Monday, February 28, 2011

The Presage

I'm tired and stressed out as a result of the current situation that has gripped my country for the last 12 days and of discussing it with friends and strangers all over the globe. I'm tired of the news on TV in which I only see Armageddon, I'm tired of having to update my status when we have a connection so that friends and family know that I am still alive. What happens if I am no longer alive to update it?

I need to switch off and take another approach, perhaps talk about something that has been bothering me for a while now. It may turn out to be relevant to our topic du jour but it would provide some relief from having to think about an unknown future, one where I don't know if would be alive to see it.

Let me take you back to January 2010. On the 21st of that month, I listened online to Hillary Clinton's "Remarks on Internet Freedom" . I remember very well telling myself as noble as this all sounded it was not good. In fact I still have the note to myself that I needed to blog about this because it smacked too much of what I like to call 'modern imperialism' for want of a better world. But the days went by and I did not get out of my blogging hiatus.

However, I also clearly remember telling a friend of mine to mark my words that this date will be the last one in terms of local internet freedoms and will spark something big. She rolled her eyes and laughed at me dismissively.

The very next day You Tube was blocked. Though the disappearance of that website and a couple of others did not really bother me, the significance was immense, it meant that someone now was taking an interest in the Web and that felt uncomfortable in a way, just like having someone watch you undress through a keyhole.

I think it was on that particular day that I felt a foreboding on a number of aspects and my friend had to admit that my hunch was right.

What was it in Mrs Clinton's speech apart from the usual arrogant approach that made my body hair stand? I've picked up the most relevant passages and highlighted words I felt were key. See below:

"[...] The freedom to connect is like the freedom of assembly, only in cyberspace. It allows individuals to get online, come together, and hopefully cooperate. Once you’re on the internet, you don’t need to be a tycoon or a rock star to have a huge impact on society.[...]
On their own, new technologies do not take sides in the struggle for freedom and progress, but the United States does. We stand for a single internet where all of humanity has equal access to knowledge and ideas. And we recognize that the world’s information infrastructure will become what we and others make of it. Now, this challenge may be new, but our responsibility to help ensure the free exchange of ideas goes back to the birth of our republic. [...]

The United States is committed to devoting the diplomatic, economic, and technological resources necessary to advance these freedoms. We are a nation made up of immigrants from every country and every interest that spans the globe. Our foreign policy is premised on the idea that no country more than America stands to benefit when there is cooperation among peoples and states. And no country shoulders a heavier burden when conflict and misunderstanding drive nations apart. So we are well placed to seize the opportunities that come with interconnectivity. And as the birthplace for so many of these technologies, including the internet itself, we have a responsibility to see them used for good. To do that, we need to develop our capacity for what we call, at the State Department, 21st century statecraft. [...]

We are also supporting the development of new tools that enable citizens to exercise their rights of free expression by circumventing politically motivated censorship. We are providing funds to groups around the world to make sure that those tools get to the people who need them in local languages, and with the training they need to access the internet safely. The United States has been assisting in these efforts for some time, with a focus on implementing these programs as efficiently and effectively as possible. Both the American people and nations that censor the internet should understand that our government is committed to helping promote internet freedom. [...]

We want to put these tools in the hands of people who will use them to advance democracy and human rights, to fight climate change and epidemics, to build global support for President Obama’s goal of a world without nuclear weapons, to encourage sustainable economic development that lifts the people at the bottom up. [...]

That’s why today I’m announcing that over the next year, we will work with partners in industry, academia, and nongovernmental organizations to establish a standing effort that will harness the power of connection technologies and apply them to our diplomatic goals. By relying on mobile phones, mapping applications, and other new tools, we can empower citizens and leverage our traditional diplomacy. "

By mid January 2011, Ben Ali was ousted, on February 7, Southern Sudan seceded and by February 11, Mubarak had resigned. I was very happy to see the yoke finally falling from the neck of the neighbouring countries. Then events started developing at such a rapid pace it became very difficult to keep up, Bahrain, Yemen, Libya, Algeria, Syria, Jordan, Morocco, Mauritania etc... it was an epidemic!

Media and thinkers, (but whose media and thinkers?) were quick to label this 'internet revolution' taking from the credit of the people who suffered and died.

My ears were very hot because Mrs Clinton did specifically say 'over the next year' i.e. 2011.

This could be a clue that regardless of the right and wrong of what is happening across the Middle East and North Africa, the legitimate feelings of the people in this swathe of land have been taken advantage of and perhaps manipulated at some point, and I fear they have been/are harnessed for the benefit of Western/US foreign policy.

I am terrified that when all the ashes from the uprisings that are consuming us settle down we become blinded by the celebratory mood and find ourselves having exchanged one agenda for another whose nature would be like an octopus: soft but with many slippery tentacles.
This is not me being a conspiracy theorist, but those familiar with my writing know that I am a big fan of the Realism school in international relations where national interest and security reign king probably with large dollops of personal interest ( that's my addition to the theory :P ).

I don't want to dampen anyone's euphoria but I'm afraid that we will rush in where angels fear to thread. Everybody is feverishly planning and we should not be caught unaware. So to all those involved in state building or re-building; can you please watch out for the wolves in lamb clothes.

Friday, February 25, 2011

The final showdown?

Apparently today after Friday prayers will be a decisive day! Well we will find out soon enough it's just round the corner in a couple of hours....May God protect Libya.

I don't know what the 'international community' is doing seeing how there does not seem to be any coherent response; and to be honest I'm not expecting much as they should not have to worry about another country anyway.

