Friday, December 22, 2006

Education in Libya

Recently an office opened up in a house in a residential area of Tripoli. While passing by I noticed that they had installed a sign announcing that this was the 'home' of the Libyan National Commission for Education, Culture and Science.

I found a few things rather strange about this. First, was that the sign was written in both Arabic and English. What's strange about that, you ask? Well, according to Libyan laws it is illegal to have any signs in languages other than Arabic. Stiff fines are imposed on anyone who breaks this law. I guess that the education commission is exempt, but that's weird because I think these are a the same people who are behind the law in the first place.

But what is even more of an eye opener is that on closer inspection of the sign I found this:

I wasn't sure whether I should cry, laugh, or just feel ashamed.


  1. they should be ashamed not you. This is the commission for education!!

  2. ah misspell in every where, I wonder how much it coast this sign, if you don't know go and ask, specially with misspell like this!

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. No cry and no shame, just laugh.
    You rock teri.

  5. eeehhh , nothing new and i'm getting used to things like that , don't cry , laugh !! just ignore .

  6. Oh my God, my sister works there, she has been working with this commission for 10 years now, I am going to call her and bash her for this mistake, as she is the head of the translation department. I don't think that these have anything to do with putting laws. This only a national branch of UNESCO. a UN organization, my sister tells many funny stories about the people that work with her. this is maybe one of them.

  7. that is so funny but typical!
    why is it illegal for signs to be in other languages that's a wierd law?

  8. Ghazi no need to bash your sister , it is at times the sign printers fault :) I have seen so many hilarious embarassing mistakes in the Arab world and you should see the ones made on leaflets in English by Taiwanese and Chinese makers it is ridiculous quality control I would say .

    Thanks KhadijaTeri , this photo is priceless !!!!!!

  9. The painters did that one letter at a time with stencil, you can see it in the closeup, the alignment isn't quite even. They just got two of the letters reversed. Easily fixed, I'm sure.... somebody just needs to point it out to them :)

  10. Since English is not there mother tongue perhaps we should forgive the spelling error. I do find it interesting that a government sign is written in English. My first thought is that maybe the government it relaxing some laws. I hope so.

  11. ol... when did we all become so perfect,,,, i love things that just are a bit off... something just nit right.... what a great find....ill bet most of us missed it......hugs holly

  12. First let's congratulate them for approving the bilingual signs, second a very typical kind of mistake, let’s forgive them for this one ;o) and just laught lol

  13. It happens everywhere, those in power are able to do anything even in a so-called democratic country like mine.

  14. Maybe it is to help with the promise of tourism? But spelling it right would help. At least now I can read the signs!

  15. I too like it . It is a reflection of the unique flavor of Libya . Like the no Baking Sign in your " Where is This" series .By the way the No Barking sign has been repainted and is now covered in a lovely mellow yellow with fabulous tulips all over it . So pretty for that area .Nice change of pace . Happy Hollidays KT !

  16. "I" before "E" except when after "C". English sure is a wierd language!

  17. You remind me of seeing once a sighn of "Tripoli International Fear" in the streets of Tripoli!



  20. I remember when I would go to Borgh El-Fateha for work. At first noticed that there was a sign that stated in English, not Arabic, no Parking. It was carefuly painted on the side of the road. A few days later someone had pain stakingly re-painted the sign to say No Barking. That is the reason I took that picture of that sign, I would just laugh imagining the conversation over no Parking or Barking, then someone stubbornly changing the sign arround. The scenerios in my head were endless. I love Libya!!

  21. while it would be of importance for institution imparting knowledge to ensure not to commit mistake. But would it be correct to feel so badly about a mistake in foreign language. 1. It is common for non-native speakers depending upon their level of learning.
    2. Knowing good English does not mean your knowledgeable or sage & vice versa.

    So try to learn and correct but dont be overwhelmed with foreign culture or language to this extent!


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