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Chris Millbank, London, UK
"I'm left with huge doubts about this trial"
 real 28k

Dr Emad Shaarawi, Cairo, Egypt
"Did the court feel they had to make a conviction?"
 real 28k

Hassan Badrek, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
"The world is badly in need of global justice"
 real 28k

Kwasi Tieku, Ontario, Canada
"UN sanctions have harmed civilians"
 real 28k

Mohamed Boumedian, Libyan in USA
"Pan Am was brought down by Western intelligence agencies"
 real 28k

Christine Forrest, Stockholm, Sweden
"The Americans did not contribute to the cost of the trial"
 real 28k

Terry Helton, Crown Point, USA
"I just hope that the individual convicted is the right one"
 real 28k

Paul James-Allen, Freetown, Sierra Leone
"The people of Libya should not be made to suffer"
 real 28k

Douglas Henderson, Canada
"Should we look at this from a different perspective?"
 real 28k

Gary Arumugam, Australia
"Justice must be seen to be done"
 real 28k

Henry Spencer, Florida, USA
"How do you prevent Arab animosity?"
 real 28k

James Coha, Ipswich, UK
"No easy answers"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 13 February, 2001, 13:39 GMT
Should sanctions against Libya be lifted?

The end of the Lockerbie trial has brought calls for the lifting of UN sanctions against Libya.

The UN suspended most of its sanctions when Libya handed over the Lockerbie suspects in 1999. Libya now wants them formally lifted.

But the US still wants Libya to accept responsibility for the bombing and compensate the families of victims. Tripoli is refusing to do either.

Should sanctions be lifted now? Should Libya pay compensation? What should the UN do next?

We have been taking your questions and comments live on World Service Radio's "Talking Point on Air" programme.

Click here for previous e-mails on this topic.

Select the link below to watch Talking Point On Air

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.


Your reaction

  • Your comments since the programme
  • Your comments during the programme
  • Your comments before the programme

    Your comments since the programme


    Sanctions don't hurt governments but only hurt innocent people

    Faraj, Glasgow
    The sanctions against Libya were unjust. Libya offered to hand these men to a neutral country years ago yet the West refused. Also did the USA hand over the men who shot down the Iranian airliner or compensate the Libyan victims of the American bombing in 1986? All these people asking for sanctions to be reinstated are blood thirsty. Sanctions don't hurt governments but only hurt innocent people.
    Faraj, Glasgow

    None of the sanctions of America, against Libya, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan or Pakistan are justified. Because America shows that it wants to solve the problem by applying sanctions on the country, but in fact it creates a much bigger problem.
    Sadiq Haider Ali, Hyderabad Pakistan

    Lift the sanctions not only in Libya, but in Iraq also. Thousands of children are dying from malnutrition, while nothing has changed politically. I think everything would be in a good order if the US just kept their feet on the other side of the Atlantic! People of these countries are the only ones who can change things.
    Aris, Nicosia, Cyprus

    The sanctions should be lifted. There is no meaning to any sanctions. Only the people of the country suffer.
    Mano, Yokohama, Japan

    The sanctions against Libya are unjustified. The real victims are the ordinary people not Gaddafi's regime
    Sadiq, Minnesota, USA

    First of all, I would like to say categorically that what happened at Lockerbie was a horrific disaster, and a tragedy, and no amount of justice or compensation will ever suffice for the relatives of the victims. However, the same could also be said about those who lost their loved ones when the Americans shot down the Iranian Airbus as well as the Libyans who lost their relatives when the Americans bombed Libya in 1986. I am not going to condemn any country, but all I will say is that for all sides to accept and admit to their mistakes and to apologise for them is the only way to lasting reconciliation and forgiveness.
    Suhail Shafi, Malta


    Has not justice already been done?

