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 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 .


Susie said...

this is some of the most powerful stuff I have read from Libya - because of the strength of the writing, and because of its "ordinariness" and authenticity in the sense of coming not from say a newspaper reporter but from someone who lived through the past six months with her family. All very humbling.
Hope all is well with you and your husband and his health, and with the members of the family, and that you will be able to breathe freely in the coming period after such a prolonged ordeal.
Greetings from UK.

Anonymous said...

We are one of those expat families that you wrote about. Longing to return to Libya. We have been shattered and scattered for the past 30+ years. We have struggled to keep the connections for our children with Libyan uncles, cousins, culture and grandparents. Thank you for your descriptions to help us share the moments of triumph with you. We will be united soon, Insha Allah! Please see my poem dedicated to The Libyan Martyrs and their families at:
Also Search Youtube for Mrdoublezee and his 6 rap songs to support and express the Libyan expat youth community in the US. Libya Hurra!

ibeebarbie said...

Although very real, this horrific ordeal seems so surreal. I am so grateful to you, your family and all those that have endured such a nightmare and survived, alhamdullilah. The world will forever be changed because of this liberation. Eid Mubarak to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I read this and it made me cry, just imagining what you must have lived through. I hope you'll forgive my presumption, but I have also posted part of it (linked to your blog) onto the Guardian newspaper's live blog page because people should know what you - not the journalists, commenters, politicians, but the Libyan people - have lived through, not just for six months but for 42 years.

God bless you and your family and I hope that Gadaffi is caught (or killed) soon and that Libyans will have the freedom you so deserve.

on the edge said...

Thank you all for your most kind comments. Inshallah ( God Willing) the New Libya will be so much better. I feel hopeful.

Khedegah said...

Asalom Alai Kom sis,

EID MUBAROOK..... What an Eid. I did not celebrate much I tell you. I was awaiting your post, and sadly it was like I thought it would be. I knew you would tell the truth. I wish it could be so different sis. I know how hard you have it. I lived with that fear too. I still do....I still fear ''THEY'' may come for us. I knowit is silly, what are the chances. But I can not shake it.

It sent a chill down my spin when you spoke of the Mercenaries. I remember back to phone conversations with my friend in Tripoli, trying to calm her fears that the Mercenaries would come to her house. All along my own fears of been kidnapped, as they were kidnapping neighbours. That forced our decision to leave...My fears...and well I was right.

I am so sad to hear about Haroun speaking like that.....I do worry so much about the children, especially my neighbour Ahmed 5. He was so scared they moved away from Mager Alhomdolelah they did, as it was a mere few days before the Nato bombings there.

I pray for you all every day....I know you suffer....and that is always in my thoughts. I pray en sha Allah you all stay safe.Alhomdolelah for your near escape.

En sha Allah sis......

Ma saloma
Khedegah xxxx

Ibn Najeeb said...

Vivid and a lot of heart. Thank you for this.

on the edge said...

Dear Sweet Khedegah,
I am most sorry for all that has befallen your family here in Libya. I am truly sorry that your life here in Libya was so fraught with fear and danger.It saddens me to know that some like you , that fought so hard to come here , tried so hard to "be" here was treated so terribly. I wish one day you will feel you can return to Libya , live safely and freely. But know for now , we miss you and are happy you are safe . Your big sister , OTE

Khedegah said...

Salam sis,
JazackAllah Khair for everything you say in your blogs, and for your supportive comments.

I miss my home Libya so much....I truly want to return more than ever.It has made me more determined to return....but I am cautious of what ''atmosphere, and attitude'' I will be returning to.
But I want to return as a stronger person en sha Allah.
I miss you too, and all the people I came to know there.

Keep safe en sha Allah sis
Love and salams
Khedegah xxxx