Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Snooping around Libyan blogs

Being the eternal sleuth as usual ;) I went on a search for some more Libyan blogs for my dear readers . Because you don't want to have only my opinion about all things Libyan don't you ? That won't be fair or balanced ... but also because I'm curious about my fellow Libyans.

Well a fresh crop of blogs have turned up, I arbitrarily chose the most interesting among them to display here , the rest will be advertised when they start updating - not just having a "testing" sign on their website...

So not necessarily in order of preference here are Wissam and Lina , the current Libyan Romeo and Juliet of the blogosphere lol. Wissam is an anime fan who laments the lack of readers , hopefully after today he should get some more. Lina is a student in high school I guess, they keep a blog as a way to date when they can't meet and tell each other their thoughts and share their love with the whole world, just hope your teacher is not reading this. Well guys all the best and please invite us to the wedding.

The next one is by Mabrouk ... I have hopes for this guy ... but please Mabrouk you need to write a bit more! Anyway he sounds like an economist, but I still can't figure what is the connection of tomato paste and the market economy ... aaah but you all already know that I am nil in economics. My suggestion to readers is to go email him , which should jolt him back on stage.

Hanging around Tareq's and Smokey's blogs ( thanks guys) I came accross this Libyan-American blogger Hanu recounting the adventures of (her family) the Dregias family in the US ... complete with slumber parties an bbqs. Pure joy !

Keep coming and I'll keep digging for those elusive Libyan bloggers ... they are all so endearingly shy ..how cute eh ?

Dear All, this is a very brief break in my hiatus , so the rules still apply, feel free to comment on anything as already mentioned before . I just could not resist presenting the above gems when I found them, especially knowing how some of you are avid for fresh Libyan blogs ( big hint here to some people - you know who you are !) .

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Temporary Hiatus

Dear All,

I shall resume blogging as soon as possible. Please be patient and do not go away!

In the meantime you can continue the discussions in any of your favourite posts here, start a topic on this post , accumulate questions to ask me ( I will reply when I get back) or check the interesting links on my sidebar. Have a great time.


Friday, September 16, 2005

In memory of Omar Mukhtar

Today coincides with the anniversary of the death of Omar Mukhtar ( hattip Libya News & Views) .

He was one of the Libyan freedom fighters against European colonialism. But he became famous in the West after a film called Lion of the Desert starring Anthony Quin was made about his life. I have mentioned him already here in a post about Italian occupation . You can check his photo prior to execution as well.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Has America been jinxed?

When hurricane Katrina hit the US shores and things started to become really desperate and pictures of disasters similar to those seen in the Third World were beamed into our living rooms, a strange idea furtively crossed my mind. I jotted it down as an idea for a post then somehow forgot about it plus it was inappropriate to talk like this when people where dying. However, today when I read Tareq's blog and saw this caption , I think it is high time I expose my theory.

I shall be brief, from the face of things it looks like Bush's presidency has been an extremely bad omen for the USA.
Bear with me :
(1) a few months after he is sworn in for his first term in 2001, 9/11 strikes ,
(2) then almost the same interval passes after he is sworn in the second time in 2005 and Katrina strikes.
Now that is what I call a curse and a disaster to the United States. I have nothing against the man in person, but hey if I was a US citizen with all the choices that a democracy entitles me to, I would make sure he leaves the office ASAP. We would not want another disaster would we?because believe me usually these things come in three. We had (1) and (2) , I do not want to see (3) ! as there are too many people I care about in the US .

I'm not usually superstitious but this is too much, something should be done. ..what do you think ?

My prayers go today again to all the victims of violent death in the world. Amen

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Two Years of Blogging ...and more Libyan bloggers

Yes you've guessed ...it's that time of the year again. This blog has come a long way I think since my first stumbling words here back in 2003. ...

There were times I wanted to quit but was convinced otherwise not only by the regular readers in the comment section who I consider as my friends but also when I saw the stats [the tally since 5th of June 2005 says 18000 - I'm feeling humbled here] which showed that people were actually interested ..thank you all , I learned a lot from each and everyone .

But the good news is that throughout 2004 and 2005 more Libyan blogs appeared on the scene and I've collected those I could find - they are on the sidebar. Please go and visit them , they're all very interesting....andalso please prod the ones that have become lazy into some action ;) .

A good birthday present to the Highlander from the Rock is the thrilling discovery of TWO more Libyan bloggers and they are FEMALE yay ! watch out you guys so far you are outnumbered :

Dunia , where Tyeness who describes herself as "Female Arab (Libyan to be super-specific) Muslim With all the Opinions that that Implies" is filled with insight and humour at the same time check out her post on Cindy Sheehan here "Every time I begin to think this story has been covered from just about every angle possible, another story pops up [the recipe seems to be] chop up bits of previous stories, add a touch of spice by tossing in a few extra adjectives,garnish with a fresh picture or soundbite, and simply stir" . Hilarious stuff, perfect English, satirical political critiques! Tumbs up Tyeness and keep up the good work!

