Monday, May 28, 2012

Strike at Tripoli airport brings things to a boil

A fact of life in Libya is that things are resting on a fragile balance, and at any moment, the slightest nudge can tip things over into chaos. The strike by the air traffic controllers pushed things firmly into chaos territory on Saturday night, with shouting matches that stretched from the check-in desks to boarding gates and beyond. Booked on a flight to Benghazi, my fixer, Asaad, and I were told that our flight would be delayed by two hours. Then four and a half. We got a boarding pass for a 10:30pm flight and waited in the lounge, mostly with men with angry looks cemented on their faces. “If they’d told us there was a strike, I would have made other arrangements – we have jobs to do,” said a man going only as Taher. At 11:30 Asaad took a stroll and came back telling me that he’d been walking around on the tarmac.

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