JP Floru is an author, City of Westminster councillor, and was Parliamentary Candidate for Bermondsey in 2015.
Now is the time to travel to Egypt. It will be cheap. It will be empty. I will have the pyramids all to myself. Yup – I am definitely going to Egypt this winter. Is it somehow callous or disrespectful vis-à-vis those who were killed in the plane explosion? No: it is quite the opposite.
If we change our behaviour, the terrorists have won. The Foreign Office somehow does not seem to get that simple truth. To be fair, its advice against which areas not to travel to does not include the tourist areas along the Nile river (e.g. Luxor, Aswan, Abu Simbel). But what the average Brit hears is do not go to Egypt.
Can it be that department’s intention to ruin Egypt’s economy and to throw millions into poverty? Or is this just a case of officials covering their illusive liability in case some other outrage happens, and they are blamed by those who always blame everyone except the perpetrators?
Tourism constitutes about 11 per cent of Egypt’s GDP ($12 billion). It’s the Egyptian poor and middle classes who profit most from it. Bringing that activity to a halt because somewhere some terrorist has managed to get through security checks is pretty silly. It will make some poor people even poorer and more prone to radicalisation. And all of this while travelling to 90 per cent of Egypt is quite safe, because its Government does all it can to protect the tourists.
Is it 100 per cent safe to travel to Egypt? Of course not. You have to be careful. But let us not forget that terrorist outrages have happened in very many countries. Imagine what our reaction would have been if the world had issued anti-travel advice against London after 7/7. The reality is that if terrorists want to create an outrage, they will do so. We have to do our best to prevent it but, if they are really determined, they will always get through. That sad knowledge should not stop us from going about our daily business. It should not stop us enjoying our culture of the living as opposed to their culture of death.
It is interesting that this Foreign Office advice which will make us change our behaviour and give in to terrorists comes during the same week as Theresa May is proposing another draconian snoopers charter. The logic is the same: let’s get rid of our freedoms to fight terrorism. The question arises: if our free choices and our freedoms go out of the window, what is there left to defend? And so, I shall go to Egypt. The terrorists must not win.