Intervention forces aren’t the only ones in Libya searching for an exit strategy. As last month’s protests against the 42 year rule of Moammar Gaddafi turned violent, many experts suggested the Libyan leader had to fight to the death because he had no alternative. If only Gaddafi (why doesn’t everyone call him Gaddafi Duck?) could take refuge somewhere, perhaps there could be a negotiated solution to end the bloodshed.
Scotland should step up and offer Gaddafi a safe haven. Since releasing Lockerbie bomber Abdel Baset al-Megrahi in August 2009, Scotland has had an empty Libyan mass murderer suite. It can fill that vacancy with the mastermind of the December 1988 bombing that killed the 259 passengers on Pan Am flight 103, most of them Americans returning home to spend Christmas with their families, and 11 people on the ground in the Scottish village of Lockerbie. Doctors gave al-Megrahi just weeks to live due to advanced cancer, but he’s survived more than a year and a half since his triumphant homecoming.
Upon granting al-Megrahi compassionate release Scotland’s Justice Minister Kenny MacAskill bragged about his country’s finely developed sense of humanity. “In Scotland, we are a people who pride ourselves on our humanity. It is viewed as a defining characteristic of Scotland and the Scottish people,” MacAskill waxed. “The perpetration of an atrocity and outrage cannot and should not be a basis for losing sight of who we are, the values we seek to uphold, and the faith and beliefs by which we seek to live.” Welcoming Gaddafi would give Scotland another chance to uphold those values, and MacAskill another chance to hear the beloved sound of his own voice beaming across international airwaves.
Scotland and Gaddafi could be a good fit – and not just due to growing sentiment Gaddafi ought to be kilt. There’s plenty of attractive countryside for pitching his tent. Some of that land is even owned by the guy who gave Gaddafi a place to raise a roof over his head in New York, Donald Trump. Another Gaddafi deal would help The Donald flesh out his foreign policy resume for a presidential bid.
Gaddafi could blend Scottish tradition with Islamic law by spending some of this alleged fortune on developing halal whiskey. Success in that venture could do more to build good relations between Muslims and non-Muslims than any international armed expedition.
Totally globalized native New Yorker and former broadcast news producer Muhammad Cohen is author of Hong Kong On Air, a novel set in his adopted hometown during the 1997 handover about television news, love, betrayal, financial crisis, and cheap lingerie.