    Andrew Bartlett, York, UK
    Firstly, it must be said that Libya has both complied with the international justice system and been quite severely financially punished by the sanctions. If the US wants anything more, it must either press its case in an impartial (as much as can be) international court, or else act unilaterally and in a partisan manner, betraying their contempt for international law and the opinions of other nations. On another point it seems that many do not realise that sanctions themselves are a potent weapon of terrorism designed, just like a bomb, to injure the public when one's real enemies are beyond reach. With this in mind, even with a primitive 'eye for an eye' concept of justice, has not justice already been done?
    Andrew Bartlett, York, UK

    This case leaves a very bad taste. It is hard to escape the conclusion that the victims of an atrocity have yet again been duped by the hounding of an innocent scapegoat, this time with overtones of a propaganda war. It is tragic to see those who have lost relatives expressing satisfaction at this outcome, and making further accusations against Libya.
    Antony Rawlinson, London, UK

    It is pointless to move the goal posts now. The verdict has been reached. Let the rule of law apply.
    V. Goitsione Masedi, Enschede, Netherlands

    Lift the Sanctions? NO! Not until Libya has renounced international terrorism and been brought to account for its actions in the Lockerbie tragedy. Indeed, maybe they should be kept in place until a free and democratic government is formed in Libya!
    Steve, USA

    I think we should introduce sanctions against the USA for their repeated violation of Human Rights.
    Sally, Bristol, UK


    Let us not forget that the policy followed with Libya is also intended to send a strong signal to other potential 'trouble makers.'

    Alexander, Edinburgh, Scotland
    In politics, one needs to send clear signals. Let us not forget that the policy followed with Libya is also intended to send a strong signal to other potential 'trouble makers.'
    Alexander, Edinburgh, Scotland

    I believe that the USA, and its shadow, Britain are being unfair to Libya. A deal was made and Libya stood by it, now the sanctions should be lifted accordingly. Did the USA pay compensation to those victims it bombed in the 1986 Bombing of Tripoli?
    Jan, London, UK

    Yes the sanctions should be lifted. As far as the compensation is concerned ok it's fine. But who'll pay for all the losses which Libya has suffered during the sanction period?
    Fuad Malik, Lahore , Pakistan

    I think the Libyan people have suffered enough for the actions of its leader. You really can't make the people of Libya rise against its leader by putting economic sanctions on them. The sanctions on Libya has had the desired effect, the trial is over for good or worse. But the actions of some should not make the others suffer
    Pratap Nellore, Lafayette,USA


    More importantly, sanctions are circular, even counterproductive. In Islamic states

    Tom C, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.
    As an average middle class American, I can truly say that sanctions are a hideous foreign policy tool. They are to political strategy what indiscriminate carpet bombing was to military strategy in Vietnam: inflict as much damage over a haphazard, wide area, and perhaps someone will be killed who deserves it. Sanctions don't work in bringing heads of state to justice. More importantly, sanctions are circular, even counterproductive. In Islamic states, the anti-American sentiment runs high (scrolling down this page and reading the articles was easy proof of that). America inflicts damage by sanctions in order to oust 'undesirable' dictators. Instead, these dictators, who live in riches despite their countries weak economies and poverty (Libya, Iraq, Cuba come first to mind), use sanctions and the increased poverty and misery they create to fan the flames of anti-American sentiment. Dictators get worldwide attention which they thrive upon. The citizens of the sanctioned country are left to suffer the worse kind of punishment: punishment undeserved. It was Lincoln who said: "Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?" Good advice from a good man.
    Tom C, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

    Hasn't this already happened in Iraq? All that will happen is that the Libyan people will be the victims, and the tyrant Gadaffi will stay in power. The US way of "peace and justice" in the Arab world has only killed innocent civilians, it has never proved to solve anything.
    Khaled Abdallah (Libyan student), London UK

    It's odd to see that people were so enthusiastic about sanctions against South Afria, and Rhodesia before that, but now that Libya is concerned, suddenly they say sanctions hurt the innocent.
    Jon Livesey, USA

    The United Nations should lift the sanction on Libya as soon as possible without any conditions. Libya should present evidence why they still feel innocent for this? But pressuring Libya to pay compensation is premature .Let's give fair chance to Libya to prove their point.
    Mohamoud Ali, Silver Spring, Maryland

    I just wonder how many of you lost loved ones in an act of terrorism? It is very easy to sit back and say what should happen, but the fact remains that there is a campus in the US that lost 35 of its best and finest students. AND, there are 35 sets of parents who will not live to see their sons/daughters grow into the people they should have been. That says nothing about the REST of the passengers. My personal opinion is that sanctions are nowhere near enough!
    Mollie, Mesa, USA

