The release of convicted Lockerbie bomber Abdel Basset al-Megrahi has sparked calls for a boycott of Scotland by some Americans angry that he was allowed to go home to Libya to a hero’s welcome.
According to Bloomberg, “Visit Scotland, the government-funded agency promoting tourism, received e-mails from Americans saying they plan to cancel holidays and staff have been preparing for a backlash after the release of al-Megrahi, spokeswoman Alison Robb said. A Web Site was set to encourage people to boycott Scotland.”
The Web Site in question, Boycott Scotland and the United Kingdom, is calling for a tourist boycott of Scotland and Great Britain as well as a boycott of Scottish and British products. The anger expressed by the friends and relatives of the victims of the Lockerbie bombing, which took the lives of two hundred and seventy people, has been fanned by suggestions that the release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi had more to do with furthering British commercial interests with Libya than with compassion.
The release of Abdel Basset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber has become a political issue in both Great Britain and Scotland. Revelations of high level talks between the government of Great Britain and representatives Colonel Gaddafi, Libyan leader, have led to calls for an investigation by the opposition Conservative Party in Great Britain.
Scotland receives about 260 million pounds a year in revenues from American tourism. A tourism boycott would be very damaging to Scotland’s economy. The Scotch Whisky Association has expressed concern over the possible ramifications of an economic boycott of Scotland over the Abdel Basset al-Megrahi release.
People advocating an economic boycott of Scotland have suggested that not only should tourists and businessmen avoid traveling to Scotland (Ireland has been suggested as an alternative), but that people should avoid buying petroleum products from British Petroleum and avoid buying Scottish products such as Scotch whisky.