Two Libyan pilots defected to Malta rather than bomb their own countrymen in Libya. Even if your country is a mostly desolate patch of sand that has been brutally mismanaged for decades, your country is your country and your people are your people. These pilots probably are proud of their country and don't think of their fellow citizens in the same harsh terms as their dictator. I like to think they had sufficient strength of character and love of their fellow humans to disobey orders and go elsewhere. It's possible that they are simply smart enough to see the writing on the wall and know that their privileged position in a once rigid society is threatened and that this was as good an opportunity and an excuse to get out as they were going to find. Nevertheless, even if its for a selfish reason, their avoiding doing a bad thing is laudable.
I'm curious about the so-called French passengers, too.