In the latest development for the 270 families affected by the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, Libyan President Moammar Gadhafi has offered to pay $2.7 billion to the victims’ families. The offer is not only disgusting but an underhanded gesture by a president known for his terrorist activities.
Pan Am Flight 103 was en route to New York City on Dec. 21, 1988, when the 747 exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing all 259 passengers and crew members and 11 people on the ground. Compensating someone for the loss of a child, parent, husband, wife or other loved one is almost impossible to do, but to use the tragedy as a bartering tool to better Libya’s position in the eyes of the Western world is unforgivable.
Not only is the proposal of a payoff outrageous, but the hoops the United States and United Nations would have to jump through are ridiculous. Stipulations to the payoff include an incremental system, in which the families of the victims would be awarded money only after the United States and the U.N. each drop their trade sanctions against Libya and only if the United States pulls Libya’s name from a list of nations that support terrorism. Plus, even though Libya will be shelling out its own money, it will not actually take responsibility for the bombing.
Some representatives for the victims have come out strongly opposed to Gadhafi’s offer, while members of Congress have been leery. As reported in The Tampa Tribune Wednesday, U.S. sanctions toward Libya were passed by Congress this summer to continue for another five years. And the State Department has said that this new offer does not change its position on Libya.
The bottom line is, through an act of terrorism and hatred, 270 people died over Scotland Dec. 21, 1988. Libya should not use the situation to improve its position in the world. The damage has already been done.