Thursday, September 17, 2009

Highlander is 6 years old

Ramadan and Libya being constantly on the news because of the Megrahi and other issues made me forget two important dates.

(1) The anniversary of the execution of Omar Mukhtar.
(2) This blog's birthday.

Yes Highlander has turned six since last month! There have been many learning points :)

The next important date is this Saturday as it will be the first day of Eid El Fitr in Libya

Eid Mabrouk folks !

Type rest of the post here

Monday, September 07, 2009

Libya and the curse of blood money

When Megrahi, the alleged Lockerbie bomber was sent back to Libya to die last month, I wrote a tiny sentence in a very long post : " Oh please not another cycle.. it's getting lame who else now wants money ?"
Was this a premonition?......

Blogger Maya had commented" " About the US reactions to Mr. Megrahi's welcome in Libya - I do not quite understand you. There were similar reactions in Libya when the Bulgarian medics were welcomed and immediately pardoned, weren't there? It is only logical and does not necessarily indicate that somebody "wants more money".

My reply was that " I agree that 'it does not mean someone wants more money' but in the Libya case that's what seems to happen always :P but that was not my point this time."

Again it seems that time has proven me right ( if ever my old friend DM is still reading this blog he would nod his head in approval... I have always been right :P eh?).

No sooner had Megrahi made it back to Libya that the cries for compensation for IRA victims started to trickle in on August 25. I chose to look the other way, but now I am more than convinced I was correct in my assumption.

Just two days ago, "Gordon Brown has confirmed the UK will support compensation claims being made against Libya by IRA victims' families." [ref]

Apparently the Americans as usual had already negotiated compensation from Libya for their citizens ages ago cutting out the British in the process:

"Out-of-court deals have been agreed by Libya with three American victims of IRA atrocities.

But more than 100 UK IRA victims, who had been pursuing similar claims through the US courts, had been excluded from those deals" [ref].

Moreover, we are constantly reminded that the families of the US Lockerbie victims have received compensation, what did the UK victims receive?

Ironically numerous people in the UK lost family as a direct result of American aid, one minor example being the funding sent through the tarnished NORAID organisation.
We cannot forget that there was (it may not be that politcally correct anymore) widespread support for the IRA from a large group of Americans of Irish descent and other rich American misanthropes :P... the process only started to be curbed when it bit the US in the face. But my impression is that Americans don't really like those Brits anyway so turning a blind eye could be more than OK,

Today I wonder why is the US not paying blood money also for the victims of IRA terrorism ? It's attitude towards what constitutes terrorism leaves a lot to be desired (but you all know that now this is a useless conjecture).

In conclusion it's easier to just demand money from Libya, because the US can always give the excuse " oh but we have no power over what individual citizens chose to do"! LOL no they only have power when that individual is Muslim or Arab. Irish - Americans have not been incarcerated or viewed with mistrust for their relation to Ireland in their community and by their government - why ? again because they are white and so the xenophobia will not play against them. Xenophobia is selective and the UK is playing a game of distracting the world to gain points with the US and try to shift the blame of the current political fiasco between them on Libya.. The UK would not dare ask America for compensation.

The things goverments, politicians and those in power will do for strategic, national and personal interests... oh and I don't blame them - I merely remark on things

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Donkeys vs People: The Media Circus

Even before Megrahi left Scotland I expected the media circus, the inflammatory notes and last minute bandwagon jumpers. So predictable!

I am not discussing here the Scottish decision or the UKUS relations or even those silly enough to want to boycott Scotland :) that was hilarious to read, because I can remember when the US was mad at France: renaming fried potatoes as freedom fries smacked of third world behaviour to me. Seriously is that all the US can do to punish a European country that does not want to follow its lead all the time? I bet you that if some similar act that displeased the US government had been perpetrated by a non Western country and especially if that country was Arab or Muslim or both (the term is interchangeable for them) the ink would not have been allowed to dry before that country would have born the brunt of the wrath of a vengeful nation. That fictitious country would have been shocked and awed and given a lesson in justice.

Please USA, show me you are even handed in your 'justice' and go punish your British allies now. Can you please start by closing their bank accounts and preventing access to any investments they have in the US and the world, can you slap sanctions and bully the UNSC to do so as well, can you further show me you are just and blitz bomb Edinburgh and London ? Of course none of this is going to happen because these are your old colonial masters and even though the UK is somehow a multiethnic society now with a large number of immigrants it is still WHITE.

Ok got that off my chest now let me go back to my topic.

Sadly, the majority of Libyans are not that interested in Megrahi's fate. In trying to catch up with the lost years (partly due to sanctions and partly our fault) many of us have become so superficial that we'd rather strive for a bigger income, buy more bling, cars, land, farms and show off. The least on the mind of a large number of my compatriots are things like "has there been justice?" Many of us as so weary of this story (over 20 years now) and believe that it is old and that guilty or not we have paid to the West what they wanted so can this please go away now.

While it is understandable that family members of the victims of the Pan AM flight are saddened and even angered at this outcome, I find it hypocritical that the US media and the US politicians view this from such a narrow angle. I am not laying blame on them alone but on most of the West and the western wannabes. The double standards used are so conspicuous that for me it evokes the word RACISM.

