People such as Raafat al-Ghosain are often tragically forgotten in the fog of air attacks.
By Robert Fisk
"How life past catches up with life present. The Americans killed Raafat al-Ghosain, pictured above, just after 2am on 15 April 1986. In the days that followed her death, United States officials claimed that Libyan anti-aircraft fire might have hit her home – watch out for similar American claims in the coming hours – not far from the French embassy in suburban Tripoli.
But three weeks later, the Pentagon admitted that three bombs dropped from an F-111 aircraft as part of the US attack on Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, in reprisal for an attack by Libyan agents on a Berlin nightclub, had "impacted in the vicinity of the French embassy" and had caused – to use the usual callous euphemism – "collateral damage".
Ms Ghosain was aged 18, a graduate from an English school on holiday from London, a promising and beautiful artist whose individual death went unrecorded in the country that killed her a quarter of a century ago. Her mother was Lebanese and her father Palestinian, working for a Libyan oil company. She is forgotten today.
We remember, as usual, our own dead. But not the dead of others, Libyans or Lebanese, Afghans or Syrians. We blue-eyed folk count. The rest are "collateral damage". I thought of Ms Ghosain yesterday morning as the "Allies" – a phrase trotted out immediately by the television clamouratti, I noticed – started their "ground preparation" against Libya with their "air assets" against Colonel Gaddafi. Then it was Ronald Reagan. Now it was Barack Obama. Better luck this time, I suppose......"