Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Way back in October of 1983 a Libyan man named Elamari Magdud was brutally murdered in Portland Oregon. The man was my student's uncle. His family has been able to get very little information about the crime other than the fact that two ladies found him in the north area of Portland, apparently he had been beaten and probably hit on the head with a heavy object. This information was given to the family by the Portland Police Records Manager who also said they believed that they had found persons who had information about the killing or who might have killed him, but at least one of the men was already being sent to jail for committing another crime. No names were given to the family and nothing was ever done to prosecute anyone for the crime.
The body was sent back to Libya for burial and according to my student the casket was sealed but the family opened it and found the man had severe trauma to his head. [On the original post I had written that the family found the victim had gunshot wounds, but my student has since stated that according to his mother the victim had severe head trauma and his mother wanted me to change the post to state this.]
My student asked me what could be done - the family wants some kind of closure, even though the crime was comitted over 20 years ago the mystery remains and it's hard for the family to feel at rest. I tried to look up the information on the internet and can find nothing. So I thought I would mention it here on my blog. Maybe someone reading this might have some more information or ideas about what can be done.
Friday, May 26, 2006
Another thing I look at is the amount of time people spend reading my blog. For instance, last week someone at the State Department spent 8 hours 21 minutes and 30 seconds reading my blog in just one day. The following day they logged in another 5 hours! Wow! Imagine getting paid to sit for hours reading blogs! I wonder how much this person's salary is? I'm sure it must be more than minimum wage. Where do I send my resume????
Since school has been out we've been trying to get all the kids medical and dental work done. We've put off stuff waiting for summer vacation. Adam will be having surgery to have his extra teeth removed.
Adam has had all the consultations with the dentists, but now the negotiations are going on about the clinic's fees. He'll need general anesthesia and the clinic wants to charge over 1000 dinars to rent their theatre for two hours. We think 1000 dinars is rediculous! They said they will charge 25 dinars for each meal served (you can eat at the Corinthia for almost that much!) - Adam will be having dental surgery I don't think he'll even want to eat or be able to but they will charge for the meals anyway. The list of their charges goes on and on. In the end it will cost over 2000 dinars. You must remember that the average Libyan earns about 250 dinars a month. So we are negotiating the price and trying to see if they will lower it.
Adam has another surgery to remove a cyst scheduled for the 19th of June. Jenna and Ibrahim also need dental work done too.
Mustafa has also decided that Ibrahim should have a break from his medicine to see if he's improved. Well, guess what? He hasn't! We've had all kinds of excitement since he's been off his meds. Fires in the kitchen, running through the house with scissors and knives, throwing the cat down the stairs and using the broom to beat at all the light fixtures that hang from the ceilings, just to name a few of the fun things Ibrahim has been up to. I hope Mustafa will see the light and give in and give Ibrahim his medicine again - hopefully before a disaster happens! (or I loose my mind completely!)
Never a dull moment in my life!
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Recently I posted a notice about the 'Fight Hunger - Walk the World' campaign which is held once a year in cities all over the world. This year Tripoli was also on the list of cities that would take part in this global event.
The website had set the place as beginning in front of the fairgrounds, but later they changed it and said it would begin an hour earlier in the Green Square - Too late for me to change plans as I had already told some people I would meet up with them in front of the fairgrounds.
I went with my husband and two of my daughters and while we waited in front of the fairgrounds for things to start happening we found some yucca plants that were blooming, so we had a close up look at one of the blossoms. I'd never seen one up close before, it was pretty.
Only a few of the people who said they would meet up with us arrived. Everyone's main complaint about the event was that it was on a Sunday. But in most parts of the world Sunday is a day off work. Most Libyans were either working, studying, or sitting exams so I expected there would be a poor turnout. We didn't let that bother us.
Finally, about an hour late, at five minutes to eleven, the 'Walk for Hunger' approached the front of the fairgrounds preceded by a marching band.
The walkers carried banners and flags. My husband complained because they didn't have a Palestinian flag and he said they are most certainly hungry. I told him 'I think there are hungry people in even the wealthiest of countries' - he watches too much Aljazeera - that and the heat were making him crabby! - I decided to ignor him.
