The decision to release, on compassionate grounds, the man accused of taking part in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland has caused a lot of uproar around the world and especially the West. A lot has been made of the decision with many suspecting the Scottish government of carrying out secret financial deals with the Libyan government in exchange for Al Megrahi's release with disregard to the victim's families and international law. This they say is a miscarriage of justice. It is not difficult to see why anyone would imagine secret deals took place behind closed doors. In a world where material wealth is exalted above all else, the idea that one man, no matter the consequences, would uphold his values and beliefs, and do the job his people called on him to perform is considered a display of naïveté unbecoming of today's political reality.
Personally I believe that Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill should be hailed for upholding the very ideals that we so often profess but fail to live up to. In a world where greed has compromised most upstanding world citizens, it is refreshing to see a display of such qualities that are reminiscent of the great John Adams who stood up for the rule of law when it was perhaps the most unpopular thing to do. He wrote in his diary after the defence of Captain Preston and his men that:
"I . . . devoted myself to endless labour and Anxiety if not to infamy and death, and that for nothing, except, what indeed was and ought to be all in all, sense of duty..... The Part I took in Defence of Capt. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the Jury was exactly right."
MacAskill, it would seem, having no other recourse than the law and his humanity did what he perceived was right, something that should stand out as an example to all who profess such ideals as compassion for your fellow human being. Those who perceive it as a victory for terrorism should look hard at the facts and realise that it is instead a victory for democracy and liberal ideals.
Everyone seems to be disgusted by the fact that Al Megrahi was given a hero's welcome back home in Libya. Instead of attempting to understand why it is that these people would embrace a convicted mass murderer in light of international rebuke. There are so many misunderstandings and divisions between the Arab people and the West that ordinary politicians cannot address but which only ordinary citizens can resolve and heal. The attempt to boycott all things Scottish in protest is as foolish as it is unjustified simply because many wonders have come from the true "Land of the Brave" not least of which is penicillin and in doing so, you would seek to punish those who attempt to show the way forward. You would be no different from those that perpetrate these very acts of terrorism against civilians in the hope of punishing their leaders.