Friday, September 15, 2006

Taweel bila ghalla

My mom says Adam is 6 foot 3 now! He's gotten taller since he's been gone. Yusef is taller than me now too. A few weeks ago we were the same height but now he's a few inches taller than me. We went out to buy school clothes and I made sure that his trousers were nice and long. They'll be short in no time at the rate he is going.

I've always prayed that my boys would be tall. For the most part, Libyans are short. The tallest man in the world for a long time was a Libyan man, Suleiman Ali Nashnush. He was 8 ft. 1/2 in. tall. I could never really figure that out because this is really the land of short guys - how on earth did that happen? On the other hand, my husband thinks being tall is pretty useless. When I say about someone 'Oh look how nice and tall he is!' he always replies 'Taweel bila ghalla!' which means tall but useless. There is a nursery rhyme about the fingers of the hand - a kind of Arabic version of 'This little piggy' and the middle finger is called Taweel bila ghalla... he's just jealous because he's short - (at least I think so). Ha!


  1. I saw Suleiman Ali Nashnush driving a Vespa back in 1964. He was amazingly tall. His feet were as long as the floorboard on that Vespa. We drove along with him for sometime so we had a good look. He smilled as I recall.

  2. A friend of ours is 7 feet tall and married to his cousin, who measures 4´6". All of their children are short except for one girl that grows like her dad. They come from Tunisia.
    On the other hand my own (female) cousin is very short, but has a size 8 1/2 in shoes.

    I do not agree with you, sis K, that Libyan people are short. When in Libya I find women both shorter and higher than me (I am 168) but when I go to Lebanon and especially Syria, the women are all so much shorter than me, and I always feel clumsy and akward there. In Syria people say I am high, but in Libya I was average.

  3. I used to see Suliman Nashnush in tripoli as well, back in late 70s i think, he used to drive a car that had no driver's seat but just infront of the backseat he had a tiny stool attached to the floor of the car and that is where he sat when driving. he was for a while in the top 10 tallest men in the world as recorded in the Guiness book of Records.
    I was told once that he was offered a part in a James Bond film but for some reason he didnt take it.

  4. I'm 6-05 and I suffered a lot from the Tweel bla ghalla syndrome!! after high school everything changed !
    Telle Adam that girls prefer tall guys :-)

  5. Safia - They think I'm tall here - but I'm considered average to short in America. The Syrians I know are all short. My daughter's friend is half Syrian and half Libyan. I've nicknamed her Mini.

    Hehehe... remember that song from way back when... short people.. hehehe

  6. our grandmothers used to say:
    el toul lill khshab wel gosr lill d'hab!a bon entendeur salut!
    stranded in California


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