Weekly musings on the arts and current events.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Taking the High Road

Scotland has repatriated the convicted Lockerbie saboteur to die among his people. Many are embittered by this act of compassion, saying Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi should rot in jail. The United States vigorously protested his release (189 of the 270 victims were Americans) and his hero's welcome in Tripoli has rubbed more salt into the wound. However, many Britons concur with the decision, and still others doubt that Megrahi was guilty in the first place.

I admire what Scotland has done. I think their compassion has turned Mr. Megrahi into an emissary for civilization: a sword beaten into a plowshare. His return to Libya is proof that the country he attacked is morally superior to the one that sponsored his mission. And while this may not be apparent to the bused-in demonstrators at the Tripoli airport, we must believe that it will resonate in the consciences of civilized people everywhere else.
Post Script: Added Sunday, August 23.
Since writing the above two paragraphs, it's been revealed that influences other than compassion may have been at work. The Prime Minister and his predecessor had both been in discussion with Libya about a prisoner exchange, including Megrahi, and his release was advantageous for British Petroleum. There have been denials all around, but the fact remains that responsibility for foreign affairs rests with the central government, and undeniably, this has been a muddle. The high minded message that I praised has been lost, and we are again at stalemate with the Muslim world: their fanaticism vs. our venality.


DUTA said...

I have zero compassion for Al-Megrahi.I have zero respect for the scottish Justice Secretary who released the libyan Lockerbie bomber. I have thoughts and feelings only for the victims on the plane and their families.

"I admire what Scotland has done." - Richard, I am shocked by your words. These people, the libyans, the iranians, and so the entire world, have to get clear, sharp messages, not some proof of superiority/inferiority.

The umbrella in the picture is a good reminder of Chamberlain and his 'peace' umbrella.

TallTchr said...

I'm sure to be in the minority on this one. Moral victories are cold comfort. Thank you for your comment.

Paula Slade said...

It was a tough call on Scotland's part but the man only has a couple of months to live. Much has been said about his conviction and the tampering of evidence by Scotland Yard and individuals from our country who were sent to assist in evidence gathering. When he was released I thought that it was because of serious doubts about his innocence. Gosh, I'd hate to think it was all because of Petroleum.

Bella said...

just my opinion, but I don't think he should have been given a pardon, if you will, to come home and die, and be given that welcome back home at the airport. I was stewed, and I can't imagine the outrage of the families of the people who died on that flight.

btw, it's nice to meet you. I followed a link in from Southern Cailfornia Woman.