Friday, June 06, 2008

Beach time coming soon

Soon the beaches in Libya will be packed with summer beachgoers. I always have found it weird that most Libyans have no idea how to swim, especially since Libya has such a long coastline on the Mediterranean Sea. Many will tell you 'I know how to swim!' and you find out that their idea of swimming is moving their arms and splashing about, all the while their feet are still firmly planted on the bottom. That is NOT swimming.

Every summer you hear of people drowning, usually because the person was swept out to sea by a strong current called a riptide. Most of these tragic events could be prevented if people were educated on how to save themselves from these powerful water currents.

Here's what you need to know: Survive a Riptide

Unfortunately I don't have a link to such information in Arabic, which would be helpful to most Libyans. Maybe someone can point one out in the comments.

Please share this information and have a safe and happy summer!


  1. How dare you? Many Libyans, high class Libyans, can swim better than your average fat American. You obviously hang about with Shlaftiya too much. Stop being so derogatory of our people and sayy something nice for a change or go back to America if you hate Libyans so much.

  2. High class Libyans.. hmmm... I think I need to recover from laughing so hard!


  3. Dear Sister,
    I have read many of your posts and
    I have a feeling that the Libya you have come to know in your long stay in the country is "confined" "fixed" and "stagnant". however, the Libya I and many others experience on daily basis is much more vibrant and exciting. Libyans are resourcful and lustful for life. I have personally enjoyed the Libyan sea with thousands of Libyans throughot the 1980s and 1990 and most men knew how to swim (although they could do with some extra skills).

    Dear sister,
    do you really know Libya or are you too much inside a little comfertable bubble you built for yourself long time ago as a protection from your then new and possibly terrefying Libyan adventure?

    with respect and best wishes

    Musa Ali

  4. ANONYMOUS, It is a shame you could not see this particular blog was for the protection and warning of non swimmers and HOW TO SURVIVE A RIPTIDE. DOES NOT MATTER OF YOUR NATIONALITY. My goodness!!! Sandi

  5. Terry, you are abslotely correct in observing that most Libyans don't know how to swim well. I grew up in Tripoli, the capital city, and I've never heared of swimimg classes being thought anywhere. If you're lucky, you have an older brother that will be patient enough to teach you how to swim in the sea, and that is how I learned. I no of very few Libyan woman that can swim. And thanks a million for the link to the rip currents, it is very educational.

  6. Musa Ali... I don't know what kind of vibrant and exciting life you were busy leading with the lustful Libyans.... lol... But I can say that my long stay is niether fixed, confined nor stagnant. I do appreciate that you were able to find those words in the dictionary and spell them correctly. Now see if you can do the same for: resourcful, throughot, comfertable and terrefying.

    What on earth this all has to do with a post about saving lives, by learning the skills needed when you are stuck in a riptide, is beyond me.

    A terrifying adventure?.. sorry, it's never been terrifying. (maybe a little lustful... I did manage to have 6 kids).. lolololol....

  7. A lot of dumb anonymous in our nation
    They need swim classes and education

    Angry anonymous try to get rid of the grim
    It’s about Libyans who do know how to swim

    Khadija points out the danger of RIPTIDE
    It’s a fact N’ a problem goes on nationwide
    Get caught in one there’s no place to hide

    Most Libyans do not want to be criticized
    Even for their own good, still get terrified

    It’s not about you or Americans my friend
    It’s about learning and force you to attend

  8. Thank u very much Teri,
    this is the translation :

    ماذا لوتعرضت الى تيار سحب قوى داخل البحر
    مايجب معرفته اولا هو ان لاتفزع لانه مهما كانت قوت التيار فانه من السهل الهروب منه ؛

    1.حافظ على قدميك مثبتتين بالقاع هدا سيساعدك على ان لا يتم جرفك بعيدا .

    2.ابق فى حالة هدوء فان التيار سيجرفك جانبا لكنه لا يسحب تحت الماء .

