[This is the headline over an article by Libyan journalist and author Dr Mustafa Fetouri. I am grateful to him for allowing me to publish it here.]
Whatever the United States Attorney General, William Barr, plans to throw in our faces around 15:30 GMT today he will find us patiently waiting for his Hollywood-like bang that usually precedes the release of any new action movie. Except this time we have already seen the movie and it is hardly new!
Those who have been closely following the Lockerbie tragedy, like victims’ families, lawyers and independent observers like me already know what is coming tomorrow, is another unreliable, arbitrary and groundless accusations targeting new one or two Libyans as being culprits in the tragedy—continuation of the twisted Lockerbie narrative the US has been very good at alas with little success.
Whatever William Barr will throw at the world tomorrow will be much about lying and far less about the truth which his department, government and the UK authorities has made as elusive as ever. Yet it has been very obvious for last 32 years.
Libya today is so weak and chaotic. This means it is susceptible to blackmail even by its own criminal gangs and armed militias, as is the case everyday, let alone by imperialist hegemonic superpowers like the US. Let’s remember here that Mr. Barr’s own government, and more than 30 others, made sure in 2011 that Libya will never be viable independent state ever again.
Even worse Libya’s own so called Government of National Accord (GNA), the only one recognized by the United Nations, lacks any patriotic credentials and viewed, by the majority of Libyans, as a gang imposed on them by the West in a UN package.
Most GNA politicians, and those rivalling it in the east of the country, know very little about the Lockerbie bombing. On top of that they do not want anything to do with it. We have seen GNA defunded the defence team and I have firsthand account of how that happened and why.
GNA knew, long ago, that the third appeal was coming and it has great chances of succeeding in throwing out AL-Meghahi’s 2001 guilty verdict. While the lawyers stood at the court’s door GNA betrayed them by refusing to resume funding despite its repeated promises. This is actually against Libya’s domestic laws which oblige the government to help, financially, citizens abroad, should they face legal issues.
After Al-Meghrahi’s legal team launched their his appeal, posthumously, I started writing about the case in Arabic, the only Libyan journalist so far, I have been warned off at least twice and I risk being harmed once I return to Libya.
After the defence lawyers setup crowd funding page, I tried to do the same inside Libya but could not. Privately I have received hundreds of message from ordinary Libyan willing to help but I could not do anything really! It is not only GNA’s stooges that prevented me but also the financial and administrations issues it has failed to tackle in the country. Banks, for example, do not have cash in a country where other payment systems or credit cards unheard of. I could not publically announce funding campaign inside Libya except on my social media accounts.
On top of that some GNA linked individuals and supporters have been prejudiced towards my Facebook posts when I write about Lockerbie— something I do extensively nowadays.
I consider the entire country as victim of the Lockerbie tragedy. To me the case is much bigger than Gaddafi and Al-Meghrahi, both dead now, but the scars of Lockerbie still with every Libyan just as they are still with the families of the 270 innocent people who died in the tragedy. It is about Libya, its people and the injustice done to them.
The entire 6 million-plus Libyans paid heavily, in one way or another, as a result of crippling economic sanctions and ban of air travel imposed on them, for over ten years, in the wake of the Lockerbie bombing.
Gaddafi, however villain many see him, was a patriotic proud man full of dignity and love for his country and despite being the weakest link in the international power game he always maintained his self esteem and that of his people.
Today Gaddafi is gone and whatever legacy he left behind, at least as strong dignified leader to many, is being wiped out or distorted by western stooges, criminals, double agents, traitors, and outright terrorists he once kept at bay making Libya one of the safest countries in the most troubled parts of the world. To those who do not know Libya, this sounds like cheap nostalgic outburst but in fact it sums up the feelings of most of my fellow Libyans.
No wonder the majority of Libyans, including Gaddafi’s staunchest enemies, never dispute his loyalty to Libya nor his protection of its citizens and sovereignty.
Today Libya not only lacks strong and independent leadership but lacks the fundamentals of the normally functioning state courtesy, in part, of Mr. Barr’s government.
Most of those in power in Tripoli know very little about Lockerbie bombing and those few who know prefer to see Libya continue to be synonymous to the tragedy as if that is a victory for them against a murdered man –Gaddafi!
Mr Barr, on his way out of the justice department, maybe seeking to create false feeling of heroism, to chew on in his retirement.
Instead he is about to destroy another Libyan family and anger some victims’ families by intruding on their grief on the anniversary of the Lockerbie bombing.
His announcement, in couple of hours, is no more than yet another attempt to divert the search as away as possible from the truth we all seek.
[RB: A version of this article has now been published in The National.]