The Pan American Flight 103 Bombing in 1988

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Libya and the United States had endured constant tensions throughout the mid- to late-twentieth century because of their conflicting ideas on terrorism. The United States was involved in a bombing on Libya that had an effect towards the Libyan leader. These tensions built up until someone took drastic measures. On December 21, 1988, the Pan American flight 103 was bombed as a result of these long standing tensions between the United States and Libya. On this day in the month of December, the Pan Am flight 103 was bombed mid flight, during its trip from London to New York. According to the British Broadcasting Corporation, this act would become “the worst single act of terrorism ever witnessed in the UK” (BBC,1). Prior to the Pan Am leaving London's Heathrow airport, someone had sent a bag containing a hand held radio to the plane. Unfortunately, for the 270 people that died that day in the air and on the ground in the Lockerbie, Scotland, this was no regular radio. This Toshiba radio had been rigged with an explosive inside of it that took down the Pan Am flight 103 Boeing 747. As stated in an article by Donna E. Artz and Bruce J. Evensen, “The Pan Am was destroyed by a plastic explosive hidden inside a Toshiba radio cassette player that was inside an unaccompanied suit case apparently transferred from another airline” (1). By working together, the United States and Scotland sought justice for the 270 deceased. Initially, the leader of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi, refused to release the prime suspects in the bombing to be tried in court. However, in 1991, after much negotiation and UN sanctions, Artz and Evensen write, “the United States and Scotland indicted two libyans, Abdel Baset Ali al-Megrahi and Lamen Khalifa Fhimah, for th... ... middle of paper ... ...Gaddafi admitted that it was responsible for the bombing”(NY Times). Finally, Libya has taken blame after the substantial evidence against them. This solves the question of who has to pay for all of the financial loss. “Libya also agrees to pay a total of 2.7 billion dollars to the families of the 250 victims on board the aircraft and eleven by falling debris.” (John Heartson) The effect of this woe was big worldwide and settled the argument of who bombed the Pan American flight 103 and why. Colonel Gaddafi was a cruel leader who did not forgive the United States after the bombing that killed his child. The long lasting tensions between the United States and Libya was the biggest part of why this happened. Political ideas and general ideas about life were differentiated between the two nations. This will forever be remembered just like many other disasters.

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