Friday, September 30, 2011

No More" Wasta" Favoritism





Mohamed and I were out riding around in Tagura today talking about the new possibilities in the NEW LIBYA. He was saying that if a new policy was made and enforced that nepotism and "wasta" ( who you know) was thrown out the window , then with in one year or less , Libya would be fully functional ,at the very least we would have better drivers on the roads .

This evening I read a report from The Libyan Outreach Group on just this subject.I will post it here for you to read . See if you don't agree with the writes of this article from the Libyan Situation Report .


Situation Report:

 

Libya - September 28, 2011

 

Executive Summary


Highlights
 Libya’s National Oil Corporation (NOC) employees protest outside offices in Tripoli saying they want a clean break from the past regime Article

Newly appointed staff from the NCO are being protested against as they are perceived to be unqualified for their positions. NOC employees are seeking new management, who lack the corrupt behaviors that were rewarded by the Gaddafi regime. Government employed an estimated 80% of the Libyan population and was known to be rife with corruption and bribery. "This is a new era, a new revolution. We paid a lot of blood. We are looking for a huge change," said Haifa Mohammed, who said she worked in the company's sustainable development department. The protesters carried banners saying: "We need a change of leadership to return to work." and "Yes to justice, no to favoritism." (Reuters)

These sentiments are widely felt across Libya as Libyans want to move forward by building a new and better Libya. One fear the people have is repeating the same behaviors and practices of the old regime. The people want a clean slate and do not want to endure hardships caused by corruption and nepotism. During the old regime people were often hired or appointed to position not on merit but because of family or social connection, resulting in many public workers holding positions they were ill qualified for and unable to manger properly. Other employees not showing up to work but still collecting paychecks reducing the amount of jobs available for qualified workers and building resentment from workers who are actually performing their jobs.

The ousting of Gaddafi opens the door for the adoption of clear and desired management best practices, transparent and informed decision making processes, and clear performance management and accountability procedures; ultimately instituting organizational and workplace behavior change within Libya. Libya needs an enterprise human capital management office, dedicated to transforming Libya’s workforce, during this critical time of transition, whereby the international community's transfer of knowledge and expertise will be at its zenith; and giving Libyans the opportunity to learn critical skills needed during this complex and challenging period in Libya’s history.
To contact The Libyan Outreach Group by email go here.
To read the rest of the report go here .

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Life Is So Good !

Fast food is making it's appearance again around town in Tripoli.Moe and I went to a little mall on Friday.We hadn't gone there since before Ramadan.We found a coffee cafe open that had been closed. They had cheese cake, pastries , the best Italian coffee , and best of all for me , PIZZA'S !OMG !!! Fully loaded with all sorts of yummy stuff.

I make a killer pizza .Normally I make a bunch of pizza's before Ramadan starts to put away in the freezer for Ramadan . The rest of the year we buy pizza's when ever we want one to eat.But this year I was unable to make the Ramadan pizza's due to a lack of cooking gas.I have had a craving for just this type of pizza.
We ordered pizza . Had a coffee to go with it and people watched .I noticed that the little hamburger stand next to the cafe looked like it would have hamburgers later in the evening too .

Today we drove past another pizza place that had been open for most of the war but recently was closed. It has reopened . They too have killer pizza. I have my fingers crossed that our favorite shawarma place will get their Egyptian workers back soon.They had 2 brothers that made the best shawarmas in the world working for them before the war.

More good news .... the internet that went off the other day , is obviously back on. Yeah !!! Heard they were doing some tweaking .The Wimaxi is still giving some people problems since they have to down load a program and IF you don't have a internet connection ( i.e. no internet at all) , then HOW do you do that?Luckily for me ( I am tech challenged) my internet connection just worked when I turned on the modium, as I have a different system.

Also , the same day as the internet went out , no connection just coincidence,our land line went out too . Today as we were leaving the house to go to the phone company to report the phone being out , we saw the phone guys at the line box on the street. So, we gave them our phone number and address. When we got home , viola , the phone worked and the internet was back on too !See? Good ,huh?

Then , as if that isn't enough to make life wonderful ,Moe's mobile phone needed money on it but ... here again ... things have changed . The number we used bfore when charging the account has been changed . We were sent a message on the phones telling us how and what to do to recharge the phone BUT ... it was in Arabic. I don't read Arabic.Moe didn't translate the message correctly and I was unable to re-charge his phone.Frustration abounds!Here again ,an angel came to our rescue and charged the phone for us .

More good news , it was coolish today , windy , and partly cloudy .That means we didn't sweat to death while we were out and about.I was able to walk almost pain free in the store today . That must mean the new meds I am taking for my arthritis is starting to work.What a blessing .Walking is highly underrated you know.

Last but least , late tonight , there was a knock on the door . Moe was sleeping . I was alone, not too sure whether or not I should even go to the door . I did in the end , asking through the door who it was before I opened the door . It was a neighbors son.He stood there with his arms full of all sorts of goodies .A flat of eggs ( about 2 1/2 dozen) ,2 kilos of tomatoes , a kilo of potatoes, several kilos of onions, and about a kilo of red hot chili peppers.He said they had just come back to town from their farm where they stayed during the fighting .His mother wanted to share some of their produce from their farm. The amazing thing was , today I had meant to buy these very same food items but became side tracked and had forgotten to buy them until we got home.I didn't want to go back out to the store once home and had decided I would go tomorrow instead . Now , tell me life isn't good.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Exclusion of women in new Libya must end

Here is a great articul by the Irish/Libyan writer-actress  Farah Abushwesha on the roll women played in the Libyan revolution and their future role in Libyan politics.

