Libya's Unknown Atrocity
The true story of one woman's 20-year fight for justice after the death of her husband in Libya.
A true account of Felicity's search for justice following the murder of her husband, Victor Prazak, in Libya. Victor died on the 22nd of December 1992 when the passenger plane he was travelling on was brought down by a Libyan military MiG. Victor, the only Westerner on board the plane, was buried in a mass grave in the Libyan Desert without Felicity's consent. She was not even allowed to attend the burial. After nineteen years of fighting to uncover the truth, the recent uprising in Libya has brought to light the facts of the case. She is still petitioning the British government for an inquest, and is involved in legal action against the Libyan state.
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Felicity Prazak is an incredibly brave and determined woman. At great personal cost, and in both pre- and post-revolutionary Libya, she has relentlessly pursued the truth about her husband's death in an air crash that was almost certainly orchestrated by Colonel Gaddafi. It is a story that deserves to be told. ~ Martin Fletcher, Associate Editor, The Times
'Libya's Unknown Atrocity'. Aka ‘murder in Libya’ A forward by Jim Swire, father of Flora Swire murdered over Lockerbie 21/12/88’ What is it with girls from Australia? Felicity was 17 when she left. There is a toughness, a self assurance, a great determination not to allow outside pressures to usurp control of where they are going. Perhaps we in the UK are a little effete, and inclined to doff our caps to those who we begin by deeming as in some way superior to us. Every nation has its own cultural norms and the healthy ‘no holds barred’ attitude of Felicity, reminds me of Germaine Greer too and her creed of independence for women, not mere equality with men. Greer once interviewed me and that attitude seems to me to find strong echoes in this book, we should all be grateful for it. It is an invigorating toughness these ladies bring. The sudden brutal loss of someone you dearly love is an experience which changes your life for ever. Slowly as the paralysis of the initial shock lifts a little, the bereaved have to learn how they are to cope with their loss within the future altered pattern which their lives will take. This book describes a little of the close and loving relationship which Felicity had with her murdered husband, Victor, before his death in the crash of ‘LA1103’ on 22/12/92. It is hard for anyone who has not been through the exquisite torture of such loss to understand what it is like. Even for those who do have to go through such turmoil, no one can tell the sufferer how he or she ‘should’ behave in the rest of their lives. Where many are murdered at once, some kind of relatives’ group often emerges giving mutual support, and having the advantage of sharing a common acute cause for their grief. I have found ‘UKF-103’, our UK Lockerbie group a huge support, and it is humbling to see how Felicity values the interactions which she has had with us. Felicity was left almost penniless by the loss of Victor’s salary and with two young children to bring up. The profound differences between Western societies and Arab ones surfaced at once with the immediate mass burial of the aircraft’s victims in a brutal mass grave, and even from this Felicity was excluded, spending huge effort and confronting the Gaddafi regime to seek redress. Throughout her travails working as arts teacher in a Tripoli School after the tragedy, one can see the helplessness and craven fear under which Libyans lived in those days, and Felicity’s frustration.. Yet she is emerging as a noted artist. Some bright lights shone to help, and like us she found strength from the kindness of the one time British Ambassador Richard Dalton, a man of great courtesy and humanity, but some of whose work was undermined by carelessness from the Foreign Office, complicated by the sanctions imposed over Lockerbie which crippled diplomatic relations between the two nations. Felicity’s experience of being sent details of completely the wrong plane crash, which the FO had spent hours translating from Arabic, without checking which crash it referred to, illustrates the huge importance of seeing that every care is taken to avoid what will seem to the bereaved always to be heartless indifference, when to others , less fragile, it might seem simple human error. It is never ‘their’ tragedy, always yours. For me I will never forget the handing to me of the wrong set of ashes at the crematorium, nor the fact that the undertaker appointed by the airline, frankly stank. The thought of such a person handling my daughter’s body still gives me nightmares, no matter that she was not conventionally conscious of it. We seem both to have emerged with a fondness for the ordinary hospitable people of Libya who cannot have deserved their dreadful dictator. Meanwhile the search for the truth remains a banner under which we both rally. 645 words Dr Jim Swire 26th August ~ Jim Swire, Father of Lockerbie victim