Friday, March 31, 2006

What next in Libya?

Now that the eclipse is over and done with what's the next big event in Libya? The Tripoli International Fair of course! It begins on April 2nd and continues on through until the 12th.

The fair has been an annual event for years. During the years of sanctions when Libya was cut off from the world the Fair was pretty dull. But now that Libya is opened up to the world there will be all kinds of interesting international exhibts and things happening. Luna Angel (image above) is a reggae artist from Oakland, California that will be performing at the fair - you can hear some of her music on her website if you click on the image above. Of course there will be plenty of traditional Libyan musicians at the fair too.

According to the Tripoli International Fair's website there will be 30 countries represented as well as over 2000 companies and organizations - an international, industrial, agricultural and commercial event.

Something to do in April! - I should start charging a fee for promotional services - lolPosted by Picasa


  1. What is Libya going to benefit from a reggae artist? Or is the reggae artist going to sing for Mr. G and claim her Libyan citizenship?
    I think the fair's image has diminished over the past 36 years or so.

  2. When I first came to Libya 17 years ago, my husband and I took his niece and nephew to a restarant for lunch. The niece was about 12 years old at the time and belive it or not it was the very first time she had ever been in a restaurant in her entire life!

    She was so proud of herself that she knew just what to do and how to behave because she said she had seen people eating in restaurants on TV.

    Libyan people have suffered from a lack of exposure to life. Maybe a reggae artist isn't a big deal - but how often would the ordinary Libyan citizen get a chance to be exposed to live music other than their own?

    Yes the fair's image has diminished over the years - let's be optimistic and hope it improves. I think that it offers wonderful oportunities for Libyans to learn about the world, other cultures, other ideas.

    When you mention getting Libyan citizenship - it's going back to the Miss Net contest (or Miss Networld or something like that) that was held here a few years back - personally I think that was a total disgrace. At least they had the forsight NOT to televise it on Libyan TV - the Libyan population was for the most part oblivious to the event (thank God!)

  3. Valid points made Sister Khadjateri, however the entire Libyan population cannot be expressed in one little incident or example.
    The Libyan people I believe are more open minded and carry a relaxed mindset in comparison with the Gulf states for example. I think that’s a common tone for all people of Northern Africa or Al Magreb in particular. There are many Libyans past and present who have travelled the world to observe different cultures, to meet new people and to experience different ways of life. They are always open to new ideas, and they are thoughtful people. So one cannot question their willingness or intention of being open minded and exposed to the world around them.

    However I believe the situation/environment they have lived in the past 36 years hasn’t greatly helped them focus on gaining insights into different cultures - I'm sure they know of them and have brief knowledge on them. Yet when 'socialism' 'communism' 'dictatorship' and waffle from the green book is forced on them for the past 36 years it creates an environment of fear and results in a lack of individual expression. The regime has aimed to wipe out any degree of individualism and self advancement, this has lead people only thinking about daily life affairs such as work, how to find work, how to gain money, how to feed the family etc. The regime were fearful that if individuals started to think ‘out of the box’ maybe they could question the presence of the regime. There was once a time when footballers names were not allowed to be mentioned during match commentary, thus players were only identified via their shirt number – like a herd of sheep in a farm.
    Thus the individual doesn’t have time to observe other walks of life but trying to better and maintain their own life. They are educated, logical, thoughtful, and open minded but do not have time or the opportunity to place a great significance on exploring life. I mean does the regime in any way or has it in any way encouraged initiatives for the young – such initiatives may include sporting academies, music academies, art academies etc

    My point being at the moment a reggae artist is not going to solve the problems of the Libyan society or regime. Maybe something more useful for the Libyan people such as encouraging the young to play instruments; the violin, the piano etc but unfortunately the regime doesn’t want anything useful for its people and a reggae artist will have to do for the time being.

    There’s good and bad everywhere in the world, in Libya too. So by brining a young female reggae artist to Libya, the regime I’m sure would know that all she would get would be whistling from the young guys. Instead of inciting bad thoughts and desires why doesn’t the regime provide something useful to the Libyan people for once?

    ‘Ordinary Libyan citizen get a chance to be exposed to live music other than their own?’ Whats wrong with good old Libyan Zukra or the Andalusia tradition of Malufe? ?
    But I see what you mean, just imagine if there was an academy for young Libyan musicians (from pianists to conductors) and they performed a concerto every summer touring Libyan cities - that would benefit the young, offer new skills and music and offer live music too.

