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Updated on May 21, 2012

What a contrast?

"Don't ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee"; but not many Americans could restrain themselves about the news that the Lockerbie bomber has died. They would react as if Dunne never wrote it; to the news that the man, who was convicted for the Lockerbie bombing has himself become a victim of prostate cancer.

He had denied his participation in the bombing all along, but a court in Scotland found him guilty and sentenced him to a life term imprisonment. The court had no doubt that he was involved in causing the aircraft to go down with more than 200 passengers, and other casualties on the ground.

189 of those passengers were United States citizens; and so, when he was released from prison, due to terminal prostate cancer in 2009, there was such an uproar in the U.S. and around the globe.

However, the Scottish authorities maintained that he had a short time to live; and so he was flown back to Libya for his former boss, Moammar Gadhafi, who was then the Libyan Head of State, who gave him a hero's welcome at the Tripoli International Airport, to the dismay of those whose loved ones have perished in the air crash.

Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi was the security chief of Libyan Arab Airlines at the time of the crash, and so, he must have had a hand in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103. He was charged and finally convicted with it, while his colleague, Al Amin Khalafi, another Libyan intelligent official, was found not guilty.

Megrahi had said last October that his role in the attack "had been exaggerated" and the truth would "emerge soon." but it was his release that bothered most people, who thought that justice has not been served, as he should have died in prison, "but not in freedom."

He has spent the rest of his life with his family, since coming back home from Scotland; and after three years, his condition was critical, but he had relatives taking care of him. His health had a sudden turn around yesterday, when he was taken to a Tripoli hospital, where he died.

"He was too sick to utter anything on his deathbed," said his brother Abdulhakim. "We want people to know he was innocent." he continued.

However, as head of the LAA at that time, many have associated him with the bombing, and were highly elated, when a Scottish court found him guilty on undeniable evidence and jailed him for life.

There was jubilation at the news of his death; which had turned into "partying" in many circles, especially by those, who have been waiting to hear of his demise from his terminal prostate cancer.

It had come too late for Gadhafi to have heard that Megrahi had died, because he (Gadhafi) had been killed ferociously only a year ago in the Libyan uprising, which was part of the Arab Spring of 2011.

The culture of lamenting someone's death has inverted or reversed into a celebration and merry making for those, who happened to be that person's victims. Though, they themselves have died and gone, their family members have never been as privileged to learn that the one, who caused the death of the people they loved in the Pan Am Flight 103 bombing, has himself died.

What a contrast. How unorthodox life could be, in this particular instance, for both Megrahi and the families of his victims. They were happy of the news of his death; but his own family was now grieving for a change.

John Donne's quote at the start of this blog might be a metaphorical bell; and it tolled for all of humanity. Nevertheless, it was good to hear of al-Megrahi go; for his bell only "tolled" just for him alone.

LAA: Libyan Arab Airlines.


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