Exclusion of women in new Libya must end

The Irish Times - Saturday, September 24, 2011

Exclusion of women in new Libya must end

FARAH ABUSHWESHA
WORLDVIEW: LIBYAN WOMEN may not have been visible on the streets with guns, but they played an equally important role, displaying courage and strength that has been invaluable to the success of the country’s revolution. So why are women being excluded from decisions and official appointments in the new Libya?
Libyan women triggered this revolution on February 15th, when the mothers, sisters and widows of prisoners killed in the 1996 Abu Salim massacre took to the streets in Benghazi to protest outside the courthouse after their lawyer was arrested.
At home and abroad, Libyan women have protested, smuggled arms, founded civil society groups, raised awareness and delivered humanitarian aid, and continue to do so, taking a central role alongside men in Libya’s revolution – and it has united us.
Yet only one woman is listed as a member of the National Transitional Council, Dr Salwa Fawzi El-Deghali (legal affairs and women). Libyan women were not included as equal partners in last week’s Friends of Libya Paris Conference. There were unconfirmed reports this week that three women – a lawyer, an academic and an activist – have been proposed to the Tripoli NTC council and rejected.
Common excuses for this exclusion, both inside and outside Libya, is that we women must wait until the situation is more secure and that appointments should be made on merit, or that there aren’t enough qualified women to step up.
Libyan women are among the mostly highly educated and professionally highly qualified in the Arab world, and have been working in the public domain in Libya for decades. A double standard seems to be operating with respect to the “appointment on merit” argument: Libyan men with no experience are being appointed to posts. There is naturally a learning curve as Libya rebuilds its institutions, but opportunities should be inclusive of all – across the genders, regions and ethnic groups.
It is time for women to be encouraged to step forward, given their place around decision- making tables and access to the conversations about Libya’s future in accordance with United Nations Security Council mandate 1325, which emphasises the important role women play in peacebuilding.
Women4Libya is a campaign run by Libyan Women’s Society, part of the Libyan Civil Society NGO. It is calling for aid to be ringfenced to support women’s rights; financial aid for civil society and grassroots initiatives set up by women, for women; and negotiations and meetings on the future of Libya to include all tribes and regional representatives, which should include sufficient numbers of women. It has launched an online petition for greater participation of Libyan women in government http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/women4libya
Freedom of thought and expression has not been available to all Libyans for nearly 42 years and it is important that Libyan women who want to be part of the dialogue can participate equally in shaping a better Libya. Such representation should not be tokenistic, nor should it compel women to participate who would prefer to remain in the background working in equally important roles of nurturing families and helping to rebuild local communities. But the choice should be there.
Much is made in the international press of how Gadafy promoted women in unorthodox or sadistic ways – for example, his use of female bodyguards and assassins. The stories are only beginning to emerge of the abusive reality of life for many of these women. Gadafy understood how to use the power of women and how to manipulate society.
Last week saw the arrest of Huda “the executioner” Ben Amer, who at a public Gadafy- staged execution in 1984 grabbed one of the condemned hanging men. She was seen on TV pulling him down until he died. My Irish mother still speaks of her horror at watching that disgusting act. Huda was subsequently made mayor of Benghazi and terrorised the community for many years. We need to move away from this skewed view of empowerment of women; Gadafy does not represent Libyan society.
In the new Libya, there are new heroines. We have seen the iconic images of Iman al-Obeidi, who spoke out about the sexual violence inflicted on so many who have otherwise suffered in silence; the elderly lady praising rebels at a lay-by and giving them her blessing; and Malak, the five-year-old amputee from Misurata – to name a few.
The age of dictatorship is over, 51 per cent the population cannot be ignored or marginalised. We must start as we mean to go on and get women “round the table”, involved as equal partners alongside men. This issue needs to be resolved now to make sure post-conflict Libya starts off on a strong foundation – one that is inclusive and respects the skills and input of all citizens.
Women must be part of the conversation in the new Libya. To do otherwise is not to honour the legacy of the brave Libyan men and women who gave their lives for human rights in the spirit of the country’s revolution.

Farah Abushwesha is an Irish–Libyan writer and film-maker and spokeswoman for the Women4Libya campaign.
Twitter: @farahabushwesha

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Road Traveled



Life is just an adventure with many roads to travel down.Some are bumpy.Some are nice and smooth. Some you can drive fast on and others are sooo slow . Many have speed bumps , detours ,and stop signs,  but all go somewhere.The trick is to enjoy where ever the road takes you , for however long you are driving .That is all I am doing.

I never understood how anyone could make a 5 year life plan. How do you plan that far in advance . Life is so UNPLANNED.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Any Length For A Cup Of Coffee



I think I said once , that Libyans LOVE their coffee . Well , here is the proof .Some one has taken their coffee espresso machine to war so that the freedom fighters can have their daily coffee.Coffee is a serious thing here . Starbucks ain't got nothing on a Libyan coffee shop !

Allah Alkhbar


Recently Mohamed and I were out and about in town running errands .Some thing happened that at the time I didn't think it was a big deal.Since this is the new and improved Libya, and we are free to voice our opinions with out fear of reprisals from the government , I would like to discuss this with you to see what you think.

We were in our car approaching a check point.There were many cars ahead of us but the line was moving quickly since the cars were being waved through the check point by the young man on duty.When my turn came I flashed him a smile and a peace sign , Moe smiled as well . We expected a nod or a smile back from the young man, as so often happens these days.We were signaled to stop which was fine . The young man came to the car and smiled at me . He asked me to say Allah Alkhbar ( God Is Great, in Arabic) .I told him of course I would say God is Great. I shouted out at the top of my lungs Allah Alkhbar, then I was allowed to drive through the check point. We all had a laugh as I drove away.I was looking in my review mirror as I drove down the street.I noticed the guy continued to wave through all the cars behind me , not stopping them as he had me.Later we drove through the check point on the opposite side of the road. No one asked me any questions as I came through the check point, but they did smile back as I flashed them the peace sign.

