December 23, 2016: Qadhafi supporters hijack plane in Libya

On December 23, 2016 an Afriqiyah Airlines flight was hijacked by two men wanting to bring back the Qadhafi regime in Libya.

VALLETTA, MALTA – We all pine for the ‘good old days’: does this mean we can carry out a terrorist attack to bring them back?

Nostalgia is an interesting phenomenon, isn’t it? We look back to the imagined or semi-imagined past and see it as vastly superior to what we are experiencing now. And while there may indeed be some accuracy to our feelings it is not without nothing that the phrase ‘rose-coloured glasses‘ is used to describe the heavily tainted view of days gone by.

Why do we do this? Is it because the present is so bad? Were things that much better way back when? Or do we selectively embrace all that was sugar and spice in our youth and eject all that was neither sweet nor tasty?

More confusingly, on occasion we see those who hearken back to yesteryear and want to bring back that period despite the blatantly obvious horror of that past. Take today’s featured attack for example.

On this day in 2016

An Afriqiyah Airlines flight traveling from Sabha to Tripoli in Libya was hijacked by two men: the plane was forced to land in Malta. The assailants claimed to have hand grenades – later seen to be replicas – and threatened to blow up the aircraft will all aboard.

A blessing from the sky on a day of bad acting.

Producer Melvin Rotherberg

The hostages were all released eventually and the hijackers were arrested, charged, convicted and sent to 25 years in prison. They had wanted to promote ex-Libyan dictator Muammar Qadhafi and bring back his government. Wait, someone wanted to RECREATE the Qadhafi regime? How nostalgic is that?

PS Interestingly, on the day of the incident the Malta airport was the scene for the movie Entebbe about the 1976 hijacking of Air France Flight 139 and the subsequent Operation Entebbe, which rescued most of the passengers and killed the hostage-takers. Scenes of the real-life hostages exiting the Afriqiyah plane were filmed, edited and inserted in the movie and some of them were later used as extras.

Fiction imitating truth? Or vice versa?

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By Phil Gurski

Phil Gurski is the President and CEO of Borealis Threat and Risk Consulting Ltd. Phil is a 32-year veteran of CSE and CSIS and the author of six books on terrorism.

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