Thursday, August 20, 2009


This video of Scottish Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill, explaining his decision to release one of the Lockerbie bombers who is now terminally ill with prostate cancer, is worth watching. And worth remembering.



bastard central said...

i saw it this morning and i realize that this is where we differ rob. i was disappointed in the world community today.

Rob S. said...

Yeah, I think it is. And don't get me wrong; when I saw footage of Baset al-Megrahi getting off the plane in Libya to all those cheering people, I felt sick to my stomach.

Compassion, as I see it, isn't the same thing as forgiveness. In a way, it's the opposite of forgiveness. If he could be forgiven, it would be fine to release him either way. But he's a murderer of the worst sort, and he won't find forgiveness here.

But compassion is extending mercy in spite of what he did, not because of any forgiveness. Does he deserve it? Not at all. That's part of the point.

You and I are never going to have the opportunity to make a choice on this scale. But I hope that when someone has wronged us on a personal scale, and yet later are suffering, we'll be able to extend some sort of hand of mercy on a human level.

On an international scale, I'm genuinely not sure if it's a smart move. There's every chance it will be interpreted as a sign of weakness.

But whether or not it was the smart thing to do, or even the right thing to do, I think it was the good thing to do. And sometimes I need reminding that people can be good, even in the darkest of circumstances.

bastard central said...

very true. however, i can't help thinking that western society makes these compassionate gestures for it's own edifiaction. so that we feel like we're doing the "right thing" whereas they see it as potentially a gesture of weakness.

freeing him in spite of what he did doesn't make libya like the west any more than they did a week ago. we're still the great satan.

then again

i read this op ed in the wall street journal and the author being on my side of the tin foil hat society did bring up the notion that it would bring any future business dealings libya by britain under scrutiny.

whether it was "good" or not is really a discussion that we have. what they have is a discussion of how they can't wait until we're all dead or some other conspiracy theory.

i do find it interesting that as far as american news sources go, it was covered by you, that crappy morning program on channel 5, and the wall street journal. it says curious things about what our media finds newsworthy these days.

Rob S. said...

Yeah, I don't know if I could argue that this was the right thing to do on an international-relations level. I'm not prepared to make that argument, and I'm not sure if I believe it, anyway.

But on a human level, releasing him for his final (most likely agonizing) days was a good, unselfish act. (At least I hope so; the WSJ makes a good point.)

I'm pretty sure the footage I saw of him disbarking the plane was on MSNBC, so at least one other source was covering it. But yeah, when I google-news's "freed lockerbie bomber" the coverage seemed pretty sparse to me, too.