Tonight as I was washing the dishes I started thinking about this and that, because let's face it, washing dishes is a mindless chore,.My mind wandered here and there.One of the things that passed through my mind as I washed the dishes was the experience at the check point with the young man .I think what triggered my thought was Moe was watching one of the many new Libyan channels on TV . Some one on the talk show he was watching was continuously  shouting out Allah Alkhbar every 2 minutes or so .One thought lead to another , and before I knew it , there I was in my mind back at the check point shouting out Allah Alkhbar.

This is ok , as I have been know to shout out Allah Alkhbar for no reason at all . The spirit moves me , so to say.But I remembered that out of all the cars before or after me , I was the only one that was stopped. I was the only one that was asked to shout out Allah Alkhbar .

Now why was that, I wondered? Was it because Moe and I smiled at him and none of the other people had acknowledged him , let alone smiled?Did he take that as a opening to joke around with some one that seemed friendly ?Did he do it because I was obviously  a foreigner ? I don't wear a head scarf or the Hijab as so many other western women do here in Libya.I am Muslim but I don't cover.But Mohamed was in the car with me and he is Libyan and obviously a Muslim .

I do look " foreign" with my blond hair showing . Was that why he did it ? To remind me that this was an Islamic country?I don't know what he was thinking when he asked me to shout out Allah Alkhbar.But what if .... I was , oh say , a ambassador ,or a volunteer doctor here to help the many wondered people , or any one of the many foreign workers that are still here in Libya working , the majority of whom are Christian .How would one of them had felt if they had been demanded to shout out Allah Alkhbar ? Would they have understood that this has become the rallying battle cry of this revolution? Would they have understood that they were not necessarily being singled out because they were foreigners?

Maybe he just felt enthusiastic that day and wanted to share his enthusiasm with some one, and I was the chosen person .He might have just wanted to see what I would say or do ? Who knows ? But maybe in the future it would be more appropriate by those that man the check points, to just accept the peace sign from those that flash it and not demand an Allah Alkhbar from people that don't voluntary shout it out ?Does any one see my point ? I do know that this is an Islamic country, but we do have many non Muslims that work and live here that might feel intimidated by this " mandatory " Allah Alkhbar .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

???






What was I thinking ????

Recently we had a visitor who was talking to Moe about a new political party being formed here in Libya. He was terribly excited by the process. He said he knew this one and he knew that one . That they were on the NTC ( National Transitional Council) now and would be members of this new political party. I didn't hear the name of the party ,so don't ask me what it was ,when he told  Moe. I then told him about the petition being drawn up for Libyan women asking for their rights in the new Libya . He just ignored me . He is married with 2 daughters , one foreign daughter in law, and 4 grand daughters. I thought he would like to pass the message on to them.

I then asked him would he please speak to one or more of them for me about my group to help raise awareness of our situation as Foreign Spouses of  Libyans and our great need for rights here in Libya.He looked at me like I was insane . He thought for a second or two before he replied to my request. He then practically shouted at me saying that, " THE MEN IN LIBYA NEEDED THEIR RIGHTS FIRST ". Before women and a bunch of foreigners is what he meant to say  but didn't , at least that is the way I interpreted it . Stupid me !!! WHAT WAS I THINKING ??? Women having rights in Libya ? I sincerely hope the other men in his new party don't feel the way he does. The more things change , the more they stay the same it seems.Sigh!

This song " De Do Do Do,De Da Da Da Da"  by The Police has  several verses which I feels is relevant to Libyan politics right now . What do you think?

Poets, priests and politicians
Have words to thank for their positions
Words that scream for your submission
And no one’s jamming their transmission
’cos when their eloquence escapes you
Their logic ties you up and rapes you

De do do do, de da da da
Is all I want to say to you
De do do do, de da da da
Their innocence will pull me through
De do do do, de da da da
Is all I want to say to you
De do do do, de da da da
They’re meaningless and all that’s true.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Time To Recover

Friday Moe and I went to visit his brother in his new house .Several of Moe's sisters and their kids were there as well , so it was a lovely way to spend the day.Another brother in law dropped by as well . The house is really nice . It is like a American open plan house with a great kitchen loaded with all the latest appliances , like a dishwasher. Can you tell I am a little envious ?LOL!My sister in law seemed bent on stuffing us all from the minute we arrived there , to the minute we left.I think we must have gained 10 kilos.

We sat around and talked while keeping a sharp eye out on the tv for the latest news on the offensive in Sirte and Bani Walid.The news bulletins kept us on the edge of our seats at times , others we were ready to throw things at the tv. As we talked the conversation moved , as it seems to do these days , to our individual war experiences. We were divided into groups of : those of us who stayed the entire war here in Libya, to those of us that stayed for just part of the war ,moving to another country until the rebels/ freedom fighters came to Tripoli. Some of us live outside of Libya , so their stories, while different from most of ours, they were no less traumatic.But we all had a story.

As more relatives arrived the furniture had to be moved around to accommodate a larger sitting plan.My sister in law had picked up a large wooden table to move. Since it was entirely too heavy for her to lift alone , it slipped from her hands and crashed to the marble floor with a loud bang.In that instant you could tell which ones of us had lived abroad, which ones of us had stayed for part of the  war , and which ones of us had stayed the entire war .The ones who lived abroad said: WOW .The ones who stayed for part of the war jumped and looked around . The others like Moe and I that had stayed the entire war  screamed and jumped , terrified that somehow  we were under attack as irrational as that seemed.

On the way home , we got caught up in a road block were the guys manning it were in a celebratory mood.They were firing off round after round of missiles and bullets from guns until the air was fogged with smoke.We were close to the actions . It was intimidatingly frightening as it was the first time in 7 months Moe and I had been out of the Condo after dark  #1, and #2 all those bullets have to come down somewhere and we were way too close for comfort.This went on for about 5 minutes that seemed like an hour to us as we waited . I am so glade I wasn't driving .Our niece that was in the car with us was totally stressed out from it as she had already been caught in a gun battle once before during the war in a car.It brought back scary memories for her and her dad who was our driver.

