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US Cries Wolf Against Travel to Europe

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The US government has recently issued warnings for its citizens to “be vigilant travelling in Europe, amid fears of an al-Qaeda commando-style attack.”


Oh yeah, and the newspapers say that Bin-Laden is in on this one, too.

Who else?

Sources have been dotting the travel news sphere that international intelligence has collected data that some Pakistani Britishers and Afghani Germans are up to something.

“They may go commando on tourists!”

“Current information suggests that al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks,” it said. “European governments have taken action to guard against a terrorist attack and some have spoken publicly about the heightened threat conditions.” –US warns Americans against travel to Europe

We better be vigilant – a term which is thrown around the news with frequency without a follow up of what being vigilant really means. How, in this case, should we be vigilant:

Do we run and cower from anyone in Europe that looks Middle Eastern or Muslim?

Do we cancel our vacations to Europe?

Do we sit inside our homes out of fear that someday one of these myriad government travel warnings actually plays out in reality?

The government says that being vigilant means we should avoid crowded places, do the streets of Paris or London or any tourist site in the 47 countries of Europe count as crowded?

Europe, a continent perceived as a safe “white man’s land” has now been crowned with its very own US government travel warning. Welcome to the club, just about everywhere else in the world has a US given travel warning over its head as well.

How many times will the American public take these rampant travel warnings seriously before becoming completely dispassioned and use to them? How many times are we going to listen to our government cry wolf before these warnings no longer register as much other than a blimp of nonsense on the media radar?

There are terrorists in Europe, uh, somewhere . . . they may try to get you . . . commando style . . .

I am currently blogging from a country on the US government’s top list of travel warnings, I have traveled through five others on this list as well, and the only thing that I can say is that all countries can be dangerous in certain places in certain circumstances: the demarcation of an entire country as dangerous is often very far removed from the truth, it only shows ignorance of the true situation.

Though I am sure that tourists from the USA really will cancel their vacations to Europe in droves, they will choose to go to other destinations, they will decide to just stay home where it is safe rather than risk running through a gauntlet of terrorists in Europe.

Hey, nobody wants to be a “soft target,” right?

It is my impression that an act of economic sabotage against Europe has already been committed —  I am unsure if the “terrorists” can take full credit for it. Government warnings create a culture of fear towards other places on the globe, often without real explanation or instructions: they put up a gate against the international flow of people, information, understanding.

To warn a population against travel to 47 different countries spread across an entire continent is to dilute the purpose of such warnings to near nonsense.

“Something might happen, sometime, somewhere in Europe” they say, “you better stay at home, don’t go on vacation, don’t spend money in dangerous, heathen lands. Be vigilant.”

Sources: BBC world news | US travel warning to Europe | US top list of travel warnings

Related pages: Traveling safe means no fear mongering | Thailand travel warnings | Euro drops against dollar, travel to Europe now

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Filed under: Current Events, Danger, Europe, Travel Problems

About the Author:

Wade Shepard is the founder and editor of Vagabond Journey. He has been traveling the world since 1999, through 80 countries. He is the author of the book, Ghost Cities of China, and contributes to Forbes, The Diplomat, the South China Morning Post, and other publications. has written 3135 posts on Vagabond Journey. Contact the author.

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