by Robin Saikia - British travel writer - www.robinsaikia.com
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Gaddafi wrecked our holiday arrangements
Holidaymakers up in arms as dictator wrecks
no-refund Med getaways.
Papers full of the Libya crisis - and pictures of Gaddafi. He's aged badly, in more ways than one. I wonder how many of us in Britain actually know where Libya is? At the beginning of the Falklands War, a great many Britons believed the Falkland Islands to be somewhere off the coast of Scotland and were understandably outraged at the prospect of an Argentine invasion. With the Gulf, and more recently with Afghanistan, popular perceptions of the geography remain pretty sketchy - try at random in the pub asking someone to draw a map of where he supposes the theatre of war to be. In the end, people probably felt that Kuwait and Helmand, wherever they might be, were sufficiently far away from Berkshire or Alderley Edge for it not to make too much difference to everyday life if we went to war there or not. So why not go. But Libya is a rather different proposition, right on our doorstep and within striking distance of all our favourite holiday spots in the Mediterranean. Part of me is thinking, "I'm shoulder to shoulder with the anti-war protesters who'll be congregating over the coming week in Parliament Square. God bless them. And God bless our boys too, who selflessly fight and fall in fields of conflict the world over, regardless of the right and wrong of it all and often not fully understanding what it is they're fighting against". And part of me is thinking "What about the summer holidays? Will I be able to borrow Zach and Miranda's place in the Med this year? What about flights? Will the no-fly zone apply to Easyjet? Thank I God I don't own a holiday home within 2,000 miles of Tripoli. I told him he should never have bought it..." So much for me. I wonder how mixed everyone else's feelings will be as the terrible beast of war slouches closer and closer to home?