought forgiveness? (Collins’ actual reward was to be murdered by the IRA, and, in a fairly typical display of utter pusillanimity, the Shinners went unpunished by both Dublin or London).

Those who unconditionally pardon the uncontrite help thereby to create a moral universe in which good and evil are just rewarded just the same. Is it surprising that our troubles lasted so long, when our government treated its enemy as if it was a friend? And so Libya continued to supply the IRA in its evil, futile war while the Libyan embassy in Dublin stayed open for business. All so truly, truly pathetic.

But come what may, al-Megrahi’s days of freedom are soon to end. The wordless dead of Lockerbie now demand that he spend the rest of his wretched days in a prison cell. Freedom for Libya can only decently mean lifelong jail for al-Megrahi.


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