The war continued, and we wondered whether we should evacuate. Food supplies continued to dwindle and some subsidized foods began to appear at neighbourhood cooperatives. I got together with a friend to try to establish a packing up service for those ex-pats who had left their belongings behind when they fled. It proved to be unsuccessful and we scrapped the idea because without internet it was impossible to coordinate with those living outside Libya and by this time most places where ex-pats lived had been looted by Libyans - It was heartbreaking and I was so disappointed in the behaviour of those Libyans who believed that whatever was left behind was fair game. Meanwhile, I spent time cooking, reading, gardening and getting on with life. The TV news was on 24/7. The challenge to get gasoline had begun as people waiting for hours in long lines. And the war and bombing continued....
The war dragged on, NATO bombings became a regular event. There was a constant worry about supplies and gasoline. A friend and I found ourselves in the middle of a very dangerous situation at the gas station - one of the scariest events of my life. Spring was ending, summer was beginning. The kids found interesting things to do on the farm (that involved scorpions and snakes!) and I did some major spring cleaning, sorting out papers and books. One good thing happened - I finally managed to get my salary. We settled into a routine of nearly nightly air raids and lots of missed sleep.
There was a lot of bombing this month as the weather got hotter and hotter. We also started to suffer from power cuts which meant no air conditioning. On the 15th we were treated with the total eclipse of the full moon. We watched in awe as the full moon slowly disappeared and then reappeared. I spent a lot of time worrying about my mother who was in hospital in America. It was so frustrating being so far away and without internet. There was lots of TV news, reading, gardening and cooking as we wondered how much longer it would continue - and we planned for Ramadan.
The kids had final exams and we wondered how they would manage as they hadn't been to school for the lessons - just going for the exams. We also wondered whether we'd have enough petrol to get them there. With the heat and nightly bombing the kids found it very difficult to study. At one point NATO dropped leaflets on the military camp next to Sara's school asking that the area be evacuated. The leaflets were collected and destroyed and no one was told to evacuate. School continued as usual. The best thing about the whole month was that we had a house-guest who kept us busy. It was fun to have a visitor to spend time with. Power cuts were a constant problem, we switched on the news as soon as the electricity came on to find out what was happening. We geared up to face Ramadan.
August : HERE and HERE
Ramadan began on the first day of August. It would be a Ramadan like no other. We spent whole days without electricity. Cooking gas was getting scarce and gasoline was almost impossible to get except at very high prices on the black market. We did our best to cope with the situation while NATO continued their bombing raids. The most terrifying night of my life was spent when NATO bombed a nearby military camp that was being used as munitions storage facility. The deafening noise of explosions could be heard the whole night long and into the afternoon the following day - rockets and debris spiraling overhead. I feared that we would not survive. When we had power we were glued to the TV news, we watched the rebels' progress and worried about what would happen in Tripoli. We prayed to be saved from a bloodbath and our prayers were answered when Tripoli was freed. Not long afterwards the internet was reconnected and we were finally able to communicate with the world. Ramadan ended and we celebrated Eid and freedom, but although Tripoli was free the war still waged on in other parts of the country.
On the first of the month I posted the daily journal that I had written during the months without internet. We attended celebrations in Martyr's Square and my son Yusef toured Bab Al Azizia. I finally went back to work and was thrilled to witness my students exploring the freedom of expression; finally being able to speak their minds for the first time in their lives. I also spent time with friends at the beach. The war was still not over but we were putting our lives back together in Tripoli.
Tripoli celebrated, the city was decorated in flags of red, green and black. Graffiti and murals adorned every surface. My husband and I rushed out to document what we could of this artistic expression. On the 20th Kadafy was finally captured and Libya was liberated at last.
There was a lot of catching up to do on the internet, I spent lots of time reading articles and blogs that I had missed during the internet blackout. I posted about unexploded ordnance. Good news as Saif Al Islam was captured and on the 23rd as Libya's new cabinet was announced. I spent time with family and friends and had time for the garden too.
There were only three posts this month because of the poor internet service. One was a tribute to Libyan female bloggers, another a post about the education system (lack of) in Libya and the final post of the year was a complaint about the internet service - which is still giving me headaches!
2011 was one heck of a year. I'm happy to see the end of it, but honestly I can say that I have so much to be thankful for. And I discovered something about me: I lived through a war and I am a stronger person for it.