Wednesday, October 18th 2017

Lockerbie bomber: live and let die

An Episcopal priest and pagan witch see eye-to-eye on karma, the power of forgiveness and Scotland’s controversial release of the Pan Am 103 convict

lockerbie11DANNY KENNY and DAVID RICKEY — When Pan Am flight 103 was ripped from the skies on December 21st, 1988, it shocked the world and tore a remote tiny Scottish community apart. This horrific act of terror killed 270 people, including eleven in Lockerbie, as large sections of the plane fell in and around the town.

The release of former Libyan Intelligence officer ,and now-convicted Lockerbie bomber Al Megrahi, from a Scottish Prison back to his Libyan homeland raises many questions, including that of  his guilt, the severity of his condition, and about the real motives of the Scottish Government (given Libya’s position as a major source of oil). It is unlikely these questions will ever be answered to our satisfaction.

The majority of the British victims’ families have recently become less convinced of his guilt. In fact, many now publicly support Scottish Minister Kenny McAskill’s decision to allow Megrahi to return to his family members and die in his home country, rather than in the prison hospital. However, this move has triggered outrage in other parts of the world, especially with the victims families here in America.

On a spiritual rather than political plane, it brings up one major discussion at the very heart of the decision: compassion. Regardless of his guilt or innocence, is it compassionate to allow a convicted criminal the dignity and freedom to die in a way normally reserved for “good free men and women?”

Put another way, what is to be gained by further incarceration of a person who is about to die? If prison sentences are supposed to punish, when is punishment complete? The anger of those who are outraged seems more to express a human need for vengeance. But is that need “enlightened,” or does it point to an area in need of spiritual growth?

Compassion and forgiveness are hugely powerful actions. From a Karmic point of view, releasing someone from jail so they may die in peace generates more Karmic “credits” to those who support it, than than those scales-of-justicewho seek to enact Karmic “debts” by enforcing continued punishment.

Ultimately, forgiving even a heinous criminal produces a release in the one who forgives, allowing for much more presence and wholeness.  As Caroline Myss points out in “The Anatomy of the Spirit,” human beings aren’t meant to nurture old wounds for long periods of time. But the Hammurabic “eye for an eye” is an ancient and barbaric way of thinking. And, as Gandhi pointed out, carrying out that code would ultimately make the whole world go blind.

We may well decry the celebration with which Libya reportedly received Al Megrahi back home. On the other hand, might this expression of compassion further demonstrate a higher value system rather than perpetuate the mentality of justifying terror and oppression? Might the number of victims’ families who support the action be an indication that they are more ready to forgive and let go than others who view this event from a greater distance, and, perhaps, from a less evolved position?

One of the most common arguments we’ve heard in opposing the decision to free him is that punishment is supposed to be a deterrent to others who may consider committing such a heinous crime. But, sadly the events of 911 and subsequent terrorist acts have proved that terrorists, committed to their “causes”, put as little value on their own lives as they do on their victims. So that even the death penalty, far from acting as a deterrent, motivates these people into their own version of glorified martyrdom.

So we see that justification as just that; a justification of the Old Testament values of eye for an eye, as opposed to the more evolved New Testament and New Age spiritual paths that sanctify the value of life as sacred and adhere to the tenet, “Do What You Will but Harm None” (Wiccan Credo).

Many Judeo Christians put aside “Love thy Neighbour as Thyself,” at surely the most challenging and critical time it needs to be so mercifully adhered to.  If only because, even on a very pragmatic level, this failure to forgive and let live sends a message to other faiths and traditions that Christianity can be as lacking in compassion or mercy as some of the more fundamentalist or so called extreme branches of  other religions, which so often come under fire in the mainstream Christian right media and popular opinion.

sermon-on-the-mountIt seems it’s easy or almost benign to “love thy neighbor” when they are doing and rendering unto us, that which we perceive as rightfully ours. But it’s a very different story when they act in accordance with their own beliefs or values. It’s even more disturbing to hear people who describe themselves as both Christian and liberal, quoted as saying that he should have been left to die a painful death in prison.

We have to ask  ourselves: what does that kind of lack of compassion say to us about ourselves? And what kind of message, “spiritual” or otherwise, does that send to the rest of the world, who are in a very real modern global sense of the word, “our neighbors”?

David Rickey is an Episcopal Priest and Danny Kenny is a Pagan Witch

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3 Comments on “Lockerbie bomber: live and let die”

  1. The UK want to make friends with Libya because it has oil reserves, this was seen as an easy way to show friendship. The upside was licenses for BP to explore and the downside was...negligable because the Scottish Minister got the kicking from the world press, not Gordon Brown. It is nothing to do with compassion, it is just politics.

    The bloke is a mass murderer - he did not give his victims three months to say goodbye to their families before he blew them to pieces. I don't agree with the death penalty but neither do I agree with showing compassion to those who clearly do not understand it.

    I went to uni with one of the passengers on the Lockerbie plane, she was training to be a doctor and she was nineteen years old. I would rather spare a thought for her family than for a fanatical thug who is just being used as a pawn in a political game. Much as he used those on the flight.

    It would have been funny if they had opened the door of his flight over Libya and chucked him out with a firework up his arse, though ;)

  2. در 3:52 pmسعیده میگوید:man in masalaro ba haasmram matrah kardam shokre khoda ihsun manteghi barkhord kard va goft ke sedaghat barash mohemtare

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