    If the verdict is upheld, then some 300 people were killed on the instructions of the present government of Libya. Are sanctions the best way to punish this government? - probably not - but the consequences of not taking any action may be worse in the long-run. The world needs to agree how these problems are dealt with in a way that is seen to be fair (by fair minded people at least).
    Julian Glynn, Sydney, Australia

    What makes it fair for one nation to have something and deprive other nations from having it. That is what the west and US do all the time. So please before even talking about a samll country like Libya or others, we should be fair enough to at least to admit that these big countries are the biggest enemies of the world peace.
    Mahmood A. Khatib, Pakistan

    Lift them. See how Libya reacts and also sanctions only effect the poor. Leaders are not effected at all.
    Dave UK

    If the Iranian navy had shot down an American airline killing over 300 people and the Iranians merely said it was an accident, I wonder if anyone would have accepted their apology, and I wonder where we would be now. Ones thing is for certain - somebody, somewhere would be cranking up the rage levels in the Middle East. That never changes. What wise politicians we have.
    Alistair Hale, Walsall


    Over 300 people died in the bombing but putting sanctions on millions of people indirectly killing thousands is what I call overkill

    James Clarke, UK
    Its simple two wrongs don't make a right. Over 300 people died in the bombing but putting sanctions on millions of people indirectly killing thousands is what I call overkill. These sanctions will just give Libya more reason not to work with the West and to conspire against us.
    James Clarke, UK

    I would be so happy if oil producing countries put sanctions on the West, stop selling just oil to them and see how they feel. This is only fair play!
    Sanam, Tehran, Iran

    I find it astounding how little talk there is of the fact that the United States bombed Tripoli. During this bombing civilians were also killed, including Gaddafi's daughter. Why doesn't the Yale professor talk about President Bush's actions in terms of being a 'world citizen' as she does for Gaddafi? Isn't the Tripoli bombing, and the lack of its mention a perfect example of the double standards of the West?
    Valentina Mazzucato, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

    The situation is very simple. There was a deal brokered by Nelson Mandela: If Libya delivers the two suspects and the trial runs its course, the US and the UK will lift sanctions. All of that has happened. The US and the UK are simply going back on their word now, they are in breach of contract.
    Zach, South Africa

    The sanction against Libya is another clear-cut example of Western imperialist hypocrisy. If Libya can be sanctioned for its so-called 'state sponsored terrorism', how much more punishment would the mighty U.S. and its imperial allies would deserve for their misdeeds and acts of terror committed in the name of democracy?
    Ahmad Siraj Malaysia.


    I can't think of anywhere that sanctions have worked

    Jim, USA
    I can't think of anywhere that sanctions have worked. It's a diplomatic way out of situations where a government hasn't the guts to do what needs to be done, or what it believes is the right thing to do. I suppose the notion is that citizens of the sanctioned nation will overthrow the government who has caused the sanctions to be imposed. But in most cases, the citizens are helpless to rise up against a tyrannical regime, because they are unarmed. Forget sanctions. They don't work.
    Jim, USA

    It is a fact that sanctions against Iraq and Libya have done more to harm the citizens of these two nations, rather than their dictators. On this basis alone, the sanctions should cease. Another aspect that is often overlooked is the selective sanctioning of various countries. If the United States and the UN were truly concerned with issues of justice and international well-being, they would not be selective in applying sanctions, and therefore would be compelled to place sanctions on two of the largest violators of human rights and international law in the world, China and Israel.
    J A Odem, Washington, DC USA

    In this case, we have a received half justice. These two men are responsible for the bombing of Pan Am 103. Both should be guilty and convicted. The real culprit that must be brought to justice is Gaddafi,. There is enough evidence to support that. But a deal was arranged with the UN including Nelson Mandela and Saudi Arabia to spare him from justice.
    Mohammed Abdullah, Coonecticut- USA

    Yes I agree that sanctions hurt the people of Libya. But people forget that if we allow Libya to trade then it will only start its nuclear programme and spend all its money on their armed forces then it will become a threat to regional stability.
    Jamie , Portsmouth

    The guarantee offered to Libya by the international community for the lifting of sanctions was the handing-over for trial of the two Libyan suspects in the Lockerbie bombing. The Libyan government has met this requirement and the international community, especially the West, must lift sanctions against Libya to demonstrate integrity, moral leadership, and good faith in honouring commitment. If sanctions are not immediately lifted against Libya, the world leaders put their future negotiations into jeopardy. Sanctions must be lifted to save the international community from embarrassment!
    Boima Morray / Sierra Leonean, Wisconsin, USA

