Daniel Cohen, father of Pan Am 103-victim Theodora Cohen, tells the BBC about his loss.
17/12/1998
  • More about Dan and Susan Cohen
  • Interview with Susan Cohen on coping with terrorism
  • Interview with Dan Cohen on The O'Reilly Factor (Fox News Network) August 1999
  • Susan Cohenīs open letter to Ex-pres George Bush in Detroit Free Press 1990 (with editorīs reply)
  • Letter from the Cohenīs to former Lord Advocate Hardie, January 2000


  • No justice, no peace

    Dan Cohen - Courtesy of BBCDan Cohen's daughter died on Pam Am Flight 103. Ten years later with the bombers still at large he expressed his frustration and anger at political leaders who have been unable to bring them to justice.

    On the afternoon of December 21, 1988 I was taking a nap because I knew I had to make the long drive to Kennedy Airport to pick up my daughter Theo who was returning home after spending a semester of study in London.

    The phone by the bed rang. A friend said she had just heard there had been a terrible plane crash in England, was Theo all right? My first reaction was, "It can't be her plane."

    But it was.

    Ten years after learning of the sudden death of his 24-year-old daughter Mark Twain wrote: "It is one of the mysteries of nature that a man, all unprepared, can receive a thunder-stroke like that and live."

    But somehow you do.

    At this time of year, particularly this 10th year, people try to say something appropriate. Some hope I have found, or someday will find, "peace."

    Usually I mumble "thanks" and walk away - because I don't mean it. I don't want personal peace - I want justice. No, let's be honest, I want revenge.

    I want the killers dead. Not just the two who planted the bomb, but those who planned and ordered the bombing as well.

    Once I got into a shouting match with the Egyptian ambassador to the United States.

     "What do you want," he yelled, "Gaddhafi's head on a plate?"

     "Damn right," I yelled, even louder, "and with an apple in his mouth."

    That wasn't said in the heat of the moment, I meant it. I still do.

    When a friend or acquaintance, out of embarrassment, says something inappropriate, like wishing me "peace," that's one thing. When a politician does it that's different - that's contemptible.

    Secretary of State Madeleine Albright has been talking about "bringing the guilty to justice." She wags her finger and stamps her foot. But it's meaningless.

    British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook is worse. He talks about "justice" but he's front runner for the Neville Chamberlain creative appeasement award.

    Then there is hapless United Nations.

    Secretary General Kofi Annin who talks about bringing "closure" and is "optimistic". About what? He went to Libya and was humiliated. It's all as sincere as a Christmas card from your bank.

    Ten years after that "thunder stroke" I don't expect much from politicans more interested in watching their backs and making deals with oil-rich killers, than in justice or national pride. Some victims' family members are so tired and discouraged they are willing to accept almost anything and call it "justice."

    Not me. Theo's memory deserves more than a lie.