Saturday, April 30, 2005

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

A silent walk and a surprising scoop

Today, I decided to play tourist in the Medina (old city), to sail un-chartered routes farther than the shops I was used to visiting, to go into side streets and alleys where people actually lived and to explore the realms of the ‘white city’ in reference to the words of a 14th century traveler al Tegani who said “ [..] when we approached Tripoli, the brilliant whiteness of the city with reflection of the sun nearly blinded us, therefore I realized why it is called Albayda" ( the white one) . So walking slowly and peacefully, leaving behind the bustle of the shopping area, I felt transported to another time, despite the obvious lack of luster and the decrepitude of many of the buildings. Whatever had befallen it , the city still commands an unmistakable presence. Its history is very complex dating to pre-Islamic times. The Medina has often been rebuilt and restored, depending on the vagaries of war and the conquering armies. However, since 1985 the ‘Project for the organization and administration of the old city of Tripoli’ was launched and funds allocated accordingly. It had 3 main objectives ( very briefly).

-Restoration of archeological monuments and other buildings in Medina
-Modernizing it’s infrastructure .
-Cultural revival programmes

In the Ramadan of 1985 , I attended with my father one of those revival shows, in the old city. As we walked in , it was fantastic and eerie to see male and female and children of ancient times walking, living, working, playing in its streets. I felt I had just come out of the Time Machine. A full historical play live in its natural setting and costumes , complete with a battle and soldiers. Oh I loved every minute . It is a tribute to the success of that idea and the cast people, that 20 years later I am still impressed and it is stamped vividly in my memory. If those people are reading I would like to say thank you because you have fuelled my dreams and my curiousity about our wonderful past.

As for the other aspects of the project, work has been slow and sometimes snail like but it has been steady, this is a major endeavour and I wish to see it done correctly. I look forward to obtaining the 3 booklets published in this regard. I’ll have to check where I can find them.
So to get back to my walk in Medina, this time I had a digital camera and I was not going to miss anything. Ahmad Basha Garamally mosque, the Clock Tower ( see the purple photo here) , the various Suqs, Al Naga mosque , the Garamally house, Alzahir hotel, the Darghut Hamam, Santa Maria Church , the French Consulate, Marcus Aurelius Arch, the British Consulate, The Jewish school – formerly known as Dar Salat al-Sarusi which has been restored 1990-94 and filled with historical documents and audios etc… and it is now called the House of Ahmed Al-Naib for Historical Information. As I left Marcus’arch on my right and walked up the hill I got lost in the streets and ended up to my surprise in front of a deserted synagogue. I’m not sure this was the one which had been restored. It was quite a big monument. And it looked like some restoration work was done on the outside. I knew we had some synagogues in Tripoli I just never knew where on the map.. so coming across one just like this without even looking was strange. It was surrounded by houses and people were going on their daily lives in their city. I started to shoot some photos a bit apprehensively to be honest, I wasn’t sure of the neighbour’s reaction and also there are NO tourists in that area at all. To my surprise one of the residents came over to explain to me in haltering English ( he thought I was a foreigner) and was pointing at some interesting angles. I probably have a photographic scoop ( how modest). The building needs a lot of work but I can see it was a majestic place. You can use my photos but kindly let me know and link back to me. I'll put a link to the other photos of the city as soon as I have them up. This is just a trailer ;).

Synagogue -Tripoli

inside view

An interesting guidebook is by Mariam Salama, a Libyan young woman who has been part of the restoration project. If I recall well she is a historian or archeologist, but she also works as a professional tourist guide and was the first female Libyan tourist guide. Maybe if Michael Totten had contacted her he would have had a more positive outlook of Libya - see my post here.

Mariam Salama- guidebook

Monday, April 25, 2005

An over zealous policeman

Just my luck , first week back in Tripoli and I get a fine for talking on the cellphone and driving.
It's a whoopping 500 LD, that's more than the salary of two civil servants ( government employees). It's good he did not confiscate my car too . Well you know what? I'll just risk driving without my permit for a while I can't get unluckier than that now can I ?

I knew I should have listened to my friend and batted my eyelashes , giggled and smiled stupidly for once. Acting serious, professional and contrite does not work in this type of situation.
So it's a dilemna: your money or your reputation? because this guy is going to talk about you to his gang in the evening ...
What would you do in my place ?
oh well C'est la vie !

Friday, April 22, 2005


Not content with the Tagamotchi (virtual -pet) one time many had those key chain egg shaped thingys , now we have the Neopets (cyber-pets) - someody tell me what 's the difference (?) Well you choose one and you proceed to care for it online , you can go shopping , play games and tons of other stuff . There is even a neopet quiz , so me being a sucker for quizzes LOL .
Here you go 'Which neopet are you?' I'm Bruce ( no idea if that's good or not anyone?)

If I were a Neopet... I'd be a Bruce!

The Bruces love competition and they also love to dance.

You will often see them having major dance-offs in the Cold Snow Dance Area of Happy Valley. The last Bruce standing wins.
Which Neopet are you?
Which Neopet are you? Visit to find out

hmmm 'loves to dance ' , was discussing belly dancing with some friends can email me about that ballash fadayeh in the cyberspace okay ;)
Another Libyan blog ---UPDATED UPDATED

Yes slowly but surely they are multiplying it seems. Go meet Alsharif at Libya our home . So far he only has one post . He reminds me of someone from the blogosphere but I just can't remmember who..

Update 26-4-05 yes more Libya blogs

You definitely want to check this Libyan blog as well, Fatima a mother of seven lives in the US and visits back to Libya with her family quite regularly, she has some lovely photos of Libyan life. Your chance to see how we really are ...sort of breaking the ice , she's already dreading driving in Tripoli . I think she may have a point there. But that's for another post.

I may have to do something about reorganising those links again, aaah the hard life we bloggers live.
Anyway WELCOME Fatima show us your Libya! @ Fatimaslibya

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mawled Alnabawi or Prophet's Birthday

Happy Mawled Nabawi to you all. Here is my humble explanation about it last year.

For the Libyans who are reading this don't burn your fingers bahi ?
For the computer geek in you ;)

I stumbled onto this mine of information blog while looking for something else; it's an eye opener.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Muslim World Outreach strategy

....... or how to reach the hearts and minds. I stumbled upon this article and though it was a daunting 10 pages please go read here . Highly recommended.

To wet your appetite, some excerpts:

The White House has approved a classified new strategy, dubbed Muslim World Outreach, that for the first time states that the United States has a national security interest in influencing what happens within Islam.

Intelligence operatives have set up bogus jihad websites and targeted the Arab news media ....

What a relief... not all the Jihadi websites are real he he he ..

Another strategy being pursued is to make peace with radical Muslim figures who eschew violence. At the top of the list: the Muslim Brotherhood, the pre-eminent Islamist society, founded in 1928 and now with tens of thousands of followers worldwide. Many brotherhood members, particularly in Egypt and Jordan, are at serious odds with al Qaeda. "I can guarantee that if you go to some of the unlikely points of contact in the Islamic world, you will find greater reception than you thought," says Milt Bearden, whose 30-year CIA career included long service in Muslim societies. "The Muslim Brotherhood is probably more a part of the solution than it is a part of the problem." Indeed, sources say U.S. intelligence officers have been meeting not only with the Muslim Brotherhood but also with members of the Deobandi sect in Pakistan, whose fundamentalism schooled the Taliban and inspired an army of al Qaeda followers.

We are seeing this with mellowing towards Hizbullah ( Lebanon) and Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt).

In crafting their strategy, U.S. officials are taking pages from the Cold War playbook of divide and conquer. One of the era's great successes was how Washington helped break off moderate socialists from hard-core Communists overseas. "That's how we're thinking. . . . It's something we talk about all the time," says Peter Rodman, a longtime aide to Henry Kissinger and now the Pentagon's assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs. "In those days, it was covert. Now, it's more open.

Divide & conquer ? so what's new ..

The lesson Washington needs to learn, Harrison says, goes back to the Cold War--that the world matters and America needs to stay engaged. "You never declare victory," she warns. "You do not declare that it's the end of history and go home. The job is to continue pushing the boulder up and up, to keep investing, keep connecting."

Highlander's advice : when you honestly invest in a relationship without patronising it pays off in the end.

What do you think ?

Sunday, April 17, 2005

"From God we come and unto him we return"
"Eart to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust"

It is a small world indeed, and in Libya it is even smaller...To continue with my list of 'depressing posts' as a friend remarked yesterday, I'm sad to say that a fellow cousin of mine died on the operating table in Tunis. Yes we know by now that the Health Sector is in shambles since the sanctions and still has not recovered; and people must travel abroad for such things as a simple heart bypass surgery etc.. Well the weird part was that a friend of mine was at the funeral today and he emailed me to say that he met my family there. Of course he would, we are still tribal people and funerals are even more important than weddings in Libya. Everybody to the last remote cousin, neighbour, friend and colleague is going to show up. What is even weirder is that last time I visited at their house he seemed so frail to me and I hugged him to say goodbye - this is a no-no in Libya- even though he is an old man and virtually like an uncle to me. I hate it when my premonitory sense kicks in leaves nothing but pain. I am really saddened at the passing away of this relative as he was a gentleman and lively person who knew me since I was in my diapers literally...My projected trip to Tripoli next week will not be a happy occasion I guess. God bless his soul. Allah yirhamu !

Friday, April 15, 2005

In memoriam of all those killed by US warplanes - RIP -Amen.

Foreign and Libyan victims 1986

Last year I posted about my experience of being bombed , "April is forever linked in my memory to terror [..] Have you ever been in a disaster area, just before something terrible is about to take place? If you have then you would know what I’m talking about, this sense of total silence, impending doom, emptiness inside and all your body hair standing up". See My night of terror for the whole details. "Those 12 flights of stairs seemed interminable to me that night, among the cries, screams .. these people have never even had a fire drill , let alone prepare for an air strike ! "

It seems I'm not the only one who is still affected by that memorable night. Here is an eloquent testimonial by Suhail Shafi, an Indian doctor who was born and partly -raised in Libya and currently working in Malta. His strategy was to repress the memory because he was so shocked as a child. When I read his rendering I realised that Suhail lived about 1km away from my home ! "I heard a girl's voice that betrayed a gasp of horror, and I remember the four of us - my parents, my sister and myself - running out into the dark corridor outside our flat. We were rushing down the stairs and I remember my little feet being pierced by pieces of glass that came from the windows which had been shattered by the blast of American missiles that had landed in the neighbourhood behind us." Check his essay I was there when the Americans bombed, courtesy of Shireen from red_enclave, who was probably also there at that time.

We were just terrified kids, there is nowhere to hide in Tripoli in case of an ai-raid ( very few building had basements), there was some kind of old bomb shelter from WWII that the Italian occupation used but it had been sealed we heard decades ago and no body knew the location of it's doors. So what is my point today? Well the smart bombs missed their targets in 1986 and they are still missing them in 2005 .

Here is a list of some of the countries the US has bombed since end of WWII, I've updated it a bit:
China 1945-46, Korea 1950-53, China 1950-53, Guatemala 1954, Indonesia 1958, Cuba 1959-60, Guatemala 1960, Belgian Congo 1964, Guatemala 1964, Dominican Republic 1965-66, Peru 1965, Laos 1964-73, Vietnam 1961-73, Cambodia 1969-70, Guatemala 1967-69, Lebanon 1982-84, Grenada 1983-84, , El Salvador 1981-92, Nicaragua 1981-90, Libya 1986, Iran 1987-88, Libya 1989, Panama 1989-90, Iraq 1991-2002, Kuwait 1991, Somalia 1992-94, Croatia 1994 (of Serbs at Krajina), Bosnia 1995, Iran 1998 (airliner) Sudan1998, Afghanistan 1998,Yugoslavia 1999, Afghanistan 2001-2002, Iraq 2003-present.

I bet you many of us have forgotten why they were bombed?
Possible new targets are : Iran, Syria ....

The outward goals of this policy of bombing Libya were never realised, the almost sanitized way the US viewers have seen it on TV /media, does not record the destruction and the pain and the pent up feelings of helplessness.

President Reagan and aides watching live.

We do count, the dead have a name, all our dead are dear to us be they in Sudan, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Afghanistan , Libya or all the others places I have not named..we are all non-combattants , and we make the bulk of the victims. Please stop massacring us. Let us find peaceful civilised solutions to your security issues, maybe we can help you with that? come to us with your concerns not with arrogance but in an ordinary way..maybe we have concerns of our own we wish to discuss? We know you have the might, but we have just the same right to live and die in peace, to live in harmony we both have to make those staggering steps towards each others. Pride has nothing to do with it, only survival of our humanity and our soul.

So it was a year ago since I wrote my earlier post, what do you think has changed, have we, you and I changed as human beings in our outlook? Do you have any ideas on how to prevent further killing?

I didn't have a comment section then, and I can't post all the emails I received, but this year , if any of you reading this have been in Libya in April 1986 , or know someone who was, or have been bombed and lived to tell the story share with us your feelings and experiences. I'm sure it will help us exorcise the memory.

After you read this, please observe a one minute silence and a prayer in tribute to all the innocent dead in the World. Amen.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Update on case 44/1999 : The Bulgarian medics

I recently wrote about the case of alleged/suspected HIV contamination of Libyan children by some foreign health workers in Libya. See here . Well while we are awaiting the trial and verdict by the Supreme Court in late May below is the latest on this affair.

Libya is to impose a trade and investment embargo on Bulgaria for what it calls Sofia's failure to take responsibility [...] "The boycott decision was also prompted by the Bulgarian government's campaign to tarnish Libya's image" .

If this is true, then it is an escalation, at least it shows that other countries can impose embargos as well and it may I hope prompt Bulgaria to finally get on and act and face up to the situation and stop lobbying here and there from the EU & US. If they are innocent, they will walk out, if they are not they will be punished, and if a political settlement is reached well that happens too, look at all the court cases in the West. The accused have in my opinion obtained the most due process in Libya ever. Why does not the UN order an investigation into this just like the Hariri bombing, don't Libyan kids count ? They are suffering and 40+ have died so far. It is not only devastated families, it is lost childhood, pain, loneliness and tragic death.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Jedi Quiz

Found this quiz over at Sandmonkey's blog( thanks ;) ), took it for laugh's, if you have time to waste and are curious to know what type of Jedi you are try it out .

:: how jedi are you? ::

Sunday, April 10, 2005

R.I.P. John Paul II

First of all I would like to convey my deepest condolences to the Christian World in general and Catholics in particular. This post is not meant to be offensive but only to foster constructive comments if possible.

We Arabs love to talk politics and world events, and nowadays you can't help escaping that, so usually in a conversation with my friends and peers of all faiths and colours whatever their interests they know me so well now that we end up with a lecture on the Middle-East from me ( yes I bore them to death :) ) , and other issues.
So to get back to the story , we were comfortably sipping our cappucinos, teas and various hot or cold drinks when I was in London last time, and the Pope was brought into the discussion. My immediate input was that the Pope and Prince Rainier of Monaco were going to die soon and probably postpone Charles-Camilla wedding and I joked (I know.. I know poor taste) that they might feel that this would be a bad omen. Little did I know how imminent was his death and how almost true my prediction would come. However, the media had recently started to cover the Pope's increasing poor health ( more than usual and in addition to his Parkinsonism etc..) and his subsequent hospitalisation started to surface last month. Then following his brief appearances whereby he obviously looked unwell, that's when I realised he was probably dying. The confirmation of this came when the speakers from the Vatican started giving statements about his health which were not really enlightening. For me this meant he was dead and they were just ordering the house before informing the world. The Vatican is a very powerful organisation, but that is not the subject of this post.
Back in February when I read this piece of news , about the death of the last witness at Fatima it occured to me that she was the last one to protect the Pope's life on this earth. Kind of a thread, don't ask me why (metaphysical bullshit you may call it), that's what I felt then, because her visions of the Virgin Mary simulatneously with the two other children family members in 1917 allegedly being prophetic in nature and the third secret of Fatima was purported to refer to the Pope's assasinatin attempt in 1981. So when she died, the thread was broken.

Though we have been taught not to speak ill of the death, it would be unfair to say that Pope John Paull II was perfect, he was human after all and humans make mistake despite his mea culpas, the following criticsims are addressed at him, especially that of destroying thousands of lives to AIDS because of his views re. condoms being a sin.

Honestly I think Pope John Paul II had a lot of good ideas and made many excellent moves throughout his papacy especially his efforts to bridge religious divides, and apologies on several occasions. He was definetely charismatic, and his travels to the Middle-East and the land of the Bible will be remembered by all of us; check the tributes to the Pope here : "From God we come and to him we return. Even though I am a Muslim .." .
The Arab bloggers have also NOT been silent here are some links : The Damascene Blog, Speaker's Corner from whom I learned that there a total of seven popes from Syria (hat tip Dina) , Long nights of a lost knight , the Egyptian Eye (in French), Schlonkom Bakazay, and a long list of others , but you can follow the links on the these various Arab blogs and they would lead you not only to Iraqi blogs ( I know they are extremely popular), but also, to Tunisian, Moroccan, Sudanese, Syrian, Yemeni and lots more.
My favourite on the subject of todays post -which if you remember is the late John Paul II, is on a very interesting blog - discovered by chance whilst browsing MaGdee's blog ( I have plenty of free time on my hands it seems ;) ). Mohamed of From Cairo with Love, has given a space to Twosret , a dedicated commentator on many Arab/Egyptian blogs ( yes you want her on your side as Magdee once said), to voice her opinion and advice on Arab PR handling ( thanks for a brave article to both of them) . I won't tell you more go read it yourself!

In conclusion the Arab media has covered the Pontiff's funeral extensively even here in Libya where the only Chritians population consists of foreign guests and visitors. Whatever John Paul's legacy is, it was impossible not to shed a tear watching all those pilgrims in Rome during the past week to finally reach his resting abode at St. Peter's Crypt .

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Case 44/1999: The story of the Bulgarian medics who spread AIDS in a children’s hospital in Libya

Back in 1998, while investigating an outbreak of AIDS at the El-Fateh Children’s hospital in Benghazi –Libya, nineteen Bulgarians […] along with foreign and local workers were detained for questioning. Most were later released except for five nurses and an anesthetist all from Bulgaria in addition to a Palestinian doctor who were arrested for allegedly intentionally giving HIV contaminated blood to approximately 400 Libyan kids. What the international news media failed to stress on is that eight Libyans have also been charged in conjunction with this case. The Bulgarians, Palestinian and the Libyans all went on trial on February 7th 2000, on charges of deliberately injecting the children with contaminated blood as part of an experiment. Their trial has been an on and off thing since then. The Libyan prosecutors had demanded the death penalty.
I’m not going to discuss the Libyan health workers here because there was no outcry in the international community about their fate, and they have been out on bail since 2001. So they will be brought in the story when and if relevant.

But the case was thrown out of the Special Court in 2002 for lack of evidence to a security undermining threat, and the defendants were referred to a criminal court. Moreover, Professor Montagnier (The French doctor who first isolated the HIV virus) and Italian Aids scholar Vittorio Collizzi have studied the case, following a Bulgarian request for an independent international assessment. So Prof Montaignier was - to be fair to the Libyan courts - allowed to present his report in which he concluded that the AIDS outbreak was due most probably to negligence &/or bad hospital conditions.

On 6th May 2004, the court sentenced the anesthetist to four years in prison and he was going to be extradited to Bulgaria, but he currently still is serving his sentence at the Bulgarian embassy in Tripoli. The Libyan medics were acquitted, while the five Bulgarian nurses and the Palestinian doctor were sentenced to death by firing squad. It must be noted that two of the nurses say that their confessions have been obtained under torture, but at the same time HIV infected plasma bags were allegedly found in their compounds. Anyway the alleged torturers are also to be tried .

The problem is the following there has been TOO much lobbying going on from the Bulgarian president and authorities and famous personalities and anyone who thinks he/she can gain from this exposure. Other lobbyist were from the EU, from Human Rights activists, the UN and even from President Bush which has politicized the case too much, tying their release with good relationship with Libya and even open blackmail by the West.

Since 1998, 47 of the children have died, that’s about 9% of the total infected. The Palestinian doctor has received a honourary Bulgarian citizenship and he and the nurses are appealing the death sentence. The case has been taken to the Supreme Court now and we shall see what happens. A compromise could have been reached if Bulgaria had agreed to compensate the Libyan families, and the EU had agreed to help in the treatment of the surviving kids (but the EU price tag was their release). And Bulgaria has refused as this is an election year and they don’t want to be seen to accept responsibility.

Because of all its lobbying and political pressure Bulgaria has managed to make a big political issue about a malpractice crime and may have alienated many people in Libya who would have otherwise been more sympathetic . The point I’m trying to make is that all these lobbyist and would be interceding people are not saying there has been mistrial or that the Libyan court is unfair and we have to bring them to justice again. I can accept that. No they are asking simply to have the Bulgarians released, presumably innocent and we will forget what happened. But hey wait a minute that’s not how things work! If Bulgarian authorities arrest a Libyan criminal, they will not release him/her just like this; they will try him/her in court and try to prove his guilt/innocence. I’m not good on international law but that is basically it , maybe if there are some other rules the Libyan may be extradited home to serve the remaining sentence years later , just like the Turkish guy who attempted to kill the late Pope , he served 20 years in Italy then was sent home to serve the rest of his sentence. Nope this is not what the Bulgarians and the rest of the Western world it seems want, what they want is simply for Libya to let the nurses go because this would be in its interest, it will open trade doors it will prove its respectability in their eyes, it will improve its Human rights record WOW is that it. That is what I call horse-trading. Everybody assumes that they are innocent, I don’t know if they are or not but I don’t like this attitude if it was a Pakistani nurse in Britain nobody would have moved an inch for her. What if the Bulgarians were not innocent? Let the court decide and stop interfering, try and help the court as much as possible and stop making it as if their lives were more valuable than others.

The Libyans see that the Western world only cares about these Bulgarian nurses and not about the fate of the Libyan kids (even the NY times noticed this) - after all until proven innocent they are still criminals or at least guilty of negligence or malpractice and that is a possibility even the Bulgarian authorities have acknowledged (negligence). The point is that even with negligence you can’t say ‘sorry I won’t do this again, I made a mistake!’ . This is not a wrong diagnosis or even a wrongly amputated leg, this is AIDS for which as far as I know there is NO CURE or vaccine yet, in addition to it being a very stigmatizing disease in any country- let alone in a Muslim country which lives by traditional ways. The only thing which is not ostracizing these victims (more than usual) is the fact that they are innocent children who could not have contracted this disease by the usual high profile ‘disgusting’ ( sorry no offense to anyone intended) means. But can you imagine their life, how will it be? They will eventually die in pain, because of lack of knowledge they won’t be able to play with other children normally for fear of being contagious, what about when they become teenagers? They will never be able to taste those first love pangs and no one will certainly wish to be married to them, first because of fear of contracting the disease even by practicing safe sex and second because when starting a family in Libya it means you want children of your own which would be impossible due to the high risk of virus transfer from mother to child. No body has thought about these children and their psychological wellbeing (let alone health) where is the UN, the EU, Bush or Amnesty International?

The international community has only focused on saving 5 European nurses who may be languishing in a Libyan prison. these prisoners get Christmas presents and family visits, they enjoy better conditions than the Libyan inmates and had a block specially built for them wow ! to which they were recently transferred , and I read somewhere but can't find the link anymore that they asked for air-conditioners because they could not stand the heat ! Hello this is a prison not a 5 star hotel and they still complain it’s cramped.

I would like to take this opportunity to say that in Libya we have thousands of foreign guest workers in the health sector for whom I am grateful as they make up the deficit. These foreigners are mainly Bulgarian and ex-Yugoslavian and from other Balkan states in addition to Philippinos and some Indians and Pakistanis. They enjoy an enormously better salary than the locals especially that it is in foreign currency and when US$ prices were high these people lived like czars in Libya. Whilst I’m sure many of them honoured their contracts I can tell you from personal experience that some of them could not care less, and even the fact that US sanctions resulted in the deterioration of Libyan hospitals and that probably some Libyan health workers were also unscrupulous does not give the right to foreign workers to treat the Libyan patients like 'shit'. I’ve seen it as some of them ruled unconditionally in the hospitals and clinics, and you don’t want to be on their bad side as they may not treat you or worse may give you the wrong treatment. So again I wanted to say that not all of them were angels and saviours. Whilst I don’t want to believe that the Bulgarians could have deliberately given AIDS to Libyan kids, because I’ve seen the state of the hospitals in those days (thanks to laissez faire and sanctions) , I will never feel comfortable again in the presence of a Bulgarian health worker because I may think that he/she will try to harm us for their sake ( a bit far fetched but plausible).

