Lessons in humanity from Libyan family, a tale of Dickens from Cairo – and the wrong shark


Robert Fisk
The Independent
October 22, 2011

It’s an ill wind, etc. Today my thoughts are not with the Gaddafi family but with Bassam and Saniya al-Ghossain, whose daughter Raafat was killed in Libya on 15 April 1986.

She was the victim of President Reagan’s insane air raids on Tripoli – in revenge for the killing of an American serviceman in Berlin, by a bomb planted by one of Gaddafi’s lunatics. I was present at her funeral in Libya and have got to know her parents very well over the years since then. They are among my best friends in Beirut. I had lunch with them yesterday. And do you know what Saniya said about Gaddafi’s violent demise? “I am against these things. I am against all murder and killing.”

A pity that La Clinton could not bring herself to say something so humane. But she might – if she cares (which I doubt) – ask what happened to the $300m (£188m) which the Americans handed over to Gaddafi as a “final settlement” of scores when the US decided to re-open relations with the old rogue in 2008. The Libyans coughed up $1.5bn to settle accounts (Lockerbie, etc), the American cash was for the dead and wounded of their 1986 air raid. The al-Ghossains got not a cent from Gaddafi. They brought up their other daughter Kinda, who married and has had her first child, so Bassam and Saniya are now grandparents. It would be good to think that La Clinton could spare them a few seconds of her precious time, perhaps by reminding the boys in the Libyan “transitional” government that they have a debt to pay.

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