  4. WOW !!!!! What a comentary on life in Libya! Dear 7mada are you Libyan?Been to Libya lately ?Or are you a Arab from another country ?What does 7mada stand for ?

  5. 7mada - Many Libyans are open-minded and carry a relaxed mindset... to a point this might be true - of those living in Tripoli or other larger cities. But for the most part many Libyans have never travelled far from home, many don't even have a passport.

    At one point in my career as an English teacher here I was teaching about 300 Libyans who were on a training course. Almost all of them were from small villages way outside of Tripoli - out in the boonies and beyond. The majority had graduated from either an institute or university and had never travelled outside of Libya. Actually, Tripoli was the biggest and most exciting place they had ever been! And most had no computer skills and were just learning as part of the training course they were on.

    Things are very different for those that are brought up and raised in Tripoli or other 'big' cities - they have all kinds of opportunities at their disposal. Many never even bother to seek out anything that is put right under their noses! Tripoli isn't very big or hip to those that have been elsewhere in the world - but there is alot of things happening here. It's just a matter of being inquisitive enough to find them. - There are art shows from local artists and artists from abroad, musicians come from many places to give concerts here, libraries, museums, etc. It's just a matter of looking.

    The fair offers a wonderful opportunity for Libyans - don't turn up your nose at what is offered,but encourage those here to take advantage of a chance to broaden their horizons.

    A reggae artist isn't meant to be a panacea to solve all of the problems people face. Who said music was a cure-all? Your comment about having a reggae artist perform here "why doesn’t the regime provide something useful to the Libyan people for once?" - maybe not useful, but does everything have to be useful? And Libyans do have the oportunity to learn how to play musical instruments - they're available here for anyone interested as are sport and art. It just needs those that are interested enough to go do it - they're not going to come to your house looking for you, you have to make the initiative.

    You said: "The regime has aimed to wipe out any degree of individualism and self advancement, this has lead people only thinking about daily life affairs such as work, how to find work, how to gain money, how to feed the family etc." - hmmm . . . I can remember living in the US of A and being on the treadmill of life - worrying about daily affairs, work, money, feeding the family, paying the rent, car insurance, credit card bills, telephone bills, electric bills, the list went on and on and on - God forbid if you got sick - the doctor's bills could kill you!! That treadmill of life is everywhere in the world, but I've found it easier to deal with here.

    Oh 7mada! Stop being so damned pessimistic all the time!

  6. PS - I'm not interested in politics - there are things in life one has no control over - the weather and politics - but I suppose you could move to a climate that suits you.

    I'm not interested in the politics of Libya - just happy here raising my family and doing the best I can and making the most out of what's available to me here.

  7. The Fair does give us here a change of pace.And this fair is said to be better than the previous years due to not having sanctions.Libya is changing and for the better InshaAllah.The biggest problem that we face is in teaching our people to become better citizens by having public awareness programmes and implementing them.As for Libyans having an open mind there are few but the rest lead very simple lives.It really depends on what backgrounds they have i.e if illeterate or not.Most of the younger generation 1969--- have illeterate parents. Now the kids are all doctors , engineers and what have you.Everybody watches Star Accademy even my mother-in law won't miss an episode!Although some people do comment saying it to be haramm. So music isn't a cure for all but does provide some change!

