Monday, May 24, 2004

The Coming Explosion

This guy makes a lot of sense and knows what he is talking about.What do you think?

Culture and Arts? Who Cares!
Abeer Mishkhas,

Whenever I read about a movie or a book portraying Arabs negatively, I wait for some proper responses from our side. By proper responses, I mean intelligent and logical ones in the same medium...

Who Is Behind The Mazzeh Operation?
Selim Nassar Al-Hayat 2004/05/2

During the course of this week, a number of incidents happened that have ramifications on Iraq, Syria, Jordan and Gaza.

I think we have seen lately the ramifications in Gaza courtesy of the IDF..

What About Arab Plans?
Abdullah Iskandar Al-Hayat 2004/04/27

When the Arab leaders convene on 22 May to discuss the situation in Iraq, only a few weeks would be separating them from the expected date of the transfer of authority to the Iraqis. The procedure will be determined by the end of June. Will there be any role or weight or even any consideration of Arab concerns over the future of Iraq?

Well we have seen what happened at the Arab summit, sorry folks I'd rather go watch Superstar . This is talent contest program for young singers and this time there are 2 Libyan contenders, which are excellent by the way. If you have nothing else to do go the website and vote or send an sms. Ayman Alataar is my favourite and Rida Jaffar is the next .. Finals are next Sunday . There is also the Iraqi Shada and another Syrian girl ..I'm really mixed up the choice is wide ..

Chess Championship:

Originally the World Chess Federation (FIDE) world championship was scheduled to be staged in two parts, one in Libya and one in Malta. This was mainly to accommodate Israeli players. Now the main sponsor, Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi, has guaranteed "entry visas to all the 128 qualified participants". FIDE is pleased to announce that the 2004 World Chess Championship will take place June 18 - July 13 in Tripoli. The Libyan Olympic Committee (LOC) guarantees entry visas to all the 128 qualified participants and the invitation to the players is signed by the President of LOC ,Mohammad al-Qadhafi. [FIDE]

I don't know if this event will still take place in Libya or not , but will check it out .

visa problems to students in US ... well quite interesting hmm?

Catching up on a lot of work

I've jotted down a lot of subjects which I've been wanting to write about or mention, in addition to having all those questions and issues raised by email etc..

Local news:

Friday, 21 May, 2004: Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer says Australia will reopen its embassy in Libya. According to the official Libyan news agency, JANA, he made the announcement during a brief visit to the capital, Tripoli. While there, Mr Downer had talks with the Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister. JANA said they discussed ways to promote bilateral relations, notably in political, cultural and scientific areas. Australia closed its embassy in Tripoli 17 years ago.. [AFP]

Suddenly everyone wants to re-open their embassy in Libya,it's fashionable I guess. Honestly speaking this is good news, more opportunity for Libyans locally or overseas.. So I'll be pragmatic about the whole affair, I think we should all be getting on with building a better future and gathering our strenght. . People have suffered enough .

1) My thoughts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in brief :
The current Jewish inhabitants of Israel have no place in this historical land ( except Arab Jews who were living there- I think they are called Sephardic ?). But unfortunately the damage has been done and it is irreversible as it would also not be fair nor possible to throw out all those Jewish immigrants now. Therefore the logical part is that since the Palestinian Arabs were so kind to let the immigrant Jews who had run away from an intolerant racist genocidal Europe and West after WWII share their land, they could all just live togheter in one big homeland, not Israel nor Palestine, we can even call it 'Isratine' as the Libyan Leader said.
Dr. Khaled M. Batarfi would like to introduce Israel to democracy , swell idea no ? please check him out , lots of common sense and totally looking ourselves in the mirror as Arabs.

2)Stipend Delay Puts Squeeze on Saudis in US

Moral of the story don't put your eggs into one basket , ie I have always been one to advocate never putting your money in US banks . I mean why do Arab governments do it? , if you really must put you money outside then choose a safe small European or Arab or African bank with more liberal views. Then you are inshallah never under a Damocles sword, where if the current president cannot agree with you he pre-emptively freeze your assets as some form of sanction .. if only the Saudis repatriate their property many banks would perhaps collapse , it could be a part of boycotting American foreign policy..

3) the Scarf again, maybe France should be taking a hint from this, A US judge has ruled a Sikh traffic policeman, who was forced to leave his job because he insisted on wearing a turban, should be reinstated. If the sikhs can keep their turban , why can't Muslim women keep their scarves .. talk about double standards again .. I'm really angry because instead of embracing Muslim populations, France has enraged them. It would have been easier to let them wear what they wanted, I'm sure they would have dropped the scarf in the next generation perhaps .. temptations in the west are too much ;) to be resisted.

4) Example of Libyan woman in prominent political role .
I'm writing an article about equality of women in Libya, but this is a brief foray to say that in January 2003, the UN Human Rights Commission elected a Libyan diplomat Mrs Najat Al-Hajjaji’s ( not bad looking either ) as that year’s president..Regardless of the objections to Human Rights records , my point is that she is a Libyan woman, which is a great achievement for Arab women and normal in Libya where women have been granted every chance and opportunity.
Immunity for'coalition forces'

I would like to know the opinion of Iraqis and Americans alike on this subject . Do you really think the troops should be immune from prosecutions after all the abuse they have dished out to Iraqis?

I have noticed that this is a trend with the US, it never signs any treaties, and always wants to be above the law. Whilst I appreciate that each governement should do what is best for its own people, I would also like that this right be granted to all the other countries . For example Serbian troops should get immunity, German troops should have gotten immunity, Chechen fighters should get immunity, etc.. I mean they each want what they believe is best for them. I don't see why do the double standards apply. The Law should apply to everyone . Iraqi troops should have been granted immunity for occupying Kuwait. Palestinian and Israelis armies should also enjoy the same privilege....

In this article the most important bit of info for me is the following about death records in Iraq :
"Meanwhile, Foreign Secretary Jack Straw admitted that no-one knew for sure how many Iraqis had been killed since the coalition's invasion last year.
It is odd that coalition forces have not kept consistent records about estimates of people in Iraq who have been killed

Jack Straw

He claimed it was "extremely difficult" to keep track of those killed, although he knew it was about 10,000 people three months ago.

"In a more perfect world there ought to have been estimates kept," he told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

Mr Straw suggested that the US had not kept note of who had died since the occupation of Iraq began in March last year, but he insisted the British had tried to keep a record. "

Isn't it odd that while every single American and British soldier contractor,mercenary or civilian has a name and when we end being drowned by the western media with data about his/her past , family, kids , high school records and even favourite teddy bear.. Our own dead are not even counted let alone named unless they hold some kind of official or semi-official function such as IGC members or Hamas or Hizbollah or whatever terrorists killed by IDF.

close encounters with some dirt for Bush : How lucky can you get only cuts and grazes instead of breaking his neck ;) God must really be 'talking' to this guy ....
Sunday 23rd May 2004

Just read this , could Rummy be banning the camera phones so that no proof can be released about more abuses ? I love his type of democracy ;)

Thanks ZH again for this article :

May 23, 2004
Mix of Idealism and Résumé-Building Motivates Americans Seeking Jobs in
WASHINGTON, May 22 — Ty Cobb Jr. was fresh from law school and eager to add
to a résumé that already included answering mail in the Virginia
governor's office when he heard through contacts that the Bush
administration was looking to fill civilian jobs in Iraq.
So despite having little foreign experience beyond touring Europe and
studying there for a summer, Mr. Cobb headed to Baghdad. He has since
traveled the country — often packing a 9-millimeter pistol or an AK-47 —
to help educate Iraqis about democracy. He says he is committed to the
United States' mission there, but he is not shy about saying that there
are career calculations behind his adventure: he hopes it will lead to a
government job.
"If they look at a résumé and see that someone picked up and moved to Iraq
for seven months, they will put their faith in you to handle the rigors of
any position," Mr. Cobb said.
Hundreds of Americans have converged on Iraq for all kinds of reasons.
Some consider it rewarding to try to bring democracy to the Iraqis. Some
are in it for the adventure. For some, it is a combination of the
experience, the fervor for supporting the administration's goals and the
sense that it is more exciting than work back home.
Many of these recruits have top-notch skills. But the downside, foreign
policy experts say, is that some lack the proper experience for such
difficult and often unsafe assignments.
"A vast number of people are being recruited who have no qualifications,
no background, and who have never done anything serious in the U.S.," said
Anthony Cordesman, a Middle East expert at the Center for Strategic and
International Studies in Washington.
Daniel Benjamin, who is also at the center working on the postconflict
reconstruction project, said some who go to Iraq were altruistic, some
were opportunistic and others were just doing a job.
"For better or worse, this is the biggest show in town and it's a place to
get your ticket punched," Mr. Benjamin said.
The jobs are filled by the Coalition Provisional Authority, the United
States civilian administration that is running Iraq. Created just over a
year ago, the authority has about 1,160 employees, including more than 325
members of the military and about 150 workers from other countries,
according to authority officials. Some are on loan from government
agencies in Washington, while others have been hired from the outside.
Most recruiting is done through a Defense Department Web page called Sofia
(Support Our Friends in Iraq and Afghanistan), which seeks people
interested in "assisting the fledgling governments in their quest to
become full-fledged democracies."
"People who submit a résumé need to understand that conditions may be
harsh, primitive and hazardous," the Web page says. "Conversely, there may
be few opportunities in life to make such a lasting contribution to world
The authority has received more than 11,000 résumés, and though officials
say political affiliation carries no standing, Republican connections seem
to help some of them stand out.
Mike Hardiman, 43, a former aide to a Republican congressman, was
self-employed as a Washington lobbyist and public relations specialist
when a Pentagon official he would not identify asked him to go to Iraq. As
a lobbyist Mr. Hardiman has handled clients like the American Land Rights
Association, which represents property owners opposed to government land
In Iraq, he is a spokesman for the occupation authority, working with a
portion of the Iraqi government that, among other things, works on land
and infrastructure issues. "Things like traffic circles, sewers and zoning
codes are interesting to me," Mr. Hardiman said.
Mr. Hardiman tells of having to explain to Iraqi reporters that a $10
million beautification effort will not be used to erect statues of
President Bush. The truth in Iraq, he says, is sometimes stranger than
fiction. But he says he believes in what the United States is doing.
"Free speech, an open economy and democracy are the genies that have been
let out of the bottle, and they will not be put back in," he wrote in an
e-mail message. "There will be successes and setbacks, but freedom will
win, I see it firsthand every day."
Rich Galen, 57, is a former press aide to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich
with extensive international experience who runs an online Republican
newsletter called Mullings. He worked in the authority's press office,
helping broadcast reporters from smaller markets.
Mr. Galen, who is now back in the United States, said he got his
invitation from the White House, but he too declined to say who called.
"When they ask you to go, the only answer is `When can I leave?' " he said.
Job descriptions originate on the ground in Iraq, and candidates are found
through the database of applicants that Sofia provides. Occupation
officials say that all candidates are selected to fill specific jobs
according to their credentials, and that many have specific skills that
are in demand, like fluency in Arabic or a deep knowledge of health care,
financial markets and other policy areas.
"Those who are here believe in the mission," said Dan Senor, a spokesman
for the occupation authority. "They want a hand in building democracy in
Most stay from six months to a year, sometimes less, working six-day weeks
and often living in the secure part of Baghdad known as the green zone.
Those who work outside the zone, where many of the ministries are based,
travel heavily guarded. Body armor is common, and many also carry guns.
Mr. Cobb, 28, was searching for a job in Washington last year when he
heard about the positions in Iraq while at a meeting at the Pentagon to
get job advice. His father had served on the National Security Council
staff in the Reagan White House, which helped open doors like this.
The idea immediately appealed to Mr. Cobb, who became interested in a
career in counterterrorism or national security after losing a friend in
the Sept. 11 attacks. Like many who now serve in Iraq, he said he believed
strongly in the war and the efforts that followed. Those who support the
war, he said, have a duty to do what they can.
"The whole reason I'm here is that I believe it is part of an effort to
make America a more secure place," Mr. Cobb said. "That seems to be the
general feeling people have."
Though conditions in the green zone may be safer than those outside it,
many of those interviewed said their routine in Iraq was a radical
departure from the lives they had left back home as students, political
consultants or employees of government agencies.
Many spend their days in or around Saddam Hussein's massive palace, which
now serves as headquarters for the occupation authority. Meals are eaten
in a cafeteria there. Quarters for those who arrive are often large,
communal rooms packed with dozens of workers .
On their first night in Baghdad many have bunked in what is known as the
chapel, which several workers described as a religious chamber known for
its mural of missiles being launched. Later, they move to four-person
trailers that are placed all over the green zone, each surrounded by a
wall of sandbags.
War stories are common. Many workers interviewed told of being awakened by
explosions, and of rocket and mortar attacks that missed them by only a
few hundred feet. Even when there is a break in the violence, workers
think about the friends who have been killed or wounded. Though only two
Americans on the occupation staff have been killed, according to the
Pentagon, many workers in Iraq know contractors, locals and workers from
other countries who have been victims of the violence. Then there are
stories like the decapitation of Nicholas Berg, a contractor, which
present the danger in the starkest terms.
"Sometimes I feel like this is an evil place, because people are doing
terrible things to each other," said Elizabeth Cote, 27, a medical student
on leave from Harvard University to work on health care policy and
volunteer in a combat hospital. "But it may be the most positive
experience in my life. There are examples of kindness and people putting
their life on the line to do things."
Still, tough conditions have not stopped people from taking these jobs.
Iraq offers opportunities to some that they cannot get elsewhere.
Jacques Myers, 48, was a civilian firefighter at a military base in
Wisconsin who came to train Iraqis. Two weeks after his arrival, his boss
left and Mr. Myers was placed in charge of advising the country's 8,400
firefighters, a force comparable to the fire department of a major
American city.
"It's something I'd never be able to do stateside," he said. "I control
$200 million worth of equipment."
Van Smith, 23, was at lunch one day when he ran into a college friend and
the friend's father, Steve Casteel, a senior American adviser to Iraq's
Interior Ministry. They started talking about Iraq.
Mr. Smith was working at his first job after college, as director of
public outreach at the College of William and Mary in Virginia, his alma
mater. He happened to be reading a biography of Winston Churchill at the
"I was at the chapter where we were the same age and he was having life
adventure after life adventure," he said. "I was saying I wish I had a
chance to be involved in something international and in war, I wish I had
a chance to make a difference in a foreign place."
He had a résumé to Mr. Casteel before the day ended.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

Saturday, May 22, 2004

If someone has a suggestion or tip please help as some readers said that they could not leave comments . I enabled the set up to 'anyone' .. so have no idea what happened . But I appreciate all your efforts in reaching me and of course thanks to Blogger for this easy to use template.
Comments Section

By popular demand I've just enabled the comments section, I reserve the right to disable it anytime it turns to people bashing and other 'bad' conduct..

Don't forget to check the links in the post below and the Green Card article.

some Libyan sites and other links:

My friend the 'Tripoli Girl' is an avid collector of Libyan websites , I have her to thank for these. If you are a music fan you can listen to Libyan music here for my Arab speaking readers there is the Libyan Corner with lots of interesting forums ..

Regarding the article I posted earlier today Green Card I would like to thank ZH for forwarding it . THANK YOU :)

It has reminded me of a personal story which I would like to share with you .. if I can finish it today I'll post it , if not then you'll have to bear with me ..

I would like to recommend this reader who blogs from Bahrain , Michael is an Irish-American expatriate living in Manama; his Journal is a wonderful read .

It seems my post about Hijab of February 24th is keeping many people interested ( thank you Sisu ) and for Gulf Reporter who mentions me as and occasionally insomniac woman ;) . Several readers asked for comments and I promise to write the sequel in addition to the veil situation in Libya.

Had no idea my blog was Googlable here

The article on operation eldorado canyon has attracted a lot of talk including this one courtesy of Wog Blog .

Someone sent me the following article by email, I'm too lazy to look up the link so it will have to be copy-paste .. enjoy !

Green-Card Blues for America's Image
By Tom Carver
Thursday, May 20, 2004; Page A29

Next week my father will be 90. Born in that final Edwardian summer of 1914, he
fought throughout World War II, escaped from prison camp and was wounded on the
beaches of Normandy.
Five of his six children will gather in Scotland with numerous grandchildren to
celebrate his birthday. I, his youngest son, will not be able to attend because
the Department of Homeland Security has removed my freedom to travel.
Or to be absolutely accurate, I am free to go. But, if I do, I will not be
allowed to return to my wife and children here in Washington. That's one of
those choices that is not a choice at all.
Like 700,000 others, I am stuck in green-card hell.
Since Sept. 11, 2001, the average waiting time for a green card has ballooned
from 18 months to nearly three years. It's understandable that the Bush
administration needs to do additional background checks on applicants, but in
the process it is making the lives of green-card applicants a misery. More
important, it's destroying a valuable opportunity to restore America's battered
reputation abroad.
People who apply for green cards do so because they support the values of the
United States and want to participate more fully in U.S. society. With a green
card, they can travel back to their home countries. There they talk about the
freedom and opportunities they have in America. They spread the gospel of the
American dream among relatives and friends.
In the war of ideas that the administration is so fond of talking about, there
are few better foot soldiers than green-card holders. Yet since Sept. 11,
instead of encouraging those who aspire to green cards, the Department of
Homeland Security has treated applicants with greater and greater suspicion.
While you wait the three years for the bureaucratic mills to grind through your
application, you need a document called an "advanced parole" to travel. Like a
parole from jail, an advanced parole is a small sheaf of papers adorned with
stamps and circuitous language that wouldn't have looked out of place in the
pouch of an 18th-century Venetian nobleman. I was warned that if I lost mine, I
would not be issued a replacement. Why not? In this computer age, no document,
certainly not one as mundane as this, is irreplaceable.
A while ago, I tried to get my advanced parole renewed. When it failed to
materialize in the mail, I took my place at 5 a.m. in a long line outside the
local office of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (formerly known as
the Immigration and Naturalization Service).
After three hours of waiting, I was finally summoned to a counter. The man
behind the glass informed me that my application was being handled by the CIS
office in Vermont. They could do nothing to help me in this office, he said. I
asked for the phone number of the Vermont office. There is no publicly available
number. I asked for the address. I would happily fly to Vermont if it meant I
could see my father. "They don't allow visitors," said the man. My only resort
was to send an appeal to an anonymous fax number.
The next day, my fax machine spat out the reply:
"Your request for an expedited Advanced Parole has been rejected."
And that's where I sit today.
That sort of Kafkaesque behavior is more worthy of some former Soviet satellite
than a country that supposedly ranks customer service just below godliness. The
CIS gets away with it because its clients are not Americans. If you are
American, you never have to enter this world.
I realize that a father's 90th birthday is not the most urgent reason for
travel. But why should I have to give any reason for traveling? I have done
nothing wrong. Before I entered this bureaucratic labyrinth, I was free to come
and go as I wished.
There will always be people willing to freeze in the pre-dawn chill outside a
CIS office and be cold-shouldered by the bureaucrats inside, because however
badly the Department of Homeland Security treats them, it can never be as bad as
the persecution and the nightmares that they left behind.
But a lot of other applicants -- the educated and the most productive -- may
well decide they've had enough. You can hardly blame them. Why should they
endure such a degrading application process when there are many other countries
that would welcome their talents?
To regain the respect of the world, the United States needs to demonstrate that
it still possesses those qualities people have always admired: openness,
freedom, tolerance. Nearly everyone in this land is the descendant of
immigrants. Treating would-be immigrants of today as suspects is not going to
help America win the war of ideas.
The writer is a foreign correspondent based in Washington. His e-mail address is He will be online today at noon at to discuss immigrant freedom in America.
© 2004 The Washington Post Company

Monday, May 17, 2004

Another joke....

A man is taking a walk in Central park in New York. Suddenly he
sees a little girl being attacked by a pit bull dog. He runs over
and starts fighting with the dog. He succeeds in killing the dog
and saving the girl's life. A policeman who was watching the
scene walks over and says:

"You are a hero, tomorrow you can read it in all the newspapers:

"Brave New Yorker saves the life of little girl"

The man says: -! "But I am not a New Yorker!"

"Oh then it will say in newspapers in the morning:

"Brave American saves life of little girl'" - the policeman answers.

"But I am not an American!" - says the man.

"Oh, what are you then? "

The brave man says: - "I am a Pakistani!"

The next day the newspapers say:

"Islamic extremist kills innocent American dog".

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Acts of barbarism

An uncessary horrible act , the beheading of Nick Berg an American, occured recently at the hands of alleged Zarqawi people. Unfortunately this does not promote peace and understanding between people and only serves to inflame minds. A terrible faux pas for whatever agenda. That was an equally horrible act to the Abu Ghraib shenanigans. I would like to offer my deepest condolences to Nick's family. May his soul rest in peace. Amen

On the other hand in my last post of May the 1st, I said that I did not believe that the American soldiers would be punished for their disgusting treatment of Iraqi POWS. However, I'm glad to note that worldwide condemnation, pressure from American people themselves and from honest armed forces individuals in the US, has led to an inquiry and even Rumsfield was questioned. I am thankful that it seems some would be courtmartialled and others dealt with accordingly.This does not erase the ugly degrading images but it is a very positive step towards healing and more than what I thought would happen.

I did say earlier that I was never shocked that soldiers had tortured prisoners. This is expected in any prison; it happens/happened even in America let alone in Iraq -a warzone where everything is possible in the name of the 'war on terrorims'. I will say this once more, I absolutely do not blame or criticise them for acting this way, this is a logical result of the war. When you go to war you expect, blood , pain and death on both sides , the winner is the one who survives to tell about it! But my criticism was that America kept talking about how it is upholding all the greatest demcocratic moral values and how its military/navy etc.. were de best of the best. So one did not expect this behaviour from them, hence the shock ( not the act per se). I'm actually sorry for these soldiers who have been caught out and will pay the price in lieu of their commanding officers whom I wish were the ones to be court martialled, reprimanded, or whatever applicable.

Please wait for my 'road map' for the ME !

Saturday, May 01, 2004

"That's not the way we do things in America. I didn't like it one bit." says Bush
do you think the abused Iraqi prisoners will be vindicated ? not according to this , they already found an excuse for them 'they did not know the Geneva Rules' ha ha ha


After I finished my earlier post about MILUD, I thought I'd check the news, for once that I did not watch the news or go online all Friday..Oh my God, now I know why my friends were texting me to aks if I'd seen THOSE pictures, I thought they were talking about the pictures of humilation posted on Raed 's site a couple of days ago here and here , but compared to these they seemed like a joke !

Shall I say I'm angry ? I'm beyond that . I wonder how they will spin this now ? I mean the latest excuses I heard and read on many forums and in many papers ( after the WMD search was a fiasco and all the other stupid reasons for invading Iraq) were that the Americans wanted to liberate the Iraqis from a mass murderer and from the state sponsored rape rooms , but compared to what Americans are doing it looks like Saddam could still learn a few things. After today I hope no American dares to utter one more time that he/she is there to get rid of the rape rooms.

However, I'm wondering why is the world shocked , I'm not , I expected this, these are the rules of war ( I'm not talking about the Geneva convention here nor the correct rules of engagement) , and in war the army with the most guns gets to do pretty much what it likes who is to stop it , certainly not a defenseless prisoner, but maybe just maybe a suicide bomber ?!?

Still I said so before the USA empire is at it summit now, so they will write the rules since they are above the law...getting a written reprimand, hell no! the perpetrators should all get a purple heart or whatever equivalent for showing true bravery and extreme courage and gallantry in a hostile region in additon to a promotion! This is war folks what did you expect , fair and democratic treatment from Uncle Sam ? that only happens in fairytales.

In this very real world , we make do with what we have and we try to survive. But I wish I had not clicked on the news , now my Milud is definetely ruined !
Prophet's Birthday

Today in Libya the Islamic Calendar is 12th Rabi3 alawal , which is Prophet Mohamed's Birthday. Muslims celebrate this date in many parts of the world as it is important. We call it Almawled Alnabawi in Arabic, or Milud in the Libyan vernacular. Usually this occasion is commemorated by holding Koran reading vigils at home and at the mosque, and lighting candles at home. However many Arabic and Islamic states have their differing traditions in this regard, and I will just talk briefly about Libya.

In Libya the eve of the birthday is the 'fun' date, I don't know when exactly did this 'tradition' start but usually teenagers, kids and young people in general have added a twist to the celebrations by playing with all sorts of fireworks. Whilst fireworks are enjoyable for a short period, I could never stop jumping im fright each time I hear the sound. For this all important feast, you will find almost a month in advance kids stocking up on 'ammunition', from crackers , colour fireworks, chinese models, small rockets , and the ones which look like timy dynamite pieces and make really loud boooms! The latter are pretty dangerous as people can loose an eye, get burnt or injured easily. In fact come this season and along with the firecrackers you will hear ambulances rushing to the various hospitals and especially the Hospital for Burns and Plastic Surgery. Every season we have a lot of tragic accidents. Fireworks are illegal, yet people are selling/buying them. The really stupid ones think it is hilarious to through them at the girls on their way home from school, or through the window of a car passing by or which has stopped at a traffic light - try imagining the confusion of driving and trying to reach for that explosive device- makes for a lot of traffic accidents. Another 'bright' idea is to make a bonfire with these crakers and they add metal cans and glass bottles.. now this is way sadistic not to mention seriously dangerous. In the end for those who survive that night on the street, they would have enjoyed themselves thoroughly ( I personnaly don't like it) . It looks and sounds like the 4th of July celebrations in the US, but less regulated and with no safety taken into consideration.

The following day, the Milud is a day off - YES , we usually wake up to the lovely smell of the Asida, a special dough which you eat with olive oil and date syrup. Delicious mixture, you can find the recipe in one of my earlier posts (please scroll below). The whole family gathers around a large napkin ( there are meals which are simply best eaten on the floor like on a picnic - no matter what you think), and we eat it by hand making small pellets and dipping them in the oil and syrup 'sauce' . It is wonderful a real treat. In fact in a couple of hours time, the family will wake up and we shall go to granpa's house where my aunts would have prepared Asida for all the family - well we'll be at least about 25 people .. look forward to it lots of fun with the cousins, catch up on gossip etc.. but really it is simply a social gathering and a family thingy. In Arab cultures, and I think especially in Libya, families and social functions are still very very important.

So this is the Milud, some pray, some play but we always eat a hearty meal!
I better go and catch some sleep before the wee hours.

signing off ;)
PS please excuse typing or spelling errors it's 4:00 am here and I'm practically asleep on my laptop.