I'm trapped in the United Kingdom because of another "terror plot".
I came in last night from Amsterdam, intending to spend the morning and early afternoon in London and the second part of the day in Luton, from where I intended to catch a night flight back to Amsterdam. I was hoping to be at work on Friday morning.
But it was not to be. Having finished my business in London, I took the train to Luton to meet a member of my family. I had been warned by my interlocutors in London that flights were likely to be delayed on account of some security upheaval, but I did not pay much attention to what they were saying.
The scale of the problem only became apparent to me when I checked the news.
But I'm a stubborn soul, and I decided to go to the airport anyway, in the hope that my flight would not be cancelled.
Vain hope! I use a certain low-cost airline which I shall not name because there is too much advertising in the world already. This airline had cancelled all its flights. I queued up meekly to move my flight to another day, and made up for my docility by going to another desk and trying to harass a poor harried employee into admitting that there was no real, useful arrangement for stranded passengers.
I was not, of course, stranded. It is a lonely African indeed who comes to Europe and cannot find a brother, sister or friend to stay with, in the event they cannot afford paid accommodation.
"Terrorists" have struck again, or at least failed to do so by a very narrow margin, from what I hear.
London is on a high security alert following the development of August 10, 2006
I was not at risk at any point. I'm glad. I do not find it remotely interesting to be blown up in the air by anyone, even if I feel they have some right to be angry enough that innocent (though who in this world of ours can really be called innocent except babies?) lives are merely canon fodder for their war.
It has been one of those trips.
To start with, my flight out of Amsterdam was late. Then I got lost. I must admit that I have developed the craft of getting lost into a fine art.
I took the wrong entrance out of Gatwick airport (a place I should know well - I've been lost there before) and ended up in a deserted back lot, being eyed with suspicion by a limping security employee. I tried to get back into the terminal by the same route, and realised that the doors only opened outwards. I tried to look as if it is perfectly normal to go up to doors which bear a sign that they cannot be opened and try to open them.
Having failed in that attempt, I tried not to look sheepish and slunk away. I sneaked round a corner and located a lift.
I went back upstairs to where I should have been if I'd paid any attention to the signs. After wandering round the airport for many precious minutes, I finally located an exit. I headed straight for the taxi rank, because I could not face the possibility of taking the wrong train at
The cab driver did not help me with my bags, so I did not give him a tip.
When I'm tired, I can be very pernickety.
The first part of the day was fine, even though I failed to meet someone I really wanted to see. I don't even mind getting lost. I do it all the time. Even otherwise painfully polite people have called me hopeless on account of my making them walk four tram stops in the cold because I mistook a strange building for a place I know.
When I was at university, each time I moved to a new room I went back to the old room for weeks afterward. It made for interesting situations, I can tell you.
It was the terror alert that ruined everything. I have given up on going into the office tomorrow and have decided to make a relaxed weekend of it here in the UK.
But I prefer my own bed, and pots and pans, and online scrabble games in a computer in my own house, and my own coffee, and being there to ensure that my rubbish is taken out on Thursday night.
The truth is that while I agree that terrorist is not the right way to describe these people who are, in a way, fighting for their sovereignty, their culture and their lives in some cases, the methods they use to achieve their aims can disrupt and ruin countless lives.
The question is this: is this the right way for them to fight their fight? I do not doubt for a moment that they must fight it. But is this the right way?
On the other hand, should we place personal convenience above such concerns (perhaps that is too weak a word, but I'll leave it) as are expressed by the people who blow up aeroplanes to make a point?
What should be our response to this thing they call terrorism?
Rosemary Ekosso is a Cameroonian translator and court interpreter with the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands. She blogs frequently at Ekosso.com
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