  8. Your point with regards to people in small town villages having restricted access to the ‘outer side’ of life is true. But I believe the young generation within these town and villages will either move to the big cities for education and experience or possibly move abroad for work or education. But don’t you think there should be schemes to regenerate these small towns and villages – improving infrastructure, communications links etc
    The Libyan people have great history, heritage and culture, yet there were times when the regime wanted the Libyan people to only focus on twaddle from the green book.
    I’m not political neither, I’ve always been told its politics to say out of politics, and that’s true. Yet I thank God for giving me the chance to express ideas, feelings and opinions regarding the framework upon which Libya is ‘governed’ by. Is that negative? Is that bad? I’m just a normal guy, living a normal life with my normal family but it just happens that I want to express thoughts about Libya’s situation. I mean my family back home are in the same situation they are living their life’s normally regardless of what the ‘big guys’ say and do at the top. I respect that and respect yourself and your family for doing that – it just goes to show that the Libyan people are tough and have brave hearts; ignoring the situation and making the most out of life. MashaAllah you’re doing a great job, a remarkable, hard working mother doing her best for herself, her children and her family and may Allah grant you and your family with the best of health and prosperity, and to all the Libyan families.
    But I’m sure maybe further improvement regardless of who’s at the top would be good for Libya.
    With regards to the ‘treadmill of life’, I think I didn’t explain the idea I was trying to get across. I’m sure people everywhere in the world people experience the ‘treadmill of life’ yet the treadmill’s intensity and properties will differ in different countries and different situations. I mean there are more significant things for the Libyan people to worry and think about before trying to think about other people’s life in order to ‘broaden their horizons.’ The stagnating situation of the labour market which is affecting the youth’s career prospects and their lives, a great article here explains the problems that the Libyan unemployed are facing.
    Quote from the article:
    ‘Tripoli's Al-Rasheed Street is known as a hang-out for Libya's jobless citizens, some of whom try to sell anything for pocket-money.’
    I’m sure it’s not the peoples fault for being unemployed? In a lecture titled liberal economics, I was taught that the government and economic policy makers are the providers for generating the correct environment for positive economic growth. Yet one sees no true intention of facilitation.

    So for the time being people like one says in Libyan are ‘laahyeen bee hamhum’ rather ‘haaam naas’ I do not blame for that, but by bettering their conditions domestically with better health care, schooling, local councils etc then they can become relaxed and their basic needs are met and thus are open to new ideas and to different cultures.
    So before offering reggae artists, offer a better health system, then reggae, rap, punk and rock artists can come in their masses if they want.
    ‘The fair offers a wonderful opportunity for Libyans - don't turn up your nose at what is offered, but encourage those here to take advantage of a chance to broaden their horizons.’ Does the fair offer employment to unemployed graduates? Does it offer better housing for low income families? Does it offer better health care to those who need it? None of these are offered so what am I turning up my nose on? Basic facilities should be improved then state of the art international fairs, music and cultural festivals should be offered.
    At the moment there are more important things that need sorting out, then the luxuries and extra’s can come after.
    Pessimistic, that’s what the regime has been for the past 36 years, only now is it trying to redefine its pessimism by trying to re-develop their image. So by highlighting key areas such as tackling unemployment I’m being pessimistic? By expressing the need to improve health care and the general living conditions in cities, towns and villages I’m being pessimistic? Interesting, I think the government and fair organisers should really need to pay the plane fare and accommodation of a reggae artist or maybe superman/woman to tackle our problems.
    All the best InshaAllah,

  9. Yes 7mada, there is a big problem with unemployment in Libya. Part of the problem is that Libyans don't want to work unless they can be the boss, the manager, the supervisor or the one in charge.

    I was always taught that you went out and got a job and worked your way to the top - not began there. If you were desperate to work you would take what you could find and keep on looking for something better while you did your best to support yourself. Here the typical Libyan sits around feeling sorry for themselves while oportunities pass them by.

    In my lifetime I've done all kinds of jobs, many that Libyans would definitely turn there noses up at!

    Libya's problems are not going to be solved overnight - so could we please be allowed to enjoy a little music and an afternoon at the fair for crying out loud?

    Ya'allah teef!

  10. LoL, yes that’s true, I was certainly never brought up that way. 'The harder you climb the better the view when you reach the top.' Plus there is no shame in making an honest living whatever your job position is. It’s the intention that counts. But unfortunately like you said not all Libyans understand this.

    Success of a nation is balance between individuals and the administration.
    Instead of young youths wasting their time damaging their tires and causing havoc on the streets, they should express ideas on how to better their neighbourhoods and clean their streets.

    Enjoy your afternoon :)

  11. Please visit Sufyan's myspace page and listen to his piano playing. He is awesome. He hails from Libya and hopes to travel to continue his study in Piano.

    He's been playing piano and flute for over 20 years, never took a lesson in his life! His father passed along his love for keyboards and Sufyan took off from there.

    Piano playing is not popular in his North African country, so he hopes to travel overseas someday.

    I, myself, played piano, taking lessons during my adolescent and teen years and while I am a good pianist, I never achieved what he has. He has a true gift and pours his emotions into his playing.

    It is my wish to help him live his dream, to share his talent and his love for piano with the world.

    Please pass along Sufyan's myspace page to everyone that enjoys the piano. He is a true gem. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
    nad here too

    and what do you think

    Thank you for listening,


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