Monday, 9 August 2010

Fringe play tells Swire story

[This is the headline over an article in today's edition of The Herald. The following are excerpts:]

An Edinburgh Fringe play about the Lockerbie bombing has sparked poignant memories for Dr Jim Swire on whose original writings it is based.

Dr Swire and his wife Jane were haunted by the soundtrack of Lockerbie: Unfinished Business, in which their daughter Flora sings some of her favourite songs as a child.

She wanted to follow in her father’s footsteps and study medicine at Cambridge University, but died along with 269 others in the Lockerbie disaster of December 21, 1988, the day before her 24th birthday.

Dr Swire, 74, said: “My daughter was a free spirit and her death was such a waste of all the energy and effort she put into life.

“It was so hard at first. We were numb with grief and misery. Often I wondered if we could survive the experience – but we have.

“At the time, it was impossible to relate words like terrorism and bombs to our beautiful daughter.

“Lockerbie never goes away. It is like a big heavy overcoat that you never seem quite able to take off.

“When you’ve got children and something bad happens to one of them, you torture yourself with thoughts about how much they might have suffered.

“Every parent wants to prevent their child from suffering and we couldn’t because we weren’t there. That is what really hurts.”

The new play by David Benson is based on an unpublished book, Moving the World, written by Dr Swire and Peter Biddulph.

It covers the trial of Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al Megrahi and his co-accused Al-Amin Khalifa Fhimah at at Camp Zeist in the Netherlands as well as Dr Swire’s belief that Megrahi was wrongly convicted and his continued efforts to find out the truth about the disaster.

Dr Swire described his campaign as “an outlet not just for my grief but my intense rage as well, at the way we relatives were treated”. (...)

Speaking about the play, Dr Swire said: “David Benson did very well. The play is very accurate and I think it will have a big impact on Edinburgh audiences.”

His wife, Jane, added: “It was very good; a thumbnail sketch of Jim’s campaign to get at the truth. It’s just that I have never before had to face somebody playing the part of my husband on a stage.

“It was a strange experience, but then nothing after Lockerbie has ever been normal.”

Lockerbie: Unfinished Business is at the Gilded Balloon until August 20.

[The Washington Post has published the Associated Press news agency report about the play that was mentioned on this blog a few days ago.]

1 comment:

  1. What must it be like for Jim and Jane Swire to watch this play? The rest of us are going to see a play: their lives, or the old lives they lost when they lost Flora, along with the lives they have had to live ever since are being acted out in front of them. I think they are very brave.