Unlike President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad of Iran, who in my view merely confirmed my suspicion that he is completely insane when he was on the same programme just a few days ago, Muammar Ghadaffi of Libya was absolutely brilliant on Larry King live today. In my view he answered the questions put to him on the Lockerbie issue and other matters v well indeed. On Lockerbie and like most of the British families who lost their loved ones on that flight, I have never believed that it was the Libyan government that brought that plane down. Why do I say so ? Because the evidence presented at the special Scottish court that sat in the Hague for the case was so tenous, circumstantial, vague and flimsy that it was clear that they were acting on orders from somewhere far above. Someone, anyone, just had to be held accountable and punished for what happened in order to appease the baying and v naive western public:it really didn’t matter if that person was innocent or not. And believe me that is how world politics, international espionage, matters of state and national interest work. Truth is always the first casualty in matters which the state has an interest.

In my view the west was just looking for a scapegoat to put the blame on for what was undoubtedly a hideous and unacceptable act of state sponsored- terrorism. The belief in intelligence circles at the time (and I remember vividly b’cos I was at university in the UK at the time and I followed the matter closely) was that it was actually the Syrians that did the dirty deed but that Margaret Thatcher (who was Prime Minister at the time) decided that the world simply could not afford to know the truth. The cost and the consequences to world peace and the Middle East peace process, if the truth had come out, would just have just been too high. I fully subscribe to this theory and I have therefore never blamed the Libyans or Ghadaffi for Lockerbie. I have met Ghadaffi and I have spent days with him and have had many lively discussions with him. I have also disagreed with him on issues face to face. I have even had a meeting between himself, myself and President Umaru Yar’adua (just the three of us in a tent) alone. Though I do not subscribe to many of his views on religion and politics, I do believe that he is a great African patriot who has done more for his people than perhaps any other African leader. Most importantly he views himself as much, if not more, of an African than he does an Arab. This is in complete contrast to the likes of President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who essentially sees himself as an Arab and not an African. Ghadaffi speaks Africa, talks Africa and he has consistently fought for Africa. The standard of living of the people in his country is relatively high and the economy is well managed and strong.

Most importantly and unlike Iran, Ghadaffi had the courage to abandon the development of nuclear weapons as it’s own contribution to world peace. As a consequence Libya was welcomed back into the comity of nations and to the civilised world. This is one man that the west could not kill, discredit or destroy. He is tough, yet generous and forgiving and kind. Yes kind. If he were not kind he would not have been able to sit with the Americans again after Ronald Reagan bombed and killed his daughter. If he were not kind he would not have pardoned the group of European nurses that injected 400 Libyan children with the aids virus and thereby sent them to their early deaths. The nurses were convicted of this hideous crime but Ghadaffi pardoned them and let them go home. When they got home they were received as heroes and yet no one complained. What therefore is the big deal about the fact that Al Megrahi was also welcomed home to Libya after serving time? Whether anyone likes it or not Ghadaffi is one of the few leaders in the world that can walk the streets of his country safely and would in fact be hailed by the people. Castro and Mandela are also in that category but there are v few others. Quite apart from that he is more of an intellectual and more knowlegeable about world history and events than most other world leaders. He has played the west at their own game and in my view he has come out on top. I vehemently disagree with his views on Israel and Nigeria but that does not mean that I should not respect, celebrate and even admire him. He is a great man and a pride to Africa, despite all the falsehood and disinformation that the west peddles around about him. He is simply irrepressable: the quintessential African hero.