Sunday, September 18, 2011

Reflections on fourty years of leaking cyanide in Libya


This post is about answering a number of questions that you have posed to me in your emails. I tried to combine them all in one place. I  probably did something similar about five years ago  …. I hope it helps assuage the readers curiousity.

For the record, I am a native Libyan who has lived the majority of her  life in Tripoli with my family. Yes obviously the war has affected our daily life in Tripoli. The majority had a similar experience to what Khadijater wrote in her diary  of the past few months.

Not going to work meant  that I had a lot of time on my hand. At the end of February  beginning of March I passed through a phase of stupor where I would be sleeping a lot of the time during the day. I think it was a 10 day  period. Then I got myself together and realised there was no point in having a nervous breakdown because it was just not my style. I looked at myself in the mirror on that fateful morning and saw how my once black hair had turned white. It was not like having your first warning of white hairs no it was whole patches of white hair,  pepper and salt .  Now people tell me it's not really that much but I notice it is , the black does not look the jet black of old times because the white is tempering in. It was a shock for me. Not the shock of getting old, I know my age lol, but the shock of it happening overnight.

Life was never the same not only for us in Tripoli but for any of us in Libya. Before the uprising  most Libyans had stopped watching Libyan state TV ( there was not any other kind of  Libyan TV anyway) except for Ramadan when we liked to watch the Libyan programmes. But once the war started we would be checking the Libyan TV along with all the other satellite channels. The Libyan media was taken aback at the beginning but they quickly recovered and deployed all their arsenal. To be honest we have to give them credit for putting up that fa├žade for so long. Six months is a long time to stand in the face of the international deluge and  giant media machine. 

Regardless of whether you were pro or anti Gaddafi,  those people manning the broadcasting station had the hardest job of all.  To be vilified by millions and yet keep having to do this job because it was a matter of not your own survival but probably that of your family members. Just check what  Ruwida has to say:

"i was afraid because not only me even every part of my family will be harmed , non of my relatives can live there normal lives simply and this anti Qaddafi stigma can be inherited too , and you cant get paper that you dont have any anti Qaddafi relatives"

She is talking about blogging but this applies to anything in Libya. This is someone who lives thousands of kilometers away from Tripoli  in Benghazi and can still feel the heavy arm of the Gaddafi regime so what do you think is the fate of those living in Tripoli where he has all his 'machine' with him ?

Having an anti – Gaddafi stigma is non erasable even  if you have been informed it was forgotten and you were forgiven, they can still  throw it at your face whenever they want. Being neutral  was slightly safer until someone decided to  'out' you to the authorities  and then only God could help you. This poisoned atmosphere is how we lived for 40 years and it has increased a hundred fold by the first week of  February 2011. Is it any wonder why so many Libyans had heart disease, diabetes,  hypertension and even cancer or why are we on the top list of dangerous driving countries ?

Just some food for thought, there will probably be a sequel for this post  so much pent up stuff that needs to be released.

6 comments:

programmer craig said...

Fascinating stuff, dear. I hope that's all behind you now, once and for all.

Highlander said...

Not sure it is all behind us, maybe the children will be able to forget, but this will continue to haunt the rest of the Libyans for a long long time unfortunately.

NOMAD said...

but you're alive, and it's all what is counting !

Now, you'll have to write another story whith this new future !

oceankid said...

Yes...
I am at loss for words. With my own know knowledge of other oppressive systems I think I can [at least begin to] grasp the magnitude of constant terror.

During my visits to Libya it was clear that everybody was watching their tongues very closely. But I must admit that I was under the wrong impression that while there was an unspoken agreement between everyone not to mention the unmentionable, the fear of being falsely informed upon was relatively small.

In eastern Europe such fears were very present, and it happened too, all the time.

Highlander said...

Nomad thank you, we are going to see what the new story shall be

Highlander said...

Oceankid, check my new post you will find that unfortunately this fear seems will still remains :(