I had thought that I was ok . That our experiences from the war were mild. I realized this wasn't the case once we had arrived home and I had time to reflect on the days activities. Thinking back, I realized that I had become nervous when the front door of my brother in laws house was left open. The door was only a few meters from the outer door in the wall that surrounds the property. Way too close to just leave open like that where anyone could walk in freely. The incident with the falling table , the drive home after dark , and the open door. I guess it will take time to recover . 

Painting by : Tilly Strauss , " Easter Greetings".

Friday, September 16, 2011

Mad and Sad





Disclaimer notice ..... abuse towards women happens all over the world , in all countries, in all social classes,in all ethnic divisions, in all religions, and anything else I left out here..... JUST TO BE FAIR TO ALL CONCERNED . So , don't write me any nasty fan mail ,ok?

I feel so much like the character in the above cartoon. I want to scream . I want to pull out some ones hair and it isn't mine you can bet on that .Maybe even commit murder, death ,kill  to some one . I am so mad I think my blood pressure is in the quadruple digits by now and I have had several hours to cool off .Talked with a friend tonight . She visited a friend of ours that neither one of us has seen in a while due to the war.She found our friend in bad shape both physically and mentally.A extremely long  complicated story that I won't tell here , is that she is being mentally and physically abused by her " loving " husband.

She adored this man . She often would speak of him in glowing , loving terms and now she is very ill he is mistreating her.AND GETTING BY WITH IT ! Why is he getting by with this ? Because she is a foreigner for one thing and hasn't any legal rights here in Libya. Two , she is a foreigner and doesn't have any family here to protect her like a Libyan woman would .Even if ( this for those of you that are thinking this, or will say it )our USA embassy was open, they would not help her unless she came to them willingly and wanted to go home to the USA ,leaving her husband .She is unable to go to the police.Too afraid to tell anyone in case her husband finds out  she has told anyone. If I and/or my friends try to help her , he can legally keep us from seeing or talking to her .

This is not ,and I am sure it won't be the last, case of abuse to a foreign wife of a Libyan here in Libya.I've said this before and I will say it again, we are natural targets for bully's that some of us unknowingly marry.Usually we met our husbands in the US while he is a student studying for a degree. Things are wonderful . We marry and are mostly happy while we are living in the USA.Then we will probably move to Libya for any variety of reasons only to find that loving man we so admired and adored has changed into a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde personality. What are we to do about it now that we are isolated from all our friends and family ? The people we would normally turn to for help?Our husbands families in many cases won't hear of their son being a bad person.It must be all in our minds .So forget that .His friends that were your friends when you were all in the USA together as students? Ha !No , there is no where to turn for help and more than likely no one wants to be involved on your problems.

I have heard of women locked into their homes  allowed to see or talk to no one , including their husbands family.Women beaten so badly they were hospitalized. Women locked into rooms in the garden of their own home and not allowed out . Women starved .Women not allowed to speak their native tongue ever.Women denied basic medical care.And on and on the list grows . AND THERE IS NO ONE THEY CAN TURN TO HELP THEM. They are isolated , alone ,scared ,terrorized,depressed, close to insane from abuse. I AM NOT SAYING THIS HAPPENS TO ALL FOREIGN WOMEN that marry Libyans and come here to live , for many of us are happy and well treated. But for it to happen at all is one too many women.I am so sad and depressed right now.My poor friend .

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

History Check


This week end we had visitors . The first to come over was Moe's younger brother and his family. They had returned from Tunis where they had been for the last 2 months. We were so glade to see one another we couldn't stop hugging .We were the survivors of war . Each one of us had a story we wanted to tell .And we all wanted to them at the same time ,lol.We looked like grinning idiots . We couldn't stop grinning. If we weren't grinning , then one or more of us were crying about some one or something that had happened.They stayed for a long time but the time just flew by on wings.So nice to see them all safe and healthy.

Then yesterday Moe's sister that lives here , her husband , and their daughter with her son , along with the sister that lives in the US came over to visit.The sister here we hadn't seen in months . Her husband had been quite ill during the war. How great it was to see him back on his feet again.I hadn't met the little baby before I am ashamed to say . He isn't exactly a baby any more . He will be 2 years old next month ,lol. He is a doll . OMG , if he were a girl , how beautiful would he be?Our sister that lives in the US hasn't been home in a year .It was so good to see her again . She had stories also of how the war had affected her in the US, watching it from afar. How hard it had been for the Libyans in the States to watch on tv. She brought news of our daughters there in America.

Again we all had stories we had to share with one another . Moe and I were retelling stories that we had told the day before .They were just as traumatic .We learned that a nephew had been fighting with rebels ( have to stop calling them that but don't have another name for them yet.) and he had left his family worried sick for  months with no news of him. I don't know how his mother lived through such an ordeal .I would have been insane.Another nephew in the family had been a on the ground reporter here. Getting the news out to news networks so the outside world would know what was happening here. A niece had been shot in her leg sitting in her yard. She was ok .Many others in the family that had been arrested for siding with the rebels where finally released from prison.. Our daughter was very involved in America with aid and volunteer services to come here to help the people.On and on the news of this one and that one came out . Eight months of no communications with one another , for if the phones were working , you couldn't talk freely on them . They were monitored of course. With no gasoline for the cars , there was no visiting . We shed years of rage with laughter of relief that we had made it through the war alive and well.

We all had questions concerning the future .Worries that all could turn out to be not what it seemed , after all Ghadaffy had started out ok , hadn't he?Why had this happened and not that?What next?How long did we estimate it would take to turn the country around.Of course we all had an opinion on that subject .Arm chair rulers , we had became.But the visits were good . A renewal of our family bonds .

