Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Ultimate Judgment

I woke up this morning to the news that Abdel Basset ali al-Megrahi, the supposed bomber of the 1988 Pan Am Flight 103, finally died. (He was released from a Scottish prison on his "death bed" nearly three years ago.) Am I rejoicing in his death this morning? Do I feel closure? No. No gleeful rejoicing or feelings of complete closure have come over me. Perhaps a sense of finality similar to finishing up a book, closing it, and tucking it away on a shelf. It's over. Time to move onto the next book. But that book will remain forever, sitting there on my bookshelf. I cannot possibly throw it away or give it away. It's always there and can always be reopened. This book can be put away, but never truly forgotten. al-Megrahi is dead but his atrocious deed committed against humankind will always be remembered.

The stretch of 23 years has taken over my emotions. Emotions wrapped up so deeply in the 23 years that I've walked this earth since December 21, 1988. 23 years of life taken away from those who were senselessly killed by al-Megrahi with Muammar Qaddafi's blessing. The pain and hurt ebb and fade, but forever linger within me. My heart goes out to the survivors—those left behind. Mothers, best friends, brothers, neighbors, fathers, sisters, and roommates. Also to those of us, like me, who somehow cheated al-Megrahi and did not board Pan Am Flight 103 that day. WE are the ones left behind who will never forget. Unless we all strive for peace and justice in this reckless world, their deaths will be in vain.

I cannot label how I feel about the death of al-Megrahi. Maybe a sense of relief that he has finally left this world to face the ultimate judgment that we mortal humans could never sentence.

This poem was written by Ken Bissett, a 21-year old victim from New York.
A poem forever engraved on his headstone.

Poem by Ken Bissett

As I was walking along,
I looked up at the nighttime sky
I was passing under a tree,
But, rather than having the tree
Moving past the stationary sky,
I imagined that the night sky was moving;
pulled along by unseen chariots
With white horses
or strong-armed burly men
Or brilliant blue seagulls.
For a split second,
The sky was a huge blue tapestry;
Perforated with tiny holes;
Illuminated from above by some unseen light.
In case you are new to my story, previously published blog articles on the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 are listed below.

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