I took some pictures and then we followed along for part of the way. I must confess we didn't complete the walk - I had to get home and cook lunch and get myself off to work. Maybe next year the event will fall on the weekend. At any rate, I enjoyed seeing this and also meeting Molestine who showed up to take part in the event too.
Friday, May 19, 2006
I went for a long walk this morning - 8.3 km (5.21 mi). The weather was perfect and because it was early Friday morning everything was quiet and deserted. Above is a mosque that's on the coast road in front of the Mahari Hotel.
I walked past a small amusement park that had some rides for kids.
A cafe with a view overlooking the harbour and boats.
The sidewalks are wide and clean and the views are nice. It's a pleasant place to walk but I rarely see anyone taking advantage of this area. It's perfect for small kids on bikes and skates - I'll have to bring the kids here in the future.
This is the American cemetary. For years it's been just falling to bits and been looking really awful and when the American ladies complained to the American Interests Section and then to the Liasson Office we were always told that nothing could be done about it until an official embassy opened. How sad that even the dead have to suffer because of politics! - It was always overgrown and had all kinds of garbage thrown in it but was kept locked so we could do nothing about it. In springtime a few of us would get together and throw flower seeds over the wall in the hopes that some would take root and bloom. (Look in the comment section for an explanation of the site in a comment from Ghazi)
I dragged a big rock over next to the wall and climbed up to have a peek over the wall. I was so pleased to see that finally, finally, finally, after all these years, the cemetary had been cleaned. It's still crumbling but there isn't any garbage. Seeing that made me very happy.
The top of the wall surrounding the cemetary has bits of broken glass poking out of the cement to keep out intruders.
It's even got a sign. Anyone care to translate? A comment from Highlander: As for the sign it reads , protected by the Department of Archeology and they have the number of the decree .
The door to the cemetary is locked - I would like to be able to go inside and read the inscriptions on the graves. I'll have to check into it.
The view nearby the cemetary.
Continuing on my walk I passed these apartment blocks. I can not imagine what life is like for the people who live there. What do they do when the elevator is broken? I could just see me yelling at my kids to carry up the drinking water - we must go through at least 12-ten litre bottles every week.
This is the planetarium. I've never been inside but it looks pretty neat from the outside.
Across the street from the planetarium is a palace that was built in the kings era - I think his nephew was supposed to live there but never did. For years there were rumours that it would house the American Embassy - but they are planning to be out in Tajoura, not here. I think it's being used as a cultural center or something now. (don't expect miracles - LonelyPlanet I am not!)
Next to the road and beside the planetarium is a small farm. Actually if you are driving by in the car you would pass by without even noticing it was there. Right beside the road is an old well with a water resevoir next to it. These wells are protected by the law and cannot be removed without special permission. The road here was actually built over the water resevoir! It was in use and the farmer was out working.
There was alfalfa growing in the field next to the well. I always find interesting things on my walks. This was nice.
There are lots of new houses being built in the Novelene area.
People are taking time to fix up the entrances to their homes and plant things. I thought this looked pretty. It was a pleasant walk - I'm hoping to make it a weekly ritual.
Monday, May 15, 2006
Friday, May 12, 2006
At one point they had me dressed up in a Libyan costume and dancing. It was great fun and we all had a good time and lots of laughs.
Some of the pictures of the event are posted on the school's blog - go have a look: http://alea-english.blogspot.com
By the way.... if anyone has any pictures of me wearing the Libyan costume please email them to me. My camera's batteries ran out and I didn't get a picture.
Fight hunger! - Walk the World Libya
The Walk will start in front of the Libyan International World Fair and finish at the Libyan People's Congress Hall in Gergaresh (Tripoli). The total distance of the Walk is approximately 2 km and the route provides a breathtaking view of the Mediterranean!
Click on the image above to visit the website for more information and sign up for the Fight Hunger - Walk the World - Libya On May 21st 2006!
Thursday, May 11, 2006
First I dreamed that I was wearing handcuffs and I had them on while I was working in the house (or trying to work). Then I dreamed that I was wearing broken shib-shibs and they kept slowing me down. My whole night was spent dreaming of things that were trapping me, holding me down, hindering me and impeding my progress.
