Monday, 5 August 2013

Truth being deliberately denied to Lockerbie relatives

[What follow are excerpts from an article by Phyllis Stephen published today on the website of The Edinburgh Reporter: Those of a sensitive disposition are warned that the article contains a photograph in which I appear.]

One of the best things about the Fringe is that no performance is generally ever more than an hour long.  The problem for this play was that this is a huge story, and a massive conspiracy theory is being unearthed during the telling of it, meaning perhaps that an hour is too short.

The story is powerfully written and powerfully told with only six Pan-Am seats on stage (looking for all the world like upright coffins at first glance) and few other props other than the odd newspaper or handbag. The conversations are taking place all at the same time, just as they would be on the doomed plane when it took off. All of this interaction was carried off with complete aplomb by the six actors from Lee Gershuny’s Edinburgh-based The Elements World Theatre.

Even though you know what happened, there is still a moment of complete shock in store for the audience, and that is made all the more powerful by the scant set.

Dr Jim Swire, father of 23 year-old Flora who died in the crash, has long maintained that there is more to the story. He and Professor Robert Black, Emeritus Professor of Scots Law at University of Edinburgh, write regularly along with Peter Biddulph about their investigations and concerns connected to the Lockerbie bombing (...)  Dr Swire spoke at the opening of Lockerbie: Lost Voices.  After declaring the play ‘skilfully done’, he described crucial evidence that, as alleged in last year’s book Megrahi: You are my Jury by John Ashton, had not been taken into account before the verdict was given in the trial of al-Megrahi.

He said: “A statement from Downing Street was released that branded this book an ‘insult to the relatives’, but that statement itself was the insult, because the relatives just want to know the truth. We are being deliberately denied this by the prosecution service of Scotland. The bombing was clearly a revenge attack; clearly preventable, and that is all here in this play. The people of Scotland have got to rise up and say ‘this isn’t good enough’.” (...)

Professor Black has campaigned long and hard on behalf of what he perceives as the wrong done to the Scottish justice system, and he told The Edinburgh Reporter that he is convinced that the conviction of Abdelbaset Ali Al-Megrahi will be overturned during his lifetime. Well we shall have to wait and see about that.

But first of all you can go and see the play (...) at the Netherbow Theatre in The Scottish Storytelling Centre over the next three weeks.  A story to give you food for thought, well written and well acted.

[An interview with the playwright, Lee Gershuny, and with the play’s actor-director, Corinne Harris, can be viewed, along with rehearsal footage, on the ITV Border website.]


  1. As a follower of this subject and a believer in the fact that it is a major injustice I was disappointed in the finale to the Lockerbie Bomber play. After demonstrating the power the USA wields in ensuring the truth is not revealed we are told that the SNP government has reduced support for independence by releasing Megrahi to avoid an appeal.
    Good God does the author really believe that said Scottish government was not told in no uncertain terms that to do anything else would lead to a lot more than metaphorically having its fingers broken?

  2. I don't think the author really understands the Scottish political scene if he said that. (It's a while since I saw the play and I don't recall that passage - I mainly recall an extremely powerful drama which was a work of fiction.)

    Salmond may have had all sorts of stick from abroad about his release of Megrahi, and yes, we know that was all hypocrisy as these players actually wanted him to be released. However, Salmond didn't get widespread stick in Scotland for doing that. Public support was running around 70%.

    Bear in mind that the release happened in August 2009. In May 2011 Salmond won an unprecedented (and supposeldly impossible) overall majority in the Scottish parliament, with the SNP getting about 45% of the vote.

    People are thinking about independence now. They are thinking about a lot of things, such as the currency, the EU, Trident, pensions and social security. What I can guarantee is that the number of people who have been swayed from a Yes persuasion to a No by the release of Megrahi four years ago is not going to make the slightest difference to the outcome. I'd be surprised if there's anyone at all in that category.

  3. I suppose we should apologise for discussing "The Lockerbie Bomber" when the play being reviewed in the main blog post is "Lockerbie Voices", which I have not yet seen.

  4. ANNOUNCEMENT for to day: (google translation, german/english):

    ATTENTION - Caution do not confuse with the crash of PanAm flight PA-103, over Lockerbie !
    It trades around Libya Arab Airways, flight 'LA 1103'
    TV- Programme:
    Al Jazeera World : Flight 1103: Libya's Lockerbie?
    The story behind Libya's worst aviation disaster and how the regime of Muammar Gaddafi sought to deceive its citizens and blame its enemies for the tragedy.

    Tuestday 6 August, 20:00 GMT
    Wednesday 7 August, 12:00 GMT
    Thursday 8 AugusT, 01:00 GMT

    If the upcoming camera hearing by Aljazeera World, about: "flight LA 1103: Libya's Lockerbie", corresponds to the truth, what is then to derive?

    A short reflection: It would show what revenge feeling is at ex leader of Libya, Gaddafi developed, well-off for this hideous act to admit; After United States and UK declared for political reasons, which would have the Gaddafi regime carried out the attack on PanAm 103 over Lockerbie (270 victims) ...

    In german language:
    Wenn das kommende "Camera Hearing"
    von Al Jazeera World, über: "Flight 1103: Libya's Lockerbie ", der Wahrheit entspricht, was ist dann daraus abzuleiten ?

    Eine kurze Besinnung: Es würde zeigen, welche Rachegefühle sich bei ex Libya Leader, Gaddafi entwickelten, um sich für diese scheussliche Tat hinreissen zulassen; nachdem USA und UK aus politischen Gründen erklärten, das Gaddafi Regime hätte das Attentat auf PanAm 103, über Lockerbie (270 Opfer) ausgeführt...

    by Edwin Bollier, MEBO Ltd