Wednesday, March 02, 2011

A normal day in Tripoli

It's some kind of a holiday here in Libya - 2 March; the anniversary of the declaration of Libya as a Jamahiriya in 1977. I'm not going to go into an explanation here, you can find out more if you are interested here. One thing I was sure was that there would most likely be a big long speech. And I was right, of course.

I haven't been out of the house in over a week and I wanted to get out. I needed to refill some medicine, so hubby and I went for a drive. Essential shops were open; pharmacies, grocery stores, butcher's, and bakers which had long lines of people. Most of the vegetable stands were closed - the Egyptians who had previously run them had left. In some areas farmers had parked pick-up trucks along side the roads to sell their produce. The supermarkets were busy, but most of the basic food stuffs are running low. The aisle that had once been full of ladies sanitary needs had only 5 packages on the bottom shelf so I took all five and made a mental note to hunt down more. The gas stations were open and cars were lined up waiting for fuel. The rest of the shops were closed, their green shutters rolled down, some of them with graffiti that had been covered with paint of various colours.

We drove around the city to see what was happening. Women holding shopping bags hurried about with worried looks on their faces. Men wearing green scarves around their necks were busy putting up green flags. Pick-up trucks with oil-company stickers slapped on the sides but without licence plates were parked at roundabouts, doors and windows open to reveal uniformed men with machine guns inside. A huge crowd of people were at the port waiting to board a ship that would evacuate them to safety. Anti-aircraft guns were  placed at various places along the coast road. The weather was beautiful but no one was enjoying the day. The whole atmosphere was weird, it felt as if you were being watched or followed. It felt as though any second something horrible could happen - it felt unsafe.

We arrived home and found the speech in full swing. I put away the groceries and sat down to watch, mostly to see if I recognized anyone in the audience. He droned on and on, repeating the same things he's been saying the past week, from time to time taking a break so the audience could chant slogans (and wake themselves up). After a while I got bored and took a nap. 

I'm getting tired of staying at home. The kids want to go back to school again. Today I said to a friend: 'I want things to be normal again.' and she laughed and replied 'Things have never been normal in Libya!'


  1. Hi Khadija-Teri, thinking of you and so glad to be hearing from you regularly via your blog. We are now in Malta, having evacuated via ferry but we're still so sad to have left Libya and very much hope to return. Your words bring all our feelings of our last days in Libya flooding back. Praying for your continued safety.

    Emma (Look Out Libya)

  2. Thank you for posting. I can't imagine what it's like for you right now. I loved our time in Libya and it's very hard to think of it in such chaos. I laughed at your friends comment "nothings normal in Libya", no its not, but it is truly a beautiful place and I sincerely hope that it gets back to some normality soon. I'll be back here every day, stay safe and stay strong. Kirstyxx

  3. Even from the other side of the world, the tension is high. I check your blog and the news first thing every morning. The whole world's wondering How's It Going To End?

    Good luck. Stay safe.

  4. How far is Malta from Libya? We have a couple of Maltese women who post on this Omani forum I am a member of. Man, you are brave. I would be crying every day from things being so abnormal and this is a soldier in the US Army talking. God bless you and your family to keep you all safe.

  5. Marianne68 - Malta is about a one hour flight away.

    Em & Woz - I'm glad you are safe. Hope you are back to look out some more in Libya

    Garry - thanks!

  6. Kirsty... you get a different perspective of things when you can step back from them and look. I need to have the space to step back...sigh..

  7. Have you made plans to evacuate your family to the United States? Are you husband and children American passport holders?

  8. A half-normal day in Tripooli. Like Garry, I'm asking "How's it going to end" ?
    I wish you and your family very good days in the next future.

  9. I am Libyan studying now in the US. I have been following your blog for about a month, I like it. keep us updated since your are one of the sources I use to know what is going on my city "Tripoli"

  10. Hello Teri,reading your post today was heartbreaking and somehow surreal in my imagination.
    You are one strong woman ,its so hard to be there at the moment,the way you wrote about it explains it all.In our prayers always.Lovely Libya..will we ever get to see you the way u were again?

