08-20-09 Release of Libyan suspect in Lockerbie bombing should put injustice of past behind us

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Release of Libyan in Lockerbie bombing should put end to injustices on all sides
By Ray Hanania —
It is understandable that many Americans are upset about the decision by the Scottish court to release Abdelbaset al-Megrahi from his 27 year prison sentence after only a few years served. The accused, al-Megrahi, was convicted in the bombing of PAN AM Flight 103 in 1988. The plane was flying over Lockerbie when it exploded, killing all 259 passengers and crew and 11 civilians on the ground. But not understandable is the narrow-vision of Americans who always see terrorism as an act of violence by someone else, but never an act of violence that has resulted from terrorism committed by the United States and the West against civilians in the Arab World.

Libyan President Moammar Gaddafi’s infant daughter was among the 36 civilians murdered in 1986 when US President Ronald Reagan ordered the bombing of one of Gaddafi’s homes.

The attack was not against a Libyan military target but rather against innocent civilians. Reagan alleged that Libya was behind the bombing of a disco many weeks earlier that took the lives of two American soldiers and one Turkish woman, and injuring dozens of others in Berlin.

But Americans screaming about al-Megrahi’s release, seem blind and unconcerned when justice is lost involving non-American murdered by American foreign policies.

Thousands of Arabs in the Middle East were killed because of American policies, and those murders often were the motivation between retaliatory violence against Western targets, including the PAN AM Flight and other airline targets.

Terrorism is terrorism, but justice is also justice. The fact is that no one has complained when Reagan was never brought to justice for ordering the killing of Libyan civilians. Or, for that matter, no one in America was ever charged with funding and orchestrating and “masterminding” the murder of civilians in Iran during the pro-American and funded terrorist regime of The Shah of Iran Moahmmed Reza Pahlavi. Pahlavi was one of the worst mass murderers in Middle east history and he was protected by Americans.

Osama Bin laden is well known today as the terrorst mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 attack on the United States, taking some 3,000 lives. But Americans conveniently forget that Bin laden was a member of the Mujahideen trained and funded by the United States in the war in Afghanistan against the Soviet Union.

And, we conveniently forget that Iraq’s murdered dictator Saddam Hussein was in fact our ally int he war against the Iranian religious Muslim successors to the terrorist Shah of Iran, the Ayatollahs who held so many Americans hostage during the administration of former President Jimmy Carter.

Rather than lament the release of al-Megrahi, Americans should look towards it as an opportunity to close a dark period in our history fromt he 1970s and 1980s when American terrorism was answered with Middle East terrorism.


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Ray Hanania

Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and Columnist who began writing in 1975 when he published The Middle Eastern Voice newspaper in Chicago (1975-1977). He covered Chicago City Hall from 1976 through 1992 (Mayor Daley to Mayor Daley) and has expanded to writing for newspapers around the world focussed on Middle East and American politics.

Hanania loves to write about American Arabs in politics, and focuses on Arab life in America.

Currently, he writes weekly columns on Middle East and American Arab issues for the Arab News in Saudi Arabia at www.ArabNews.com. He writes on American politics for the Des Plaines Valley News, Southwest News-Herald, The Regional News newspaper and the Reporter Newspapers. He also writes for the online websites TheArabDailyNews.com and NewsAmericaNetwork.com (Illinois News Network at IllinoisNewsNetwork.com).

Palestinian, American Arab and Christian, Hanania’s parents originate from Jerusalem and Bethlehem. Hanania began in journalism as an activist publishing Chicago’s first English-language American Arab Newspaper “The Middle Eastern Voice” from 1975 through 1977. In 1976, he was hired by the Chicago community newspaper The Southtown Economist (Daily Southtown) and in 1985 was hired by the Chicago Sun-Times and covered Chicago City Hall for both. In 1993, he launched the “The Villager” Newspapers which covered 12 Southwest Chicagoland suburban regions. In 2004, he published “The National Arab American Times” monthly newspaper which was distributed through 12,500 Middle East ethnic food stores in 48 American States.

Hanania is the recipient of four (4) Chicago Headline Club “Peter Lisagor Awards” for Column writing. In November 2006, he was named “Best Ethnic American Columnist” by the New American Media;In 2009, he received the prestigious Sigma Delta Chi Award for Writing from the Society of Professional Journalists. He is the recipient of the MT Mehdi Courage in Journalism Award. Hanania has also received two (2) Chicago Stick-o-Type awards from the Chicago Newspaper Guild, and in 1990 was nominated by the Chicago Sun-Times for a Pulitzer Prize for his four-part series on the Palestinian Intifada.

Hanania’s writings have been published in newspapers around the world. Formerly syndicated by Creators Syndicate, Hanania also has written news, features and Opinion Columns for Al Jazeera English, the Jerusalem Post, YNetNews.com, Arab News, Saudi Gazette, Newsday in New York, the Orlando Sentinel, the Houston Chronicle, The Daily Star, the News of the World, the Daily Yomimuri in Tokyo, Chicago Magazine, the Arlington Heights Daily Herald, and Aramco Magazine. His political columns are published in the Southwest News-Herald and Des Plaines Valley News, Regional News and Palos Reporter newspapers in Chicagoland. Hanania is the President/CEO of Urban Strategies Group media and public affairs consulting which has clients in Illinois, Florida, Michigan and Washington D.C.

Hanania is Palestinian Christian from prominent Bethlehem and Jerusalem families. His wife and son are Jewish and he performs standup comedy lampooning Arab-Jewish relations, advocating for peace based on non-violence, mutual recognition and Two-States.

His Facebook Page is Facebook.com/rghanania

Email him at: RGHanania@gmail.com