We heard over and over not only from family, but friends as well, that it was safe to go out .Drive around in the city and the small town were we live. I had deep reserves about leaving the safety of our home until yesterday. Since yesterday was the first day in who knows when we hadn't heard gunfire somewhere near our home, Moe and I decided to go out yesterday morning . Just here in Tagura were we used to drive around .

Our favorite coffee shop was now open and ready for us . There were "oh how are you's" all around .People smiling and congratulations to one another for the Eid and the revolution's success was heard at all the different places we stopped.Again , everyone wanted to tell you their story

The most remarkable thing for me, was that every single place I looked , I saw people smiling uncontrollably .The young guys on guard duty at road blocks shouting out hello's and smiling like the Cheshire cat from ear to ear.Everyone flashing the peace sign that has taken the place of the up raised fist of the old regime.Out bursts of " ALLAH AKBAR" ( God is Great) in loud proud voices, zinging through the air like darts.Flags , hats , stickers on cars , buildings and walls with "Libya Hurra " ( Free Libya) written on them everywhere.And more smiling happy faces telling you that it was all worth it .I will be forever grateful to have been a part of this,the birth of a new nation. Amazing times . An awesome time  for the Libyan  people that have never know what freedom feels like before now. Imagine that if you can . Freedom ,how can you describe such a thing?

Painting by  Tilly Strauss: " Divorce Document #4 ".

Janis Joplin Said....



Janis Joplin said ,
   "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose,
    Nothing don't mean nothing honey if it ain't free, now now."
in her song " Me And Bobby McGee".

The Libyan people have stood up against all odds and said we count. We're mad and we are fighting back. We want our freedom.They stood up to a dictator and demanded their freedom . You know what ? They got it when everyone said it will never happen . No way you can fight Ghadaffy  and ever win.Take your pick of reasons from below:

He will never let you win .
He is too strong.
You aren't strong enough.
You will never get any support.
 The people are too afraid to stand up for their rights.
Everyone is afraid to fight.

Good thing Ben Ghazi didn't listen to any of those things huh ?

I cam here to Libya the 1st time when I was a idealistic , naive ,pregnant 20 year old that knew nothing about birthing no babies. I came here after having worked for 3 years supporting myself , help supporting my mother. and supporting my new husband until he got his work permit in the US after we married.

I was fully independent.I was hard working. I believed in equality.I was used to thinking for myself and making my own decisions.I thought that would continue to happen when we moved to Libya.I  was so excited to come to Libya and be a trail blazer , a pioneer .

Mohamed's family was a good family.They were  a well educated family that had traveled much and seen the world outside of Libya. They were as open minded as a Libyan family could possibly be in 1972. They welcomed me with open arms and treated me as a daughter of the family. I called Mohamed's parents Bouy ( my father) and his mother , Ommy ( my mother) and I meant it .I felt they were my parents. I also called his sisters and brothers mine as well . I still do to this day.I am honored they call me sister.

We get along like a family , some times it's onions , sometimes it honey.There were times when it was mostly  onions with Mohamed when we lived here in Libya. I had no one to help me . No one had my back. There wasn't any one to turn to .I felt so alone.I never want another  wife to come here and feel like that because she discovered she didn't have any rights like I did.

Those of us (the foreign spouses) that live in Libya, have lived in Libya , or even just visited Libya all have a story.Usually one that ends like this , I had / have no rights because I am a foreigner.  If you never lived here or even visited and you are a foreign spouse, it was for one reason I am sure , the lack of security,the lack of freedom of your rights. Correct?.Now , for the 1st time we have a chance to change that.Change it for ourselves , for our daughters , for our grandchildren from our daughters that married non Libyan men.We can give them what no one gave us ... a chance to have freedom ,equality , and rights. A voice for future non Libyan women married to Libyan men , not just ourselves.This may be the ONLY time in history that this will happen.Don't miss out on your destiny.Your voice counts . Let's hear it.Tell the NTC what you want , your equal rights as a foreign spouse married to a Libyan.

Equal Rights For Foreign Spouses Of Libyans

Friday, September 9, 2011

A Chance For A Better Future?


If  you are a non-Libyan married to a Libyan and wish to join a facebook group that was formed to write a petition, to be presented to  the NTC asking for you to have the right to own property in Libya , inherit from your spouse , and many other rights , click here for the page. You must have a facebook account to see the page.

Now , if  you ARE LIBYAN WOMAN or know one , here is a facebook page FOR YOU to join . A petition will be drawn up to be presented to the NTC asking them for greater representation of Libyan women in the NTC and future governmental institutions.Here again , you must have a facebook account to join.

These are exciting times here in Libya. Hopes are high with our  expectations of the new government. Let's pray they don't let us down .

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Picture From Last Trip To Beauty Street

Moe and I on our last outing this past winter to " Beauty Street" where there are are roles upon roles of wholesale shops with beauty products for sale.


Todays News

Thank you to all that wrote to me !!!Today is a much better day then yesterday . I got a little more sleep . Seems I am not the only one with this problem. Others I know and have talked with are having a similar problem.We have also had attention deficit problems off and on. Hard to concentrate on simple things like watching an entire movie or reading books . Some can do one but not the other , while others of us can do all , or neither .Stress. But it is getting better .

I got my 1st instant message on my phone from a friend tonight  . The 1st since I think May?So great to send a ms, stating what you want to say and not having to make conversation when you are really not in the mood or busy .Loving it.

The neighborhood shooter is still at large, shooting at will . We never see him . He is like a ghost. We certainly can hear him though. I wish they would catch him soon. We thought they might have this morning when we heard a lot of gunfire but since he has been walking around tonight and shooting , I guess they didn't. Oh well , soon ???

