Libya Can Wait

Written by Katie Parla on February 19, 2011

Last night I called my mom at 3am. I had just finished packing for a week-long trip to Libya and wanted to let her know that I probably wouldn’t be able to email her while I was traveling (the Libyan government has shut down internet in the country just 90 minutes earlier) but I might be able to call or fax. “Kathryn, I really think you should reconsider this trip,” was her response.

I’ve subjected my mom to a lot of travel related stress in the past: “Hey mom, I’m going to spend three months wandering around southern Italy alone”, “Hey mom, I’m moving to Italy!”, “I just booked a solo trip to Syria, but I haven’t made any arrangements and I won’t have a phone!”, but I think the “I don’t know when I’ll speak to you next, but I need to selfishly satisfy my maniacal wanderlust” was a bit much.

We read the Al Jezeera, BBC, and NYT coverage on Libya over the phone, which was, in a word, limited. After three days of protest and violence, and 4 decades of suppression of the press, it was hard to paint a clear picture of what is happening right now, but things don’t seem good, safe, or reasonable. And it hardly seems respectful to go to a country on the verge of revolution to gawk at some ancient cities just because I feel like it. So Libya can wait. Mamma Parla is always right.

You can follow the events (what little is able to be reported and confirmed, that is) on Al Jezeera’s english website, on the NYT site at The Lede Blog and on twitter with the hash tag #feb17.

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