COLONEL Muammar Gaddafi urged the head of the United Nations to intervene and stop the hunger strike, state papers have revealed.
Comparing the deaths to ancient sacrifices and accusing Britain of lacking humanity, the Libyan dictator warned of a painful fallout if the IRA prisoners were not granted political status.
Gaddafi said the hunger strikes were a “very painful human tragedy, a tragedy that should have shocked the conscience of the entire world.
“It appears that the world in which we live has lost its conscience due to the many violent shocks it has suffered,” he said.
In the letter, addressed to Dr Kurt Waldheim, UN secretary-general in 1981, Gaddafi said the prisoners’ deaths were courageous.
“These men should be granted a political status in view of the fact that they are indeed fighting for a just and sacred cause, the freedom of their nation, which is one of the world’s smallest, but which still has its place under the sun, free as God created it.”
At the time British authorities urged the UN not to circulate the letter. Irish civil servants in the UN and the Political Section and Anglo-Irish Section of the Taoiseach’s office insisted there should be no reply.
Gaddafi, who was executed in September of this year, claimed Libya had good relations with Britain in 1981.
Even though he accused the London government of intransigence, he insisted he was intervening purely on humanitarian and revolutionary grounds and not a political one.
“The price that will be paid by all intransigent people and fence-sitters may be more damaging and painful,” he said.
“If we cannot put a halt to this tragedy, history, the future generations and the conscience of humanity, when re-awakened, will curse the civilisation of our times and look on this era as a relapse to the hateful dark ages, even surpassing them in discrimination and degeneration.”
Gaddafi accused Britain of having an “inhuman attitude” and the world of being “feeble” towards “this human cause”.
“Thus I put on record for the future generations a document of the United Nations that will spare my country and myself the condemnation of history, and which also constitutes a document in defence of a group of human beings driven to their death at an average of one person every 60 days, a case reminiscent of those sad and terrifying human offerings in the ages long past.”
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