Susan Cohen, whose daughter, Theadora, was killed in the Pam Am 103 bombing over Lockerbie, Scotland in 1988, said this weekend she was grateful to the people of Libya for rising up to depose Mouammar Kadafy, who she called “a terrorist and a monster.”
The tyrant, who held power for since 1969, was killed by rebels near his home city of Suft after he tried to escape in a convoy that was stopped by NATO aircraft.
Cohen told talk show host Zev Brenner on Saturday night that she lobbied successive U.S. administrations since the bombing, which killed 247 passengers and 16 crewmembers, as well as 11 people on the ground, to take a tougher stand against Libya, whose agents were found to have planted the bomb on New York-bound jetliner, but was rebuffed.
“I got very little help through Democratic and Republican administrations,” said Cohen on Brenner’s Talkline on WSNR AM. She said the lowest point in her quest for justice for her daughter was during the admnistration of George W. Bush, who she said tried to rehabilitate Kadafy’s image by casting him as a moderate who cooperated with the West. “In the end they couldn’t do it,” said Cohen, who lives in Cape May, N.J. With her husband, Daniel, Cohen wrote a book, “Pan Am 103: The Bombing, The Betrayals, and One Family’s Search For Justice.”
“The only type of justice is thanks primarily to the Libyan people who rose up,” said Cohen. “And yes, NATO helped.”
Cohen’s daughter, a 20-year-old music student, was one of 35 students from the State University of New York at Syracuse on the flight bound to New York’s JFK from London’s Heathrow. One Libyan agent Abdelbaset al-Meghrahi was convicted of planting the bomb and sentenced to life in jail but another, Lhamin Khalifa Fhima , was acquitted. Mehtrahi was released by British authorities because he was ailing, a move Cohen sees as capitulation to Kadafy’s demand by the United Kingdom.
“The power of oil and the power of greed triumphed over justice,” Cohen told Brenner.
In a statement Monday, Sen. Charles Schumer said:
“New Yorkers know better than almost anyone else how evil a man Moammar Gadhafi was. Hopefully his death will bring some degree of closure to the many families who lost loved ones on Pam Am Flight 103. The world is a better and safer place without him.”
In his statement, David Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee, noted that Kadafy’s Libya hosted training camps for terrorists from other countries.
“He sought to destabilize any attempt by nations such as Egypt to forge peace ties with Israel, even expelling tens of thousands of Palestinians from Libya in 1995 after Israeli-Palestinian talks,” said Harris. “And with the same vengeance, he went after Libyan dissidents wherever they lived, indigenous Berber culture, and other minority groups, often disparaging Christians and welcoming a Libya whose Jews were all expelled.”
Harris added that Libya was coddled by “many in the West and elsewhere. The power of oil talks and Kadafy had oil. He was received, even feted, in many capitals, while his vile record was conveniently overlooked.”
Cohen said in the radio interview that she reached out to many Jewish organizations for help in pushing for a tougher U.S. stand against Libya, but the only one that took an interest was the right-leaning Americans for a Safe Israel.