Journey into Chaos

Journey into Chaos

Journey into Chaos

Journey into Chaos

Excerpt

THE AIR FRANCE SUPER-CONSTELLATION, after two false starts from Paris, a nightmare journey across the Balkans, a midnight touchdown in the grubby airport at Istanbul, finally reached Beirut in the early hours. Soon after we landed, dawn broke across the mountains to the east, revealing a brown Mediterranean coastline, palm trees, cypresses, a broad, brand-new motor-road streaking towards the city, and the palatial outlines of the new air-terminal. In the main booking hall, all the airlines of the world had their desks: BOAC, Pan-Am , Air France, TWA, Sabena, Swissair, KLM, Scandinavian Airways, Air Liban, Saudi Airlines, Iraq Airways, MEA, Syrian Airlines, AirEgypt.... The Lebanon provides immediate and physical evidence of the fact that somebody, at least, has done well out of the Arab-Israel war. Before, Lydda airport, near Tel-Aviv, was, after Cairo, the air cross-roads of the Middle East. Now, the Arab boycott has effectively, and probably permanently, shifted ot to Beirut. Indirectly, I suppose, this new airport was built out of the sufferings of 900,00 Arab refugees.

In the lounge, another sign that wars always bring benefit to somebody : Colombian troops of the United Nations Emergency Force sat around in their blue uniforms. The airport officials were worried about them : they appeared to speak no known language, and nobody could discover where they were going. They sat around contentedly, sucking . . .

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