I've read that the UK and the US where considering a military rescue action for some of their people who may still be stranded. Not sure I'm happy about that, yes they have a right to worry about their own but not to put our life in more jeopardy because of that. I have not heard that the Chinese or the Egyptians or other countries want to storm Libya to rescue their nationals....Not sure what to think these are just ideas I'm stringing here....

I don't look forward to more sanctions on Libya, the last time around it was ordinary people like us who suffered the most. Please UN, US, EU or whoever is considering sanctions can you weigh them carefully so that you don't add to the casualties here. We really don't look forward to be counted among collateral damage....

And one final thing for those who keep saying leave, I'm saying no, this is my country, I refuse to be a refugee! A real Libyan will never run when things get unsavory.

I have this hope that in less than a week we should be OK, just need to weather this storm and all will be well inshallah!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Week one over, what next ?

First of all I want to thank Dhafer for baby sitting my blog for the past week just in case someone was still reading it; also a heartfelt thank you to those who asked about me.

Secondly seems that internet is more stable today. Not sure what that means and too tired to analyze it or really care anymore...sigh

In a way I believe that living the events is sometimes better than watching them from afar, and while utterly devastated at the loss of life on the ground I have absolutely no means to confirm the numbers. However, I can confirm that all sort of jets have been over the Tripoli airspace, but what they are I cannot identify. Also as I am no expert on ordnance I won't venture any speculation. I have heard explosions and live ammunition but because we do not have many high rise buildings sounds carry far here and so locations are difficult to judge precisely unless you were right there when it happened. All areas of Tripoli have some form of dist
urbance, the gravity is relative to which strategic hot point is in your neighborhood. One of the more recent posts from PH can perhaps explain it better. Many streets have self made barricades, burning tar barrels etc.. young men are trying to guard their areas with sticks, this is were I wish I had bought a bat when I had the opportunity to. The uncertainty of what form of danger can one be faced with is big factor in keeping the adrenaline running high this is where mistakes can be made when we need to keep a clear head. I thought of rounding up the young men and asking them to help with cleaning some of the mess around but I am sure that in these strange times it will be seen as asking for trouble.

Currently we live one day at a time, you worry about who is shooting at whom, about thugs and criminals ( there are too many after the recent prison releases), you worry about people who will use this situation to their advantage, about war profiteers in basic commodities ( and I have experienced them), about securing medical supplies to children and elderly people, about the possibility of rape and if someone would rescue you or not, about electricity and about being cut off from your family, friends and the world. Dying alone is not fun, dying alone and in a 'dark' loophole without anyone learning about it is worse.

Personally, we are more than 13 souls in this house and that's not counting the pets and it's a challenge at times to ensure everyone does not get on everybody else nerves. I have no news about my aunts, uncle, cousins etc.... because they live in different areas and I can't get them on the phones and none are internet addicts like me. But I am confident that whoever can contact the other first will do so as soon as possible. I may try and drive to where they live today and check on them but not sure it is a safe idea.

Every family in Libya is affected because we are a tight community and because we are a small population. The psychological toll will leave scars and I have not heard anyone in the media offer to help once our trials and tribulations are over, but I'm sure that the non-Arab foreigners who have already left or who are still stuck here will get plenty of psychological support on reaching their homes and I admit that this is somehow irksome to me.

However, Libyans have proven they are a hard nut to crack so inshallah all will be well!

Libya has always been in some way or another a front page news topic and once again we find ourselves in this situation. The world is holding their breath but I'm still not sure if it is caring about the Libyans or simply the cursed oil and the effect that such as crisis is/will be having on the world and honestly just watching all the economic reports makes me lean towards the latter.

Is there danger you ask ? yes but I believe we have reached the point of no return.

What will happen next? I have no idea but and I am praying that the outcome of this situation is to the advantage of our country and its noble people.

Please continue reading the links in my sidebar, they have more updates.

May God help us all.


Sunday, February 20, 2011


This is Dhafer posting; communication is currently spotty and Highlander has asked me to let you know the following:

(1) You are on this blog because you watch or read the news
(2) Despicable rats are jumping ship
(3) It is at times like these when you know who are your friends
(4) Tienanmen Redux ...
(5) Please follow up with those who are updating here (whenever they can) and see my sidebar links, there is a lot to digest and we have a lot on our plate.
(6) For those who care, I am currently relatively safe
(7) To the news outlet who wrote - sorry it is not possible
(8) To my people and country may you always be safe, we are one soul.
(9) Until further notice this is Highlander signing off
(10) This must feel reassuring:
"[..] I do not however conclude that Britain or America or "the west" should be blamed for what is happening now in the Middle East, or should be intervening in some way. [..]" (source:
(11) لا الله الا الله

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Monday, February 14, 2011

In memory of abused children in the world!

I've had a lovely childhood which is why when I see a child being abused my blood boils and I try to reason with the parents and find out what is the cause of this... no one wants to watch as a child's spirit, body and life are being gradually destroyed in an inhumane fashion, and when the person doing this harm is someone you know then it is worse especially when the other parent is oblivious and could not care less.

Why do people who don't deserve children have kids?
How to get rid of an abusive parent without allowing them to kill the child out of spite? very dangerous situation.

All your prayers are needed folks to help me save this child.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

RIP Gary Moore

I am very sad to learn that Gary Moore is no more and that I won't have more virtuoso guitar tricks to look forward to.

I have not listened for a while to his albums as you need to be in a special kind of mood for that but he was always one to help me cure the blues.... Maybe it's high time to revisit that driving fast with rock music on ?