It made me feel like I was on a never ending treadmill.....running, running, running.... but not getting anywhere or accomplishing anything. I woke up feeling exhausted.
Monday, May 08, 2006
There are jacaranda trees blooming all over Tripoli. I've always loved their purple flowers and have one planted in our garden. I grew it from a seed that I picked up from the parking lot of the Physical Therapy hospital in Janzour nearly 7 years ago. The tree now reaches almost to the top of the second floor of our building.
It's graceful branches lean out over the garden wall and offer a bit of shade. As beautiful as the blooms are, unfortunately they have no perfume. I take the flowers and dry them and mix them in with potporri.
Saturday, May 06, 2006
Libyan blogger Lonehighlander, challenged all her readers to post a poem. I decided to post the link to a poem called 'Winter Rain' that I wrote in January 2005 and was published by The Tripoli Post. Click on the image above to visit the site and read my poem.
There are some fantastic poems written by members of the Muslimah Writers Alliance. You can find some of this year's entries on their blog by clicking on the image above. The Islamic Writers Alliance published a book of poems called Many Voices, One Faith in November 2005; Libyan poetess Nadia Hamed was one of the featured poets.
Thanks Lonehighlander for giving me the opportunity to post my poem and hopefully any other blogger who reads this, will either post a poem they have written or share a favourite.
A few new Libyan and Libyan related blogs to add to the growing list:
- Anglolibyan is a Libyan who lives in the UK,
- Hafed is a Libyan American who lives in the US with his Libyan born wife,
- Lebeeya who describes herself as "being quiet, feeling sorry for myself, sleeping, giving people money, dreaming, spending people's money, playing hide and seek, looking at myself in the mirror, trying on outfits in the mirror, buying new clothes, being entertained, watching tv, talking to myself, and braiding my friend khadija's hair. "
- Imtidad and Buffer Zone - two Arabic blogs by Ghazi who also has an interesting website in both English and Arabic all about modern Libyan creative writing,
- and Double Click a Libyan IT blog
I've added the links to my sidebar for easy reference.
Friday, May 05, 2006
This morning I got up early. After breakfast I went for a long walk. I mapped it out on Google Earth when I got back and checked to see how far I had walked - 6.19 km or 3.84 mi - not bad for a nice morning! I found myself near the old king's castle in Dahara. I'm not sure if the king ever lived there or not. I really don't know anything about the site's history.
Currently the building is being used as a library and offices. For many years the site was closed off by a surrounding wall but they've removed the wall and the area is open to the public.
It's pretty interesting to walk around and look at things but unfortunately the whole site is falling apart. But using your imagination you can see what it must have been like in its hayday and what it could possibly be like if they ever decide to restore it. Above is a huge fountain or wading pool.
At the far end of the fountain area are these massive bougainvillea vines that cover arched supports. It's very shady beneath the vines and there are steps that you can sit on.
There are paved areas and walkways with intricate designs that surround the garden. Another fountain above.
Being Friday, the building was closed so I only poked around in the entrance area.
The floor in the entrance.
The view from the entrance.
Of course there's a satelite tower for mobile phones on the top. They've got those things on top of anything that doesn't move!
Another fountain. It was nice and shady here and I imagine it would be quite pleasant during the hot summer months (if they clean it up!).
Lights in the entrance. They look like they are probably original lights as they look kind of old, but they're in good condition.
There are lots of flowers and vines growing in the gardens.
I hope they clean up the place and restore it so I can bring my kids there to have a picnic. As it is now, it's too dirty.
A few years ago I went to an art show that was held there and saw a bit of the inside. The place was falling apart but you could still see that it had silk wallpaper and there were some beautiful chandeliers and some peices of furniture - some small tables were thrown in the corner and I bent down to look and found that they were made from carved ivory! They were probably worth a small fortune and they had just been shoved over to the side as if they were worthless. I haven't been back to see if they've done any restoration work but from the looks of the outside I seriously doubt it. I'll have to visit again sometime.