My daughter started a Facebook page for me and my cause. I am so proud of her for her support !It is for the organization of a legal petition to present to the NTC eventually when the new Libyan constitution is drawn up asking for certain rights for (women like me ) foreign spouses/ and children of Libyans married to foreign spouses . I will post the page for you to sign up and /or just show your support even if you are not in either of these categories , later on when I have the page ip here .So exciting to think that after 40 years, the many sacrifices made to live here and raise a family, may actually be acknowledged by giving me and so many others like me, rights that most Libyans take for granted in Libya. I have high hopes that the NTC will add this new law to the new constitution when drafted and ratified.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What NOW ?

Just re read what I wrote in the previous post . Please excuse the glaring mistakes. It was 4 a.m. when I wrote and believe it or not , proof read it. BUT now , I am completely unable to access ANY of my email addresses or Facebook. It says "temporary moved to here" but won't open up to any web page . Now what ? Are we going back to no internet service or is this a "thing" ?

Snapped @ 60

Yesterday ( the 6th of Sept. ) was my 60th birthday.This has never been a problem before for me , birthdays. In fact I have almost always looked forward to birthdays. I have never lied about my age . I mean why bother and what is the point ?It is just silly to lie about how old you are , I think .But now I am 60 years old and I do mean old ! I am a senor citizen now . OMG !!! Although my youngest daughter in the States tells me I have until the age of 62 , maybe even 65 until I am officially a senor citizen. I think she was just trying to cheer me up.I am falling apart at a most alarming rate here.The first two months of the war I was house bound due to my arthritic knees not allowing me to walk or stand more than a few minutes at a time.

Which in around about way brings me to another topic I have wanted to discuss and haven't got around to yet, the simple kindnesses Moe and I were shown by family , friends, neighbors , and strangers during the war.Our son and his family came to take care of us the 1st week I was crippled. That was a huge help as I couldn't walk at all then. Moe still needs his care even if I can't walk.Neighbors volunteered to take Moe shopping to stock up on meds and grocery's , even carrying the things up 4 flights of stairs at times for him as he is unable to do that anymore.

Even when gasoline became scarce they still continued to drive him here and there when I couldn't. One day there was a knock at the door.I opened it to find a neighbors son standing there smiling . He asked for my car keys. He said Aunty Haga (I have all sorts of names, lol ) I want to put 7 liters of gas into your car for you .I know you can't wait in line for 3 days for gas. He refused to let me pay for the gas which cost as much as gold.

I have a friend that lives near us and her husbands family has a thousand young guys in it that all have helped us in one way or another .One would take my car for me and wait in line with it to get gasoline. Sometimes it would take as long as 3 or 4 days of waiting in line . This would be during bombings by NATO over head , fighting in lines with guns and knives by others waiting as well. Very dangerous .My son called one day and asked me did we have gasoline in the car. It just so happened that we didn't and I had hesitated asking the boy to take the car to the gas station for me because it had become too dangerous, so I told me son no . He showed up in one hour with enough gas to fill the car up half way, for free.Now that is love !


Hot plates of food , loaves of bread would magically appear ,when bread was as hard to find as an Easter egg  in a Easter egg hunt .Shop keepers would come to the car , take the grocery list and then bring it all to the car for us when neither one of us were able to walk far or for long.Knocks on the door at odd times but always just when we needed them with offers of help. I am not too sure how we would have made these months with out all these angels.

Now on to another topic I have wanted to talk about , prayer.I have always prayed, just haven't been very public about it as some people.When we moved here I noticed that many would say Alhumduliallah all the time, which means Thanks to God .Inshallah was said a lot too . That means God's Will o,r if God Wants It To Be.People said that whenever they were asked something , go somewhere , or do something. Other circumstances as well but I just can't think of examples right now.Well , even when I was a Christian I was never one of those people that went around yelling those sorts of things , so it was quite awkward when I started to doing it after becoming a Muslim.Now I do it all the time and am not even aware of say them. Khadijateri and I were talking the other day about saying Alhumduliallah so much since the war started ,that  hardly a sentence is stared without starting with it .

Now that I have rambled on here , I will get to the praying part ;before I sleep I say my prayers.Afterwords I give thanks . I list them on my fingers ;thank you God for the electricity today , for our good health , for the help of our friends and family. For they and their families good health . Thank You for our safety .For our families and friends safety .Thank You for our home . Thank You for our car. Thank You for Your forgiveness, and so on , until I fall asleep.Even when I lie down for a nap I say these prayers.The list got longer as the war wore on. Sometimes during the day I will say thanks to God for the sunset , the food we ate,the gentle cooling breeze that came in off the sea when the electric was off. The large and the small things are all worth saying thank you to God .And you know what ? He acknowledges them all .

I said a lot of prayers the day our oldest son was kidnapped and sent to Sirt to be a human shield.We had been trying to contact our son for a few days . Phone contact  was off and on about this time , so we marked up the fact that we had been unable to reach him due to poor phone service when we were unable to reach him for several days . Then we called our daughter in law to ask her to have him call us . She hemmed and hawed about having him call us until after 5 days I penned her down about why he hadn't called us back and the story came out in her tears.He had rented a taxi to drive from some people after the foreign company he worked for left town when the war started . People still needed to work so they could eat. They have 2 little boys to feed and cloth. It was about this time Ghadffy forces was stopping people on the streets , in their cars, and picking them up . Mostly young men but sometimes other older people as well. We had all heard about these things happening.This is what had happened to our son as he drove his taxi. Long story short , he was sent to Sirt to act as a human shield for Ghadffy ,but since our son has worked all over Libya over the years,he knows the most unlikely people in the oddest out of the way places.He managed to get help from some people he found in Sirt that he knew and escape from there after almost 10 days of being missing.There was a point when I thought , due to mis-communication with Moe, that someone was on their way to our house to tell us he was dead.I think that was one of the worst days of my life.He returned home to us safe and sound .Alhumduliallah !By the way , that is a very difficult word to spell.