    The US and UK seem to be adding more conditions for removal of sanctions. The sanctions should have been lifted after the Libyans surrendered the two suspects. Nobody has proved that Gaddafi had ordered the bombing. However, UK and US want Libya to pay 10 billion dollars to the victims. By the way, when US brought down an Iranian plane in 1988, they paid only 130 million dollars to Iran. So why should Libya pay 70 times the amount to the US.
    Dan Nadkarni, Philadelphia

    It is rather interesting to note, that when the Iran Air, flight 650 was blown out of the sky, 290 innocent civilians died. Their compensation by the US Govt was $62 million. The US and Great Britain are requesting $740 million for the 260 victims of Pan Am Flight 103. Is the life of an innocent Iranian worth so much less than that of an American?
    K. Safavi, Orlando, FL


    I think that placing sanctions on Libya only makes the lives of the innocent Libyan people worse than it already is

    Jason Philips, London, UK
    I think that placing sanctions on Libya only makes the lives of the innocent Libyan people worse than it already is. The real culprit in all this is maybe the Libyan government. What the West fails to realise is that the government is not affected by sanctions. It will still live the life of luxury that it is living at the moment and it does not care about its population.
    Jason Philips, London, UK

    The double standards exhibited is shameful..really shameful...
    Daniel, Singapore

    Most Islamic countries are non-democratic. However democracy is no guarantor of decency and much of the Western powers' foreign policy is disgraceful and self-interested. The world badly needs an effective and democratic global law and enforcement body that is free of commercial and political influence.
    Paul, Canada


    Sanctions always have unintended victims

    Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, San Antonio, USA
    As a Libyan Professor of Political Science living in the United States, I believe that sanctions always have unintended victims. In this case one of the victims is the average Libyan who found him/ herself unwillingly embroiled in the midst of international intrigue. As far as most Libyans are concerned sanctions were not imposed in 1992, but were already in effect since 1974. The quixotic policies of the Colonel's regime were not only limited to international politics but have also extended to domestic politics with a vengeance. As a result since 1974 more Libyans went to bed hungry and afraid than have ever done before..
    Dr. Mansour El-Kikhia, San Antonio, USA

    Why are so many people misunderstanding the sentence given out? He has not been sentenced to 20 years, he has been given LIFE imprisonment with an absolute minimum of 20 years.
    Terry Watson, UK

    The sanctions were levied, both by the UN and the US for the sake of bringing the two accused Libyans to trial. This has been done and the sanctions should cease. Now, it seems that the US is wanting to continue to punish Libya until they admit that it was a government orchestrated plan.
    Matt Church, Louisville, USA


    After years of sanctions against Libya, the world is still waiting for unrest and possible democratic activities among the Libyan people

    Ken Gordian, Germany
    Sanctions have historically proven to be a not very effective measure to punish misguided governments. In fact, it's mainly the people who are suffering. But after years of sanctions against Libya, the world is still waiting for unrest and possible democratic activities among the Libyan people. I'm afraid, sanctions will have no further positive effect on Libyan politics, and other measures, aimed more precisely on the Gaddafi regime, should be sought for.
    Ken Gordian, Germany

    People seem to forget that sanctions hurt only the ordinary people, not those in power. Why should a people be punished for the callous and tyrannical actions of their leaders? They are already suffering enough. What foreign policy seems to lack is humanity which larger and wealthier countries can afford to give. Gaddafi and his minions should be punished, not the people who must endure the consequences of his madness everyday.
    Charlotte, UK

    If Libya owes compensation to the families of innocent Lockerbie victims, does the USA not owe similar compensation to the families of civilians killed in the 1986 air raid on Libya? (not to even mention Yugoslavia!)
    Dr Christos Proukakis, London

    Your comments during the programme


    The whole affair is a sham

    Lohrasb Amjadi, London
    The whole affair is a sham. I fully agree with the gentleman, who correctly pointed out that the bosses should be tried, not the perpetrators. The trouble is they have been beyond reach for the past ten years, and the fact that they can't travel abroad doesn't bother them!
    Lohrasb Amjadi, London