    3.ادا لم تستطع ثتبيث قدميك ولمس القاع والتيار قوى جدا فلا تقاومه فحتى امهر السباحين ستنهك قواه ، حافظ على طاقتك وبقى عائما .

    4.اطلب المساعدة فورا ادا كنت لا تعرف السباحة فهده التيارات هى الاخطر بالنسبة للذين لا يعرفون السباحة ، اصرخ ولوح بيديك حتى يلاحظك الباقين .

    5.اسبح بموازاة الشاطىء للخروج من التيار ، التيارات البحرية عادة ماتكون ضيقة ، لدا كل ماتحتاجه هو خطوة الى الجانب بدلا من السباحة عكس التيار ، استمر بالسباحة الموازية لشاطىء حتى ادا جرفك التيار فلن تبتعد اكتر من 100-150 قدم من النقطة التى كنت فيها .

    6.ادا كنت لا تعرف السباحة او انهكت طوف على ظهرك عادة ما ينحسر التيار بالقرب من الشاطىء ولن يجرفك اكثر استعد طاقتك واسبح نحوالشاطىء .

    7.عندما تخرج من التيار انت اما على خطوة منه او انك جرفت بعيدا ؛ حاول ان تكون سباحتك نحو الشاطىء بشكل قطرى بدلا من السباحة بشكل مستقم حتى تتفادى العودة الى مكان التيار .

    8.تذكر دائما ان تطفو فى حالة الاعياء وان تحافظ على هدوءك ودائما تمتع بالبحر رفقت الاصدقاء والعائلة .

    (للاسف معظم الشواطىء الليبية تفتقر للمراقبين والاشارات التحذيرية ) ولكن لا يمنع ان تلقى نظرة على المكان لعلى وعسى ربى يهديهم !!!

    PS: The translation is edited not literal.

  9. Dear Khadija,
    to me English is a second language which I don't need to perfect (especially when it comes to the infamous English spelling). how much of Arabic can you spell and speak yourself after 20 years in Libya? and anyway, the language is not really the issue here.

    My comment was not related to your post on swimming only, but to your whole blog which I have been reading on and off for the last two years or so.

    Libya is a country that in the last 6 decades has been going through the most radical and unpredictable changes a society can go through and it’s a shame that you are missing out on the good things taking place everywhere in the country because you are so fixed on the bad stuff.

  10. Im not so sure that dear Khadija hates Libya with all the PR she does..POSITIVE PR!!!
    Anon looks like u hate to be educated...unlike other Libyans of course

  11. Hi Khadija(Teri)
    I love your blogs it just like im watching "Little Britain" series lol.
    You know you're good keep writing'.
    Well i never seen high class Libyans on the beach lol i mean im Libyan as well n i def. know what's happening inside.
    I understood your blog its only abt people who dont knw how to swim!!! not Libya itself ayt ? lol

    I apologies on behalf of people comment in. This is the problem with us that we don't appreciate or welcome foreigners that why population is not increasing.. that is why Libya's economy is so small i don't think that Libya will ever become France or Dubai. but i still love Libya. yeah it's true i feel borin all the time but than its still safe place on the earth :).
    lol lol
    Thank you Teri
    I'm expectin your next blog yay i cant wait ... Good Luck

  12. Well thanks for the tips it helps a lot
    I don't why some people got offend by this post ?
    yes I'm libyan and Libyans don't know how to swim
    swimming is not Saltowat and nfas wa ghates wa takziz wa mattan
    the one who drifts good doesn't make him a good driver !!
    We don't care about something called SAFETY! that's our problem
    you shouldn't swim in bad weather it's not a race
    i know a guy who was the best swimmer i ever know died in "salto" allah yar7mah in bad weather he jump and the wave was to fast so his head crushed into a "scoglio" sorry i don't know the word in english
    so what is so wrong of warning people and learning how to protect ourselves Huh? yes i know our country is f**ked up but lets we the new generation make it better place to live
    we are bad drivers we are bad swimmer we are bad fighters also lol
    the first post really pissed me off
    we have to change this sick
    mentality to get better and sorry for my English
    anyway it's great blog .