Now , during these last almost 8 months, I have had good days and bad days , Moe as well .We decided early on that it was just easier to have the good days rather than surfer through bad days , so we tried to see the bright side to most things , laugh off others ,kiss one another a lot , say I love for no reason at all ,as often as possible.Sometimes we did this through a veil of tears but we managed to stay positive as much as possible in the circumstances.It has helped us get through some very bad times.


That is until yesterday. I haven't been able to get my required 25 hours of sleep the last few days and I am not a very nice person with out them .Yesterday I woke up in a foul mood and it just got worse as the day and news wore on.Everything was awful.Moe went into town and came back with tales of a ghost town . Shops  mostly closed.The few that were open were nude of merchandise.No coffee cafes open . Now , you know things are bad when they are closed. People here live on caffeine.Moe said that the trash that had been colected had been dumped on the beach here in Tagura. On THE BEACH , I SAY! Don't know if that is a temporay thing or what, and yes I KNOW there are a lot of things that need doing .I KNOW everything can't all get done at once , they need time.But the beach ?


Then I talked to my daughter in law.She told me that she and our son had driven by the wadi ( dry river ) near their house yesterday . There had been intense fighting there by both sides during the battle for Bab Al Azizia and Tripoli.Evidently many people were shot and killed at this place. Up to at least 150 or 200 people killed there.The Ghadffy people had set up an ambush check point disguised as the rebels by this wadi. As the people came to them , they were executed , thrown over the barrier wall of the wadi to hide them from the next victims as they came up to the check point.So , for the last week or so , in 105+ heat these bodies of victims have been lying in the wadi dead, waiting for some one to show them some decent kindness and humanity .Let's just forget about human kindness and decency here for a minute , or how un-religious this is , or disrespectful, but rather on disease spreading. Rats everywhere,wild dogs , flies breeding on these bodies. Where is WHO when you need them?A lot to do huh? My daughter in law said the smell from decomposing bodies that were no longer in the wadi was so strong they couldn't get within 2 blocks of the wadi.She was in tears as she described the scene on the phone.

We went to bed with a heavy heart last night after hearing that news.The stalemate in Bani Walid left us to wonder.So, off to bed we went , only to be woken up by loud explosions outside our condo in the little ally below us.Gunshots , cannon fire,geletine, running feet ,whistling ,signaling some one else doing the same things several streets over  from us.Then, a car driving up, talking to them , a confederate, confirming a plan of action. More explosions . Strangely enough no one from any of the many check points up and down the main road that is situated at the end of the ally came running up to try to stop them . To keep the peace , as is their duty .Not one of the 7 policemen that live in the condos went running out to uphold the peace at 3 a.m. No one , that is until 45 minutes well after the entire incident was over and the shooters went home.THEN , everyone came running out to see what was going on , after the fact.There went any thought of sleep for the rest of the night.Interestingly enough, the NTC had sent a message out to everyone yesterday ... AGAIN...telling people to turn in their guns and NOT to shoot them AT ALL .Uh huh .

Then ..... as if all that was enough to put me  in a foul mood, I turned 60 today ! AND......the news of  a invisible (evidently) convoy of cars that managed to some how elude all the AWAK airplanes flying over Libya, and every single spy satellite that is focused on Libya at the moment .Now that is just AMAZING ! I mean NATO was able to see a tank parked underneath a tree from how many thousands of feet up in the air, but a convoy of cars driving across the empty Sahara desert was an impossibility , I guess .Not ONLY did the convoy drive across the empty Libyan Sahara desert from the north of Libya to the south of Libya ( which is a considerable distance), BUT.....it then crossed the Libyan boarded into Niger , illegally .It continued to drive almost entire length of Niger , to the capital .Word has it ,the convoy of invisible cars has moved onto a more southernerly town that is closer to the boarder of ANOTHER country , Bakino Faso.This convoy of  invisible cars is suspected of having " senor officials " of the Ghadffy regime , possibly the man his self , but no one thought to stop them .I was told they couldn't because they didn't have a reason . What about searching for a possible war criminal wanted by the Hague? Or ascertaining that the cars were not snuggling hundreds of millions of cash and gold stolen from the Libyan people out of the country?


So , I just snapped today. Gone are all the long months of working so hard to stay positive and cheerful .I am a senor citizen and the world has gone to hell in a hand basket. There, I said it.I am feed up with it all.I am so ready to go shopping , visit my friends ( IF they are still talking to me after today) , go for a drive in the country side , have a decent nights sleep uninterrupted by gun fire, bombs or explosions of any sort.I want to drive to a gas station and say , fill her up please.I want to feel safe again. So far , 60 really sucks.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

English "Crazy" Language

Time to have a laugh or two .......

I think a retired English teacher was bored.
THIS IS GREAT! Read all the way to the end.
This took a lot of work to put together!
You think English is easy??


1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?


Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France . Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick' ?


You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 
'UP.'

It's easy to understand UPmeaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?
We call 
UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UPthe leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed 
UP about UP!
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UPlook the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UPis used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UPyou may windUP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP.
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP.
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it 
UP,
for now my time is UP,
so........it is time to shut UP!

Past, Present, And The Future?


Things are still very much a toss up here in Libya. I hear this one or that one expressing their concerns.There are worries about Ghadffy and his sons still being at larger.Anger that his son Hannibal was , as some insist , "allowed" to escape to Algeria .Gunfire is heard sporadically too often. Too many guns out in all the wrong hands.This talk of tribes, I have lived here off and on for 40 years and this is the first time I have ever heard that word incorporated into conversations.

Insecurity over the future making  many anxious .Will we become like Iraq ? Car bombs, tribal insurgency's,Islamic extremist ,guerrilla warfare from Ghadffy loyalist are some of the whispers I hear in the wind.If asked most will say that in Tripoli things are improving day by day.People are working hard to get things back to normal.But no one remembers what that is any more.