    I would like to ask Ruth about the fact that some Moscow diplomats were warned NOT to be on the plane. Could you please comment on this or explain? Thank you very much!
    Seraphir Preuss, Rotterdam, Netherlands

    Sanctions against Libya must be lifted immediately. There is no need to force Libya to admit responsibility because it was not involved as a state in the bombing. Even the conviction of Megrahi is doubted by some people in UK.
    E.M. Syampaku, Luyengo, Swaziland

    If you give nations that sponsor international terrorism an inch they WILL take a mile!
    Elliot, Scotland

    Western nations think that they have the power over the world especially Muslim nations. I think that Muslim nations should get together and put sanctions on them and see how they feel.
    Tania Nutter, Dudley, UK


    The sanctions should be kept until Libya admits its wrongdoing

    Jonathan, Scotland, UK
    The sanctions should be kept until Libya admits its wrongdoing. How can we let the country go unpunished for such criminal act? Lifting them now, without any admission of guilt or compensation, will be unjust to the bereaved families.
    Jonathan, Scotland, UK

    On the specific issue of Lockerbie, I take no sides: I have nothing to do with it whatsoever. My point is, the sanctions on Libya should be lifted. In fact, they should never have been implemented in the first place. Not that the US is morally wrong in imposing them, but the fact is, they simply do not work. A leader crazed enough to order the bombing of an airliner or embassy or other place where innocents will be harmed is NOT going to care about his country more than himself. Sanctions will only make the poor and commoners suffer. The man on the street will have to sacrifice because his leader will try to maintain his position. If sanctions do not affect their specific intended target (the leader), then why have them?
    Lim Tse Yang, Singapore

    Was it terrorism when Libya supported Nelson Mandela and the African National Congress?
    Daryl Moistner, Virginia City, Nevada, USA

    I am glad that the Lockerbie trial has finally ended. While I agree that Libya might have been involved in that exercise of blowing up a plane, I guess we cannot make the people of the nation pay for one (or some) men's action. What would have happened if the plane had been blown up by a Western power? Only the culprit would have been punished: not the entire nation.
    Joe Coelho SJ, Chennai, India

    Though there was a wrong done and a great deal of hurt was caused to the families, I think the sanctions have gone on long enough. Libya should compensate the families and let that be closure.
    Tom, Ireland

    The sanctions should be lifted. Libya met the commitment it made and delivered the men for trial. The implication that Libya may have been overall responsible for this horrendous crime should of course be investigated. However until sufficient evidence is available to the international courts, normal relations should resume.
    Max, Brighton, England

    Your comments before we went ON AIR


    It could be that others are guilty too, but who is actively looking for them?

    Christopher Laird, Tokyo, Japan
    The verdict identifies one person as guilty. It could be that others are guilty too, but who is actively looking for them? As for compensation, this should be a private affair for the families concerned to pursue, but can any amount of money replace their loved ones? Who should pay? The implications against the Libyan state have been left aside so it is down to the one guy who has been convicted to satisfy the demands of all the relatives. I wonder how much he'll have if he has to pay court costs too.
    Christopher Laird, Tokyo, Japan

    Yes, they should be lifted, but only after we go get their unconditional surrender.
    T.J. Cassidy, USA

    Col. Gaddafi has already started talking of new evidence that could free the convicted Libyan. Fine! Let's therefore wait for the appeal hearing. In any case when the accused is finally convicted, then I will finally be convinced that it was indeed just a criminal act that was not sanctioned by any state agent of Libya. Therefore the people of Libya should not be made to suffer because of the handiwork of one individual or a group of unproven individuals.
    Paul James-Allen, Freetown, Sierra Leone


    Personally, I disagree with the sentence handed down

    Roger Beck, Metropolis, Il, USA
    The trial is over, folks, and the judges' verdict has been rendered. Personally, I disagree with the sentence handed down; twenty years is too short a time to pay for the murders of 270 men, women, and children. But judgement has been rendered in court which was agreed upon by all the parties involved. The judgement must be respected.
    Roger Beck, Metropolis, Il, USA

    I don't think that the punishment that was given to guy who blew up that Pan Am jet was harsh enough. The judges should have giving him the death penalty, not 20 years in prison for the crime he committed.
    Eric, USA

