Sunday, July 29, 2007

Bulgarian medics freed, return from Libya

The ordeal of Bulgarian medics convicted of infecting Libyan children with AIDS (my last post on the subject is at is over. First, their death sentences were overturned and replaced with life imprisonment. This was linked to agreements with EU guaranteeing treatment for the infected children, compensations for their families and funding an AIDS hospital in Libya. Then, after visits by the French presidential couple, Libya allowed the five nurses and two doctors to be transferred to Bulgaria to serve their life sentences here, as an agreement for judicial help between Libya and Bulgaria allows. Then, as our law allows, the Bulgarian president Parvanov pardoned them. The act of pardoning was issued swiftly and read right at the airport.
I hope the medics will be able to recover from what they had to endure and go on with their lives, though of course nobody can give them back the lost years or compensate for their suffering.
The Palestinian doctor could benefit from the same track to freedom because he had been granted Bulgarian citizenship. So here the Bulgarian state, generally not a very admirable one, did the right thing and followed the principle of leaving nobody behind. Dr. Hajuj will likely later move to the Netherlands, where his family resides. But anyway, he has his own state now and this state is Bulgaria.
As a friend of mine said, "Thanks to God and to all who did what was necessary for the rescue of those people." I would add my special thanks to all Libyans who defended them or at least doubted the official version about their guilt.
Most people in Libya seem outraged by the release (though, as far as I know, there have been no riots). I think that those who still believe in the medics' guilt are unlikely to change their opinions ever in the future, no matter what evidence is presented to them. I know Bulgarians who still think that the victims of the People's Court in 1944-45 were guilty.
Many non-Libyan Arabs believe in our people's guilt, similarly to most Libyans but without the same excuses. Now, because the children's families have received money (see above), Libyans are accused for being child sellers! Let me quote AngloLibyan's post The Democratic Arab World!: "The majority attacked the Libyan people for accepting the money to release the medics, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry when I see comments from Saudis, Egyptians and other Arabs saying that the victims families sold their own children, it makes you think that Egypt and Saudi Arabia are such democratic countries that the government can never force them to accept anything!!!".
I commented, "We Bulgarians often say that there are no devils around our pool of boiling water in Hell. I.e. devils keep guard by other nations' pools because occasionally some sinner manages to crawl out and a devil is needed to throw him back into the boiling pool; but this is not needed for the Bulgarians, because as soon as one of them tries to crawl out, the others pull him back themselves. You guess we have this saying because we, unfortunately, are inclined to put each other into trouble rather than helping each other. But I think this applies to the pan-Arab "nation", too. Every time when an Arab nation tries to make something good for itself, other Arab nations will surely try to pull it backwards. Misery is easier to endure if you have company."
I hadn't expected that the HIV trial would become, among other things, an illustration of the merits of pan-Arabism!

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