At one time last year in the mist of all the lobbying frenzy, I wished that the death sentence had been carried swiftly when the case was obscure and before it got all this mediatisation. Problem solved. Now I fear that even if they are guilty they will be found innocent to gain political points, and the real story is lost somewhere. I hope they are found innocent for their families' sake as soon as possible and because I’m fed up of this case, but whatever happens to them will not make a difference to the Libyan children.

Bulgarian and Palestinian medics

Libyan child

Libyan AIDS victims protesting.

For chronology of events read this Bulgarian site .

Inmates not satisfied with prison conditions read through September 2004 all the hoopla below are snippets :

-Bulgaria's authorities are trying to speed up the transfer of the five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya from the Judeyda prison to a special building built for them.

-Bulgarian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs G. Grancharova stated in Varna that the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to ensure better living conditions for the Bulgarian medics.

-nurses sentenced to death in Libya have been moved to a special facility in their prison, the Trud newspaper reported Thursday. The paper said a new apartment block had been built in the prison yard and that the nurses had been moved into it...

-The five Bulgarian nurses sentenced to death in Libya are not satisfied with the conditions in the new building in which they had been transferred from Judeida prison. They claim the place was narrow and that there were Libyan women in the next-door room.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Highlander in the British countryside & at Buckingham palace

Last Friday I decided to take up a friend’s invitation and visit their family in the English countryside for an Easter experience. I must say it was very enjoyable as the weather was warm and sunny for a few days and yours truly had wonderful walks and fresh air galore. Witness these grubby boots

What could be more fun than great company, delicious food, gorgeous weather, and exciting conversation with old friends and interesting ones with their kids? My favourite part of the whole trip was guess what? Watching the Harry Potter DVDs with the kids. That was awesome, as funnily enough I never had time for that before; now I’m a Potter fan, and can hardly wait for the next release. It got colder by Sunday but hey, we had all the Easter chocolate eggs to eat and it was nice to watch the kids searching for their eggs in the garden and the house. Running around with the huge family dog and the bunny pets was an absolutely invigorating time plus a chance to shed a few of the pounds acquired with all those chocolates. Isn't that pastoral scene enchanting ?

By Tuesday I was in London, I took this opportunity to brush up on my tourism. On top of my list was the British Museum, I only managed to visit half of it in one day.

Of course we begun our trip with the Egyptian section (yes the mummies). Since we went there with no plans and no idea what to do it was an adventure to just stroll from room to room with no specific chronology. My favourite objects were the gold chunky jewelry and especially the Celtic and near- east ones. Both reminded me so much of Libyan traditional jewelry. I think I’ll visit the second half another time. I spent a lot of time in the city, and have fallen in love with London, probably because I have not seen its seedier places but hey who needs to see that? I’ll just enjoy the good stuff, so I finally got to see Buckingham Palace,

the House of Parliament, Saint James Park, 10 downing street (was hoping for a glimpse of Tony Blair),Big Ben & Westminster Abbey where many people were praying for the Pope.

I walked from there to London Eye and the Aquarium and we had waffles with chocolate at a cute little stall.

And kept walking on Queensway till the Millenium Bridge, ok by then I was dead tired as we’d been on our feet for 6 hours and still had to walk back home. I’ve decided to take London in small portions whenever I happen to visit here. Interestingly while I was there, I passed by Zimbabwe House yesterday and was able to capture these pre-election activists.

Also I enjoyed these protest placards opposite the House of Parliament.

My favourite being this one :)NO COMMENT

But the following is my masterpiece I think I may even get a prize for thise photo shoot don't you think ? I loved it..

This was my ‘fun’ week in brief. I’m rested, my mind is clearer and hopefuly ready to post about more serious stuff, next stop will be the Bulgarian nurses case. Keep tuned.
PS note to Alan ;) yes eventually I’ll come to Scotland too !