    The terrible thing about these indiscriminate sanctions is that only the weakest in the target country are annihilated. Morally speaking, why should the US and UK brand other countries terrorists when the "superpowers" are terrorising the world by instigating and sustaining wars and crises, running the war industry and polluting the globe physically and morally.
    Charles, Kuwait


    Sanctions against Libya should be lifted as long as an attempt is made to bring the ones who gave the order to destroy Flight 103 are tried in a court of law

    Terry Helton, Crown Point, USA
    I believe that the sanctions against Libya should be lifted as long as an attempt is made to bring the ones who gave the order to destroy Flight 103 are tried in a court of law. To convict anyone else in order to have closure or a "body" in order to make the families of the victims feel better is absurd. I just hope that the individual convicted is the right one. Here there is a tendency to convict and imprison anyone on trumped up charges or evidence that isn't closely linked to those charged with a crime. Which makes the whole system stink. If Gaddafi himself gave the order as a retaliation for the death of his daughter then I can understand it. However he must pay the consequences. Even if he is a grieving father. Otherwise we might never know who is ultimately responsible and should just let it go.
    Terry Helton, Crown Point, USA

    It would seem reasonable that, given that Germany is still repaying its war debt to Israel and to the B.I.S. for distribution to the United Nations it seems fair that Libya, on the weight of the evidence ought to be forced to pay damages and some compensation to the relatives, if only, based on lines of nationality, to those relatives who reside in nations who are pressing for such compensation. We cannot send yet another appeasing message to yet another anti-democratic and intolerant fascist republic (risibly self-nomered "socialist" as was Germany formerly known as "National Socialist") that we, the democracies, are doing all we can to make the world safe for tyrannical states so that they can conduct their mindlessly violent and disruptive affairs in the comforting knowledge that no one will even whimper next time Libya takes it upon themselves to blast a jetliner full of innocent passengers out of the sky.
    Walt O'Brien, USA

    It's amazing how Western countries can never do this 'terrorism' thing. It's an 'accident'. When the USS Vincennes put a standard missile through an Airbus. Killing a couple hundred people. Where was the trial? Where was the outrage? Oh hang on. It was done by the US. And don't give me a mistake. That boat has an Aegis Battle System. It's a little hard to confuse a military aircraft with a huge airbus. A seriously cocky commander, a crew who probably had a mass delusion in battle? Possibly. But, don't tell me you can't tell the difference. Even a stupid 19 year old such as myself knows what a multi-functioned phased array radar can do. Imagine what would happen if another country 'accidentally' put a standard missile through a U.S. plane. Although, the U.S. doesn't seem to mind a good old massacre and doing nothing about it. A few thousands people killed in Timor was passed off as "dirty bedroom" by the Clinton administration. Not a single US combat soldier.
    Jonathan Bensley, Australia

    Your three judges have decided that only one of the accused is guilty. Your judges have said Libya is not involved. Your judges have set free the second accused. What else do you want? Blood?
    Amin M Jindani, Karachi, Pakistan


    Sanctions should be ended because they have never been an effective solution

    Kevin M, Calgary, Canada
    Sanctions should be ended because they have never been an effective solution. They merely add to the misery of innocent people who are already suffering under the rule of oppressive regimes. I agree with the comments of other contributors who say that sanctions are one sided, i.e., they are imposed when suffering has been inflicted on the West, but not by the West. There is no doubt that Lockerbie was an appalling act of terrorism. Disagreeing with sanctions does not equate to condoning this heinous crime. Those of us who oppose sanctions are merely stating that kicking the cat is not a constructive long-term solution.
    Kevin M, Calgary, Canada

    I am simply trying to find out the nature of your anti-American stance, before engaging in further dialogue. Remember Vietnam? Millions of Vietnamese and thousands of young Americans lost their lives. Despite many thousand MIAs and millions of ruined lives, the Vietnamese - particularly individual people - have showed a remarkable generosity and nobleness of human spirit in a willingness to forgive and look to the future. American policy to Vietnam, however, remained vindictive and was held hostage to families of MIAs. It is this demand for retribution that most non-Americans find perplexing and alienating - whatever their views on the merits of the case. If America chooses to flex its muscles and punish Libyan people indiscriminately (by sanctions or bombings), such actions will not be seen by most people outside America as being morally just, but that of a power which does what it wants because it can get away with it: that of a bully. Maybe when America stops capital punishment (the ultimate in barbaric vindictiveness) will we see an America with the political maturity and moral authority consummate with its economic power. Until then, there will be many forms of resistance to the exercise of American power.
    Shakeeb , Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia


    Who are we to demand restitution from Libya?

    Roxanne, USA
    Evan S, a fellow American, commented on how the US has made the world safe from Nazis, Soviets, etc. I guess he has forgotten how the US has also overthrown legitimate governments elected by the people (i.e. Chile) and interfered with politics in countless other nations if they weren't to the U.S.'s liking - hence causing continued civil war (i.e. Nicaragua), suffering and instability. The US has not compensated anyone for its doings. It even took us nearly 50 years to dole out a paltry $20,000 to the Americans of Japanese descent who were interned in American concentration camps during WW II. So who are we to demand restitution from Libya? Perhaps if we set an example and start compensating all of the lives we have disrupted - maybe Libya will follow suit.
    Roxanne, USA

    Suez (1956), an eight year Iran-Iraq war fed and perpetuated by Western arms and Western interests, the second Gulf war (ditto), shooting of civilian airlines (by mistake - what?), sanctions against Iraq, sanctions against Libya, American air raids of civilian areas in Libya, air rockets sent to Sudan ... My dear friends, don't you see that the above list of atrocities and madness leads to one conclusion: Western leaders need to be re-educated regarding human rights of non-Western peoples, especially the Muslim nations. Now that we are talking about globalisation, their minds should be orientated towards what good they can do to the less developed nations not what punishment they should impose on them or set one nation against another in order to keep the arms factories in Europe and America rolling. The world is badly in need of global justice, not just global trade. The Lockerbie affair should be seen in this context, and the Western public should be given all the facts. Sanctions against a whole nation is unethical just like punishing the whole family for the crime of one individual.
    Hassan B, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

    I think countries are all too willing to forgive and forget. What about when Israel sank an American destroyer in 1967? Within 8 hours they had apologized and we forgave them! Now we give Israel 4 billion dollars of aid per year, even when they are assassinating people. Live and let live is a naive statement to make or to believe. We don't like the Libyan government, sure, but did we impose sanctions on the Soviet Union? No. Not even over the Cuban Missile Crisis. Too bad.
    Michael Yanikoski, Boston, USA


    Libya should be given another chance to survive and should not be treated unfairly

    Saima, Pakistan
    I think that sanctions have done nothing good for any nation, therefore I think that Libya should be given another chance to survive and should not be treated unfairly. It's better to uncover yourself first before throwing stones at others! Therefore the superpowers should act in a more sensible way and find a quick and justified solution!
    Saima, Pakistan

    Libya has not taken responsibility for the actions of the terrorist group that it sponsored that blew up Pan Am Flight 103. Until Gaddafi renounces terrorism, Libya should be seen as a rogue state and treated as such. Lifting sanctions will only allow it to channel more money and resources into terrorism and pose a greater threat to the world than it does now.
    Jeff, USA

    The judicial system has clearly indicated that the Libyans are innocent or at least there is no proof pointing towards them. The verdict is symbolic to appease the CIA. Compensation should be paid, but not from Libya: The US government should pay. Surprisingly, Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Sudan, Libya are all under sanctions. Why only Muslim countries? Is this a modern crusade?
    Shuja Syed, Toronto, Canada


    Any attempt to perpetuate the sanctions would confirm the thesis that the UN is a Western foreign policy tool

    Kwasi Tieku, Canada
    Rather than a tool to bring about positive change, UN sanctions have turned out to harm civilians. The bad leaders do not feel the pinch as the case of Iraq clearly shows. If the world body really cares about humanity in general as it claims to be and applies the same standards which it should then it is time to lift the sanctions on Libya for the common man on the street of Tripoli to realise his/her full potentials. Any attempt to perpetuate the sanctions would confirm the thesis that the UN rather than being an organisation for humanity is a Western and in particular a US foreign policy tool.
    Kwasi Tieku, Canada

    Let the matters rest? Move on? Don't punish the poor citizens of the offending nation? It seems cowardice is now the main staple of many Europeans. Thank God Winston Churchill and not these cut and run people faced Hitler and Stalin. Two world wars bled the boldness out and left only knaves and fools in Europe. Please save your responses, go sit in the corner while we fix things.
    William, Olney, USA

    Once Americans abandon this romantic illusion that they are somehow protectors of the planet, then their populist government will have to change to reflect this. Once this happens, America's foreign policy will in turn reflect the change in public attitude and for once we may see the United States begin to treat other nations with something other than arrogant disdain. Perhaps then America will realise that by lifting their hypocritical sanctions on other countries, they may in turn be forgiven for the human rights abuses they have inflicted on those very same countries.
    T. Rayden, Fife, Scotland


    Does anyone have any effective solutions rather than condemnation?