It was actually Bulgarian reader and blogger Maya who reminded me of an interesting comparison:

"About the US reactions to Mr. Megrahi's welcome in Libya - I do not quite understand you. There were similar reactions in Libya when the Bulgarian medics were welcomed and immediately pardoned, weren't there? It is only logical and does not necessarily indicate that somebody "wants more money"." [ref]

Therefore, the US reaction is logical because they believe they have been cheated of the right for vengeance and so cannot see that someone is happy to have a family member back in their midst. The Bulgarian reaction is logical also because they have their compatriots (the medics) back, but then so is the Libyan reaction logical! Why not? Why would it be OK for Bulgarians to show happiness and for Libyans to hide it? Where was the outcry from international community and at its head the US? If I recall well every western country was falling over its head to claim they were the ones who instigated the release of the Bulgarian medics.

In the words of Ghadafi: "Perhaps they have feelings, and we don't? Maybe we are donkeys, and they are people?". Sometimes one wonders.

The Lockerbie issue and the Libyan Children with AIDS issue are actually quite similar.


(1) Alleged Libyan bomber convicted and sentenced - after bringing a country to its knees with sanctions- by a European court under immense US pressure and meddling. There are so many question marks on the procedures and evidence. It just is not so well glued together, to the point were some people have cried that there was miscarriage of justice. If you feel like reading more these two bloggers (1 , 2) have accumulated a number of articles which while not proof show that Libya's guilt is at the very least debatable.

(2) Megrahi serves 8 years in prison in Scotland (I think he would have been killed a long time ago if he served them in the US).

(3) US families receive 10 million $ compensation each – not sure what the Scottish families did. ( I'm OK with the concept of compensation after all it is blood money, you can take it and usually forgive ( ie drop the charges) or relinquish your right to take it and either drop the charges or not)

(4) Global circumstance change and the political machine is set in motion.

(5) Megrahi released to die home on compassionate grounds.

(6) Megrahi received home and given what looks like a hero's welcome. There is no life to resume. We still don't know who did it (except the US: P), so justice is not served for the families of the victims. Some families believe that he is a scapegoat

(7) Outrage by the West

(8) Megrahi gets a kiss and hug from the head of state the following day- more outrage- but is that such a big deal? just reflect about it I don't need to spell it out...

(9) British diplomats think the release of Libyan national was worth it.

Libyan children injected with AIDS issue

(1) Bulgarian medics (+ their Palestinian friend) convicted by a Libyan court for allegedly injecting Libyan children in hospital in Benghazi with the AIDS virus. International experts brought from the West who maintain that scientifically this is not correct etc.. so still many question marks on the procedures and evidence.

(2) They served 8 years also in Libyan prison.

(3) Global circumstances change and the political machine is set in motion and the death sentence is lifted from over their head.

(4) The death sentence is commuted to prison only and the medics are released to Bulgaria on the condition they serve the remaining sentence there.

(5) Medics given a widely broadcasted real hero's welcome in Bulgaria and all over the world with Mrs Sarkozy accompanying them. Immediately pardoned by the president so they go to resume their life free, even though justice is not really served for the Libyan children and we don't know what was the real story, and a number of Libyans still believe they are guilty

(6) The west celebrates and one more point 'gained' for freedom from those 'evil' Arabs.

(7) Outrage by Libyans only – nobody else cares

(8) Compensation or blood money finally set in motion for 1 million $ per family. Bargain price he he he. 10:1 and European diplomats think that the release of the European medics and their tag-along Palestinian friend was worth it.

The funny part is that unlike the media's portrayal which carried two photos only across the world and made a mountain out of a molehill, Megrahi did not receive a hero's welcome. The streets were the usual when he returned because the ordinary Libyan as I said had more pressing things to think about like shopping for Ramadan and eking out a living. But there is nothing preventing his tribe, family and friends from welcoming him at the airport and feasting him at home. After all for them he is innocent and anyway just because your dad is a convict you don't stop loving him. One article states that thousands of jubilant crowds greeted him, then a few paragraphs later states that it was a low key approach: " al-Megrahi's welcome was relatively muted. Hundreds of people waiting in the crowd for his plane were rushed away by authorities at the last minute, and the arrival was not aired live on state TV."

Hell I could raise at least 25,000 relatives to greet me when I return from treatment overseas or even if I had gone to prison. For them I'm still Highlander.

So to go back to the beginning Maya reminded me that reactions are logical depending on where you are situated. The only problem is that we need to be fair and either condemn both the Bulgarians (and the West) and Libyans for their jubilation. Or shut our mouth.

I could not care less about the relationship between the two Western allies, it's their problem and they will sort it out soon, it's just that some egos have been bruised and some people did not get a piece of the political pie and so are bitter about it. What I'm worried about is that both countries will bury their differences and unite to somehow inflict pain on Libya, the mechanism has already started…everyone who has a grievance wants payment :P but that's not today's post.

My biggest disappointment is that now that the documents have been sealed forever we will never know what really happened on the ill fated Pan Am flight and more than a lingering doubt will remain about this unresolved mystery.