Friday, September 22, 2006

Sharing What's Important: Travesty of Justice in Libya

This post is part of the AW Blog Chain #6. In the previous post in the chain, Cath Smith writes about her motivation for writing. I have to agree with her. I have no desire to be famous. I write to get those thoughts stirring around in my brain onto paper. Well, not exactly paper, but the electronic equivalent. To me, the greatest achievement would be for people to sincerely say "I enjoyed reading what you wrote". Of course money would also be nice, but cash alone wouldn't give the same satisfaction.

But why do I keep this blog? It started because I wanted to share interesting things I found online. I used to collect bunches of links and email them to people. It was a bit time consuming on my part, because, of course, different people would be interested in different web sites. I eventually thought to myself, "Why not put the links I find interesting where everyone else can see them?" Between this blog and (linked in the sidebar), I feel I've satisfied that urge. In addition to the links, it's fun to share little bits about myself with the world, and put my opinion where everyone can see it.

Do I have an agenda? Not really. I do hope that one or two people will discover that science not only interesting, but relevant to their lives.

Free the Tripoli Six

Before I pass the baton to Jennifer, I'd like to share a serious and important story. In Libya, a Palestinian doctor and five Bulgarian nurses have been wrongly imprisoned. They are accused of deliberately infecting hundreds of children with HIV, and after years in prison and torture, they signed confessions. Despite the fact that French scientists determined that many of the children were infected with HIV before the medical team arrived (pdf), and that the cause of the widespread infection was poor hygiene at the hospital, a Libyan prosecutor has called for their execution. From the editorial in the journal Nature:
The case is politically embarrassing for Gaddafi. Finding a scapegoat is easier than having to admit that the infection of the children was an accidental tragedy. But the most likely diplomatic compromise — that the medics will be condemned to death, with this being commuted to a life sentence — is unacceptable. They are innocent, and the law and science can prove it, if they get the belated opportunity.

That is why scientists should lend their full support to the call by Lawyers without Borders — a volunteer organization that last year helped win the freedom of Amina Lawal, who had been sentenced to death in Nigeria for having a child outside marriage — that Libya's courts should order a fully independent, international scientific assessment of how the children were contaminated.
This story has been relentlessly covered by reporter Declan Butler, and many science bloggers have picked up the torch. But what about the rest of the blogosphere? This isn't just a science issue, or a medical issue - this is a human rights issue. The United States recently reestablished diplomatic relations with Libya. Shouldn't we bring some pressure for justice in this case? Write your congressman and spread the word!

ETA: Apparently their trial has been postponed until October 31st.

Next up in the chain: Jennifer Sando's Livien

AW Chain 6
Talia Mana
Indian Raj
Just a Small Town Girl
A View from the Waterfront
Southern Expressions
Mad Scientist Matt
Organized Chaos
At Home, Writing
Writing From Within
Pass the Torch
BCOMFireflies in the Cloud
Sounds of Serenity
Kappa No He
Infinite Vanity
Gillian Polack
Of Chapters and Reels
Curiouser and Curiouser
The Road Less Traveled (here you are!)

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Blogger Bk30 said...

That is awful on so many levels! Not only about the medical team, but those poor children.

9:28 PM  
Blogger Talia Mana said...

Dreadu. Thanks for bringing it to our attention

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Gillian said...

I'd heard about this - very bad stuff. Thanks for posting about it.

One thing I love about the blogverse is people like you, who widen our horizons.

5:36 AM  
Blogger Harbormaster said...

Great post and thanks for exploring connections that we might not otherwise consider.

3:18 PM  
Blogger jen.nifer said...

Hi Peggy, this was a good read. Thank you for telling us about the story in Libya.

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Pass the Torch said...

Excellent post. But it makes me sick to think about what's going on over there. We take so much for granted in the US, I think.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Peggy said...

It's tragic on many levels - not just for the doctor and nurses and infected children, but for all the children who will probably be infected in the future simply because Libya won't acknowledge the real problem here.

7:52 PM  
Anonymous Laurie said...

Thanks, Peggy, for the info on the doctors and nurses.

I don't watch the news or read papers. I get my information from the internet, and posts like yours are one great way of spreading such information.

11:07 PM  

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