Our other discovery for today is Hibo Abu a Tripolitanian social worker , who loves Tripoli so much she has dedicates a whole blog Lovelytripoli to it . I'm sure you'll be touched by her romantic sweet side and peace loving disposition : "i dont like hurt anyone and i dont like anybody to hurt me for any kind of reasons". It takes sheer guts to blog in English with a tiny grammar handicap but who amongst us does not make mistakes and typos? Hibo you go girl ...I bet we will see her English skills improve very fast on her blogging journey .

Thank you to all those who gave me words of encouragement here , and to the silent majority also . You are great.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Katrina and Lessons in Humanity

Since the hurricane came hurtling into the Gulf area on Monday , my feelings of despair and doom have not abated and they have proven to be right once again.

Almost simultaneously we got these news from Iraq ( amid the usual grim dispatches from there this was even more terrible). But as it has been established that Iraq is in a huge mess which has finally 'officially' escalated to sectarian war and must therefore run its natural course, so I'll leave this specific story alone for today as this post is mostly about the natural disaster and its unfolding drama in the USA.

In my eyes the aftermath of Katrina's trail of destruction is worse than 9/11, because 9/11 was a sudden and unnatural tragedy. Katrina, on the other hand was expected and announced. I will not talk about the defensive measures not undertaken, nor about the levee system , the federal budget or the alleged ineptitude of the governement. It is not my place to criticize especially in these hard times while people are dying, suffering, starving and have lost everything , and especially that I am ignorant in basic economics.

As an Arab and an African I think that stories of disasters and violent deaths have become the norm in my part of the world and after while your senses become dulled. But though you feel pain and cry in your soul nothing really shocks you anymore. However, watching the unfolding stories about the state of affairs in New Orleans and the rapid descent into chaos is unbelievable : anarchy ? urban warfare? looting ? and even shooting at rescue helicopters?
I cannot fathom that this is actually happening in the USA; these scenes are straight from Africa and Asia -from the so called Third World countries....I think that is why we are all so shocked. In only a couple of days we have discovered that people can suffer even in America.

So here am I in my little corner of the world, crying with the desperate devastated city , gropping at the proverbial straw and praying for their safety and feeling relief at some miracles also as reported from there by blogger Loki de Carabas .

This tragedy and ensuing looting of the city has brought to my mind another looting of another ancient city Baghdad . In April 2003, I felt shame that Iraqis were supposedly looting their own country and though there were many rumours and reports that the looters were Kurds protected by the Kurdish militia and that some of them were even brought in from Kuwait. I was still angry that the US army stood by and only protected the ministry of oil. Although I' m not Iraqi I felt ashamed at the pictures of the looting even of Saddam's palaces which were beamed into every household worldwide. While not Iraqi, I had to face the dilemna that I felt ashamed that an Arab (or Kurd they are the same to me by the way) would be looting ...Stealing food if you are hungry I could understand , but museums, palaces and national treasures I could not, even if I was into conspiracy theory mood . But today I have come to terms with this feeling , it is allright people will be people everywhere in the world, there are good and there are bad, tragedies have a way of bringing out these feelings in us and some will be heros while others become evil. Katrina has provided me at least with this closure , I do not have to feel ashamed when an Iraqi was looting in his own country after being invaded by the strongest ( currently) military force on earth.

It was also eerily comforting to find out that after last year's Tsunami there was looting in Sri lanka and strangely enough looting even took place in European homes of Tsunami swedish victims. This I thought was very callous because even the supposedly terrorist Free Aceh Movement in Indonesia has ordered a ceasefire to facilitate aid reaching the victims in Aceh.

This stranded blogger cobalt green suggests (today - it seems to be already Saturday in New Orleans) the following solution to get quicker help in the city :

"OK everyone... we must think outside the box to get help into our city! Here's what I propose we do to get a government response faster:
1. Announce they are giving late term abortions down at the Convention Center
2. Spread the rumor that they're thinking about disconnecting the feeding tube of a (white) woman in a coma at one of the hospitals still standing.
3. Ask a calm, mourning, middle aged woman to camp out for peace along Canal Street.
(PS... I already dread hearing Bush's BS after his visit today!) "

I'm glad to say there is still a sense of humour in desperate times. For more of live input from survivors go to this blog Katricanacanes Friends and follow the links to other live journals.

So Katrina has thought me several lessons about humanity, one of them is that even the strongest nation on earth cannot always cope. There are no superheros. I am left wondering as to why is it that the poorest part of America is suffering so much? and why are the majority of victims I see on TV African-Americans? Is it just a question of the demography of the area ? I'm truly asking questions because I am ignorant of so much and willing to learn. I don't wish to be bogged down by political issues of who did what when or whose fault it was. I want to think about going forward and finding solutions to alleviate this pain to Nola which has obviously become a dependent society.

The least I could do is pray .
But please accept my heartfelt condolences for this national tragedy.