  13. Dear Khadija,
    although we had a disagreement on the way you dealt with the issue of safe swimming in libya, your post has inspired me to make this educational video, with my wife, to help our fellow Libyans avoid rip currents and how to escape them.
    so thank you very much for pointing out this problem and hope that you direct your readers to the video at:

    best wishes

    Musa Ali

  14. Who is this person that u met and assured you they can swimm, then turns out they had to keep their feet touching the bottom ?

    is it a retarded person ? a liar ? firstly it is obvious that touching the sea bed with ur feet is simply walking in the sea (or bathing). personaly- i dont even think that u know this "person"..

    or could it simply be another sponateneous urge to blog and post over very very little information?

    as an american woman(you). I would assume that YOU are assuming to know it all.perhaps you missed the fact that the word swimming in the Libyan dialect simply implies being in the water, regardless of the activity you are holding down there . if a Libyan man said : "alwaled ya'oom" wich means "the boy swimms", then all he said was that the boy was in the water.

    if this person is in their 40's or less and cant swimm then libya or not, this is one hell of an exception.

    also I find ur generalising of a whole nations ability to swimm very vicious and low(I know, all this for swimming !).perhaps you could win a job at one of those scavenger news agency that are popping out everywhere. you know , the type of newsers that would bring any stupid remarks just to fuel the dynamic of their tv viewings and online participance.

    to finish I would like to aknowledge the complete unecessarity of this "couldnt be more indirectly Racist " post of yours.

    for like mentioned elsewhere in the comment page- A woman in your condition must have formed one hell of an unpermeable buble protecting you and blinding you from completely felling and mingling with the Libyan people. I guess changing ur first name didnt work that well for you.
    (is the limitation of ur arab speaking skill worth all the tention that ur post caused?)if yes, then once more : You are an uncarring evil woman who must feel alienised in her surroundig(but still I could be wrong as i dont know you, and have only landed in your blog by following random links).

    and what about high class Libyans? i'm pretty sure the life My parents offered me is miles away higher from 90% of the rest of world's class,- yes high class libyans exist, they just dont go replying to every low move they encounter.

    please know that I dont have anything personal against you, but even the most suculent food looks disgusting when presented to you inside an old shoe instead of a silver plate.

    Muhanned Elmansuri

  15. Muhanned - More than one person has told me they cannot swim. It was a big discussion one day in my classroom that was full of Libyan students at Upper Intermediate and Advanced English levels. We had the discussion in English. The topic we were working on was sport and what sport the students did or were able to do or possibly wanted to do/learn in the future. All of the students in the class were under age 30.

    A woman in my condition.... hmm.. what exactly to you mean by that? Usually when one speaks in English about a woman being in a condition it refers to a woman who is pregnant. Well, I'm not. But I do have six children - ALL OF WHOM ARE LIBYAN.

    I 'mingle' with Libyans daily. Not only are my children, husband and inlaws Libyan so are the majority of my students. And my students are quite happy to 'mingle' with me outside of the classroom too.

    And I certainly am not an 'evil or uncaring woman'. I'm not sure how you think you can lable me as such by just reading one post on my blog.

    I cannot understand why someone would get so insenced by me saying that the majority of Libyans are unable to swim. It happens to be a fact. And until I see swim clubs opening up here that offer swimming lessons so that Libyans can learn how to swim properly (with their feet off the bottom) I don't see it changing. I spent many summers in my childhood taking swimming lessons, diving lessons and even became a certified lifeguard by the time I was thirteen. I know what I'm talking about.

    Most Libyans simply CANNOT swim. It's the truth.... accept it.


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