    CM, Ann Arbor, USA
    It's easy to pick apart actions and policies that have failed or you disagree with. Although I may not agree with the effectiveness of sanctions and the trial I am sure that lack of action in the face of a potentially dangerous leadership amounts to years of pain for many. I don't truly understand the whole situation, therefore have little suggestion for a resolution. Does anyone have any effective solutions rather than condemnation? Solutions are much more difficult to obtain.
    CM, Ann Arbor, USA

    I have not studied the details of the Lockerbie air crash other than to know Libyans were accused of the terrorist act of bombing a passenger airliner, and that one, but not both accused Libyans, were found guilty of the offence. Serious statements and analysis cannot be done under conditions unsuitable to do so, and so I will postpone making a better legal analysis of the matter owing full respect to the legal process involved for both the victims, the families of the victims and the accused. However, I can say this: the international relations/defence strategy of major developed nations to operate through stigmatisation of certain ethnic cultures or regions throughout the world, whether Libyan, Iraqi or otherwise is counterproductive to good international relations. If the state leaders of such nations are approachable on the personal level to rational, civil dialogue, it is a foolish, destructive strategy to set out to alienate nations conducting foreign relations no differently than McCoy-Hatfield feuds.
    Donald Fraser Miles, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, Canada

    In reply to Evan S's comments: Sure, every country has something nasty in its history - the UK is no exception. This does not, however, put us on a level with the US, which has become steadily more and more aggressive since the end of WWII. Would Evan say that the invasion of Vietnam in order to prevent a democratic election taking place was 'protecting the interests of its citizens'? Would he say that the crippling sanctions currently imposed on 75 foreign countries for such heinous crimes against humanity as mislabelling tuna cans was good for their people? Or how about the recent admission that US soldiers buried surrendering Iraqis alive using a bulldozer - surely that was a real coup for human rights (compensation to be paid? Don't hold your breath!). As for the US saving the world - that statement isn't even worth comment.
    Alex Kingham, Dorking, UK


    Libya was a pawn Reagan was using against the Soviets, now the Soviet threat is gone let's lift sanctions

    Richard Grainger, Brighton, UK
    In response to Evans, S - Chile, Congo, Vietnam, Venezuela... In the period between 1950 and 1990 US foreign policy involved a dangerous amount of "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" thinking. Libya was a pawn Reagan was using against the Soviets, now the Soviet threat is gone let's leave the poor sods alone and lift sanctions. And furthermore, do not ever try to claim that the end of the nazi threat was due to the US ... It's historically invalid and insulting to the UK, Russia and European resistance movements.
    Richard Grainger, Brighton, UK

    Evan S. says he's seen too many anti US comments on Talking Point. Well, I actually read people's comments and they are more critical of Western government actions than anti US. If they were British comments, I think he would find they are critical of the British government as well as the US. Please remember that if it the majority of British people were against the bombing of Tripoli, our government would never have let the Americans launch from our country. The only "Anti-US" constructive criticism I have to make is this: If an Iranian Navy ship had shot down a US liner and without even an apology - would the US government believe it was not deliberate? When someone makes a mistake, they apologise. It is reported that America didn't. So what do you think the average Iranian thinks about the matter?
    Chris Barnett, UK ex Pat, Netherlands


    Lift the sanctions, give the children of Iraq and the people of Libya another chance

    Babak, Karaj, Iran
    I do believe that the number of people being killed by Western countries either through sanctions or through mistakes like shooting down a wrong plane etc, are far more than what has happened the other way round. It's time for the West and especially the US and the UK to grow up, life is not only about money, its about clean spirit. Just remember history is watching us, lift the sanctions, give the children of Iraq and the people of Libya another chance. No matter where we live, the sky is ours.
    Babak, Karaj, Iran

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