Families of loved ones lost on Pan Am 103, ordered blown from the skies by Moammar Gadhafi in 1988, are gratified over the downfall of the Libyan dictator. Bert Ammerman, whose 36 year old brother Tom, was among the 270 people killed when the jumbo jet plummeted to the ground in Lockerbie, Scotland, told PIX News, "This is a vindication. I'm gratified, exhilarated. We said 23 years ago our loved ones would not die in vain. With Gadhafi being overthrown, we've succeeded."
Rebel forces claim to be in control of 90% of the capitol of Tripoli. They also claim to have three of Gadhafi's sons in custody.But one of them surfaced Monday night outside the Rixos Hotel, where foreign journalists are staying. He told reporters that forces loyal to his father are still in control of the city. Holdouts are forming small pockets of resistance, particularly near the compound where Gadhafi lived. Members of the presidential guard are said to have surrendered. State television is off the air, and its headquarters under rebel control.
As for Gadhafi, he appears to be on the run, but is believed to still be in the country. President Obama joined world leaders in calling for an end to the clashes and for Gadhafi to admit defeat. He said, "Although it's clear that Gadhafi's rule is over, he still has the opportunity to reduce further bloodshed by explicitly relinquishing power to the people of Libya and calling for those forces who continue to fight to lay down their arms.
Jubilation exploded in the streets of Tripoli when some 4,000 rebel troops swarmed into the heart of the city. People celebrated by tearing down Gadhafi posters and riddling them with bullets. They honked horns and shouted anti-government slogans.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand issued an appeal to the leaders of the emerging transitional government, asking them to hold Abdelbasset al-Megrahi accountable for blowing up Pan Am 103. He was found guilty of planting the bomb aboard the plane and sent to a Scottish prison.But he was released two years ago on humanitarian grounds when it was claimed that he was dying of prostate cancer. He returned to Libya a hero and was seen publicly recently at a pro-Gahadfi rally. Gillibrand called his release "a total miscarriage of justice" and appealed to the incoming regime to "send him back to prison." Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney also called for action. In a statement, he said, "As a first step, I call on this new government to arrest and extradite the mastermind behind the bombing of Pan Am 103."
Bert Anmerman told me he considers al-Megrahi "irrelevant, just a guppy, has always been a guppy. They got the big fish, Gadhafi and his sons. The future of this dictatorship is over." Ammerman said he never thought he would see the day he would be overthrown," noting, "I thought Gadhafi would outlive me." He said that with the dictator out of power, "the last chapter of Pan Am 103 is almost written. It will be finalized when he's eliminated or arrested.."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun