So…as if it weren’t controversial enough that Scotland released the terrorist behind Pan Am 103, now he has released documents that “prove” his innocence.
Newsweek had a mini-article – the stuff they have in the front now, that are analysis but not a full blown article – about how Scotland asserted itself with the release of Abdelbaset Ali al-Megrahi as a legit international state. It wasn’t clear whether it was a good move or not, just that at least Scotland pushed forward their existing compassion for convicted felons with terminal illnesses.
For all the times that I have been tired of rhetoric, especially lately, where it feels half of what the administration says is because it needs to say it, not because it’s what should be said…I am behind all those that have condemned this move. I have two reasons.
The first is personal. I do remember Pan Am 103, even though I was only 10 when it happened. No, I did not quite get the fact that this was a terrorist act, or what it meant that someone had done this in the name of something. What did hit me was that someone had meant to do this. And why would anyone want to do something so terrible? Selfish reason, I guess, to let my own pre-teen shock be a factor. But it’s my blog so..
The second has to do with a book I read a few years back called “Explaining Hitler.” * The book put forth the following notion – is Hitler on the spectrum of morality within which we all exist, but on the very, very extreme edge? Or is he actually off the chart (meaning that we exist in a “normal” range, though with some pretty crazy extremes nonetheless)?
I think that the same question can be asked here. Megrahi is at least at the far extreme, IMO. I don’t think he’s off the chart, if indeed Hitler was, and I don’t think he’s as far over as Hitler, either. But the point is that there is a spectrum, and if Megrahi is towards one end, then maybe Scotland’s political history of compassion shouldn’t apply in this case…
*NB – I don’t think anyone will ever be able to explain or help us really understand Hitler. But Rosenbaum tried to examine each of the arguments for what forces created such a…I’m loath to say “monster” in general but maybe it’s right this time and their validity in terms of history, etc.
NB^2 – I am not saying that this book is “the” book on the topic. Just one that I read.