Saturday, August 27th, 2011 | 27th Ramadan
A few days ago while my husband and my son Yusef were out and about they came across a group of opposition fighters from Misrata. It turned out that one of them was a friend of one of my husband’s cousins. Libya after all is a small world and if you sit down to talk to someone for any length of time you will usually find some kind of connection. They chatted for a bit and then everyone went their separate ways.
Quite by chance they met up again the following day. Yusef ended up spending the day with the group. To say that he was thrilled is an understatement. He’s joined them and is off on an adventure. Actually he is unofficially part of their group; he hasn’t registered to be a fighter because he is underage. He’s unarmed and tags along as kind of a gopher, no matter, it’s certainly just as dangerous and he is delighted and honored to be a part of the liberation of Libya.
What are my feelings about this? Hmmm…. It’s easy to say boys will be boys. On the one hand I am proud of my son. He is eager to free Libya in any way he can. On the other hand I am terrified that he could be injured – or worse. When he’s out I try to keep in contact with him but the phone coverage is miserable and I can’t always get through to him. I also am doing my best to convince myself that most of the fighting is over in Tripoli thus making Yusef’s new role a safer one. And Yusef comes home to sleep.
Last night, after spending the entire evening trying in vain to get a phone call through to Yusef, the phone rang. It was nearly three o’clock in the morning and it was Yusef. ‘Mom! I’m almost home. I’m bringing the guys! Cook us something!’ he said excitedly. ‘How many are coming with you?’ I asked