Everyone wants things back to normal for all of Libya. All of Libya ,the people will tell you this is one Libya , for all Libyans , no matter which way their loyalties lie.But underlying all this is the fear that foreign troops will try to come in to Libya and take over as in Iraq.That would be a fatal mistake , as it would unite and mobilize  the population as nothing else has been able to up to this point ,against any foreign intervention.

People want to believe that things will be different.They want to trust things will change.They want a chance for democracy to work here in Libya.They need time. They need education as to how theses things are done . They need their expats to come home and help make a difference with the skills and knowledge they have gained living abroad.Libya is a beautiful country, but it needs everything , most especially , love and care.The Libyan people ,despite the atrocities we hear about in the news , are a generous people.Libya can become a great country if give half a chance.

Painting by : L.C.Neil " Dream"

Friday, September 2, 2011

Congratulations For Eid Al Fitr 2011

        The most powerful weapon against evil is the power of prayer. Eid Mabrook to all . May your prayers be answered and Allah bless you with peace.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

A Day Of Tears

I think it was the 22nd of August ,the day after the "rebels" had come to Tripoli. It was a hot summers day outside and again the electricity was out.Moe and I decided that we would just stay in bed since it was way too hot to do anything around the house. We had been up all night long glued to the TV watching all the news channels .Al Jezeera, BBC, and CNN gave us blow by blow details of what was happening all around Tripoli , all but the news we so wanted to hear , that Ghadffy had been captured along with his sons.

We could hear in the distance car horns honking , gun fire hammering away at who knew what.On and on this continued through out the morning making sleep difficult as our imagination ran wild with all sorts of conjectures.After several hours of trying and failing to find sleep , we got up. I decided I would risk being possibly shot by sitting next to the living room balcony doors that over looked the main road that runs in front of the Condo building.It was apparent that there were many cars and trucks to-ing and fro-ing but to what purpose I couldn't tell.Did this extra activity mean Ghadffy was caught?

Going crazy sitting there staring out the doors at the street below, my mind went over the many things we ,our friends and family here had witnessed or experienced the last 6 months.I thought back to the time when Ghadffy promised to go from street to street, house to house, room to room searching for "rats" vowing to kill all he found.Our blood ran cold for we knew he would do as promised.He did in Misarata ,destroying the once lovely city.Thank God it didn't happen to Tripoli I thought selfishly.I remembered sneaking out on the balcony at 4a.m.one time to hang the laundry to dry because it was quite in the neighborhood. I had assumed all were sleeping and it to be safe.Well , we all know what happens when you assume things.I was incorrect in thinking I would have that time all to myself.I heard scuffling noises in the ally below our condo.Hidden by the hanging sheets I looked over them to see 20 mercenaries marching in the alley below with walky talky's carrying guns , knives , and machetes.I backed back into the condo as quietly as I was able, collapsing onto the couch shaking uncontrollably, wondering how long it would be before they  would come to break down our door? That was when Moe and I started to stay up all night , every night, so that we would be dressed and fully alert in case something like that did ever happen. Better to be awake than sleepy if your door is kicked in at 4a.m.In any case, that night we where saved.No one came to our door. We heard that they went further down our street to other families ;that they kicked in their doors killing some , taking away others.Then there was the time we had a shoot out in broad daylight one day in the street below. I was almost hit by a bullet from a shooter in the street below.One of the worse nights was the night we heard the distinctive creaking-squeaking sounds of tanks rolling down the tiny alley behind our condo.We sat in the dark waiting  for the tanks to fire on the condo building.Luckily for us , they kept rolling on down the street to close it off , not to fire on us.

Many more things rushed through my mind that day as I sat looking out those doors.My mind turned once again to Ghadffy and all the sorrow and suffering he had caused our family. He had arrested Mohamed's father , tortured him , publicly humiliated him on state TV, forcing him to confessing to crimes he never committed,and caused him to go blind in one eye while in prison due to no medical treatment.He had a hit put out on Moe in the early 1980's that thankfully was unsuccessful .Tried to kidnap our children at one point when we lived in the US in order to get at Moe.That didn't work out either.The list just went on.

For more than 40 years that man had controlled our lives in one way or another.Maybe the honking horns outside meant he had been captured?I noticed that my nose was dripping and that I had begun to cry at some point and wasn't even aware that I was crying.I cried thinking that this evil was over and he could never hurt anyone else again.I felt so odd thinking that, no more worry about what you said to whom, where , or when.How a life so free will be here in Libya. How wonderful.How liberating!

Then I thought of all the exiled Libyans outside of Libya , how they must be feeling right at that moment.All the times they had said if only he were gne . If only things would change , I want to go home but can't live in Libya as long as Ghadffy is in power.Well, he was finally gone.Their diaspora had an end at last. So I sat and thought.I cried for them , that they were not in Libya to live this magnificent moment in history. I was so sad for them being on the outside looking in on this long awaited day none of  us thought would ever come.I cried because Mohamed's generous and loving father didn't live to enjoy this day.I cried because I thought it was all over.

So , Moe and I went back to bed to sleep off the euphoria in the heat not really caring that it was melting inside the condo because we were so happy .Several hours later the lights came on . We rushed to turn on the TV news channels to see if our assumptions were true.All our hopes came crashing down. Ghadffy was still at large , free to wreck havoc in our lives, unchecked .The tears flowed down both our checks this time in unstoppable despair .Maybe tomorrow we will wake up to learn Ghadffy has been arrested and is in custody.Maybe.

The sadist thing was when our oldest grandson who just turned 4 years old tried to describe the fighting that took place around his home last week to me when he came to wish us Happy Eid yesterday.The sounds of machine guns , the smoke in the air that burned his little nose, the fire shooting in the sky from cannon fire, and the dead bodies he was able to see from his window, lying below in the street.No child should ever have such stories to tell .