While the situation in Libya may seem out of control, there is a very real opportunity for us to make a difference and protect civilian lives.
Here’s how: last week, two Libyan pilots were ordered to bomb civilian protesters by Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi. They faced an unimaginable choice: bomb their countrymen or face likely execution if they returned without carrying out the attacks. Instead, they found a third option - flying their planes out of Libya and defecting to the nearby island nation of Malta. In doing so, they saved the lives of untold numbers of their fellow Libyans.
But now Malta's Refugee Commissioner Mario Guido Friggieri and President George Abela have refused to say whether they will give these pilots asylum. If the pilots are sent back to Libya, they will likely be executed. That outcome would also prevent military pilots and ship captains who receive similar orders from trying to save their own lives and the lives of their fellow Libyans.
A grassroots Libyan group called ENOUGH! has started a petition on Change.org to pressure the Maltese government to grant asylum to these two pilots, which will mean saving their lives and possibly preventing future attacks on civilians.
Ask Malta's government to grant asylum to the Libyan pilots who risked their own lives to save the lives of strangers:
We believe we can win this campaign and save the lives of these two pilots –– and perhaps many other Libyans if this helps to encourage more pilots and ship captains to refuse to attack civilians. If we succeed, we’ll work to spread the word in Libya that no one needs to die when soldiers are ordered to kill civilians.
Malta’s economy is heavily dependent on tourism, so public international opinion will mean more to its government than it does to most countries. But winning will take a massive outcry -- and with Gaddafi's violent attacks increasing in a desperate attempt to maintain power, every hour matters. Please sign the petition now:
Here's the URL to cut, paste, send:
Thank you for taking action,
- Weldon and the Change.org team
P.S. I’m Weldon, writing to you from the UK. I just started as Director of Organising for Human Rights here at Change to help achieve even greater success on campaigns like this. I look forward to working with you more in the future to continue the string of successes you have already had over the last few months. If you'd like to reach me...Weldon.Kennedy@Change.org.