A Twist of History

Who would have thought – one and a half year ago – when happily visiting Libya and thoroughly enjoying it, that things would go so very wrong over there. Maybe it was smouldering for a long time already, with people brutally oppressed and living in constant danger…but it certainly didn’t look and feel like it. No, it was a happy place with extremely pleasant and respectful people, and with the Colonel everywhere providing everyone’s needs.

A mosque in Tripoli. Who knows protesters and Khadaffi-loyals clash in the very same place now?
View of a Sukh (market) very close to the Green Square in central Tripoli. Tourists were rare and certainly not being harassed as in other north-African countries
The Great Leader in better times…
This must most certainly leave a bitter taste in the mouth now

Of course I wasn’t just there for the sun and camels, but for some decent aircraft spotting as well. The LAVEX show at Mitiga provided ample possibilities, all more or less legal I should add. Meeting with Libyan Air Force personnel was very rewarding, with most glad and proud to show us westerners their equipment and professionalism (despite crashing a MiG.23 during the week).

A MiG on the operational flight line. This was really out of bounds for the public, but after having been dropped of by a taxi ON the flight line the Air Force people were very welcoming!
If I had to choose between a Flogger and a Fitter, it would be the Sukhoi everyday
Checking out the construction number of a Mirage F.1 jet. This particular one is in fact one of the two Libyan jets which escaped to Malta recently
Close up of a Mi.24 Hind attack helicopter. Note the picture of the Great Leader in the rear cockpit!
You don’t get to sit in an operational MiG every day. Strange idea this jet, or one of the others I had the pleasure to sit in, might have been used to bomb the local population…

I guess it will be a while before all this is possible again. Who knows how the country will look like by then, and who will be in charge. One day I hope to return to a Libya that has overcome oppression and civil war.