  11. assalam alaikum, hope you are safe!! I check your blog everyday and didn't see any news since Wednesday!! greetings from Egypt

  12. Hi Teri
    I read your blog daily to learn what is happening in Tripoli. Praying for your and family's safety. HB

  13. Thinking about you and your family,Hoping you're safe

  14. Dear Teri,
    Please post when you can. I'm sure I am not speaking only for myself in telling you I'm worried. I, along with many others check every day to see how you and your family are doing.

    I've only recently discovered your blog. I've been following it every day since the uprising. I was looking for a personal account of what was going on.

    I hope all is alright. Thinking about you and your family (takes my mind off my own!).

  15. Hoping that the current situation isn't getting normal for you! Take care!

    Greeting from H.

  16. Good to know that you are safe and been able to a stock upto some extent. We hear that the fight is slowly edging towards capital. However, things are moving the other way as well against rebels.

    We pray that the conflict is not long drawn for the sake of all.

  17. Thinking about you...We have 20 or so kids from Tripoli coming to our kids school here in Spain...My youngest was one of the new boys' "buddy" much these kids are going thru...I hope you are okay...are you still in Libya? Haven't seen anything from you for a while now...

  18. Hi Khadija,

    What is happening, you are not posting any more. Are you ok???

  19. I am an italian woman about 36.
    I found your blog today.
    In the coming days I will read it in detail. I appreciate the "rebels" (as they call them in our news) because the fight for freedom.
    We Italians unfortunately we are too individualistic to fight, so we'll keep forever Gaddafi Italian: Berlusconi.

    I hope he dies soon.
    Love, Melampa.

  20. I've been checking for a new post, and it's been nine days now. I am praying you and your family are safe and well. Maybe you had to evacuate? Please let us know when you can. My heart goes out to you, and all the residents of the first country I ever loved.

  21. I check the reports from Libya with more trepidation every day now. The implications of Colonel Mustard and his chums winning this are unfathomable. You and Libya are in my thoughts.

  22. I hope you are safe and well!

    Best wishes!


  23. You have been nominated for The Tribute Award- For more details about this check out-

  24. You have been nominated for The Tribute Award- For more details about this check out-

  25. Teri, you and your family are very much in my thoughts. I am confident that you are all fine, and your silence for this time is due to the internet being down. If you somehow see this, know that we are thinking about you.

  26. Dear fellow commenters, PLEASE, before it is all over, be careful what you are posting here!
    KhadijaTeri, I keep thinking of you and of the Libyan people.

  27. Insha Allah things will be normal in Libya...Have Faith :)

  28. Assalamualaikum warahmatulahi wabarakatuhu,

    Dear Khadija, hope all is well with you and your loved ones. I am worried to see the latest development in Libya. I am sending lots and lots of du'a your way.


    Dewi (Indonesia)

  29. Dear Khadija, I'm praying for you and all my libyan friends, they have been my family when I lived there and will never forget.

    Please let us know any news


  30. Like many other people outside Libya, I check your blog daily, hoping to read news about your family. News reporters give us the picture from their perspective; but we are hungry to know what is truly going on beneath the headlines. Have you left the country? I pray that you are safe.

  31. Hello ! No news from you. I hope, you and your family are OK

  32. I tried to google your name around to search for latest news about you. There is no news except of the fighting becoming bigger and wider.

    I do hope and pray that you and your family are safe.

  33. Hope you and your family are fine and healty! Hope the situation will change for the better.
    Hold on, we are thinking of you and your fellow Libyans.

    Greetings from holland

  34. Hi Teri,

    You've probably seen in your blog stats that there's been at least one visit from Qatar every day, sometimes twice a day. I check each morning and sometimes that evening to see if you've returned. I have my fingers and toes crossed that your silence is due to a lack of internet access or that you've decided it may be better to keep quiet.

    It has seemed pointless to leave a message, but today I find myself compelled to write. I want you to know that there is not a day that goes by that I don't think of you. I wonder about food shortages and what you may be going without. I think about your children, their safety. I wonder how you feel about others getting out and if you are angry and weary of hearing their stories.

    Thinking of you always and hoping there is an end to this soon.


  35. Hi I am sorry for his random posting. I am just trying to get help from as many people as I can. Thank you in advance. I was wondering if you could take a look at my blog and read the posts.

  36. I totally enjoy your blog and am grateful for your comments about the beautiful country and the current situation. My family is praying for your safety and I look forward to your next post.

  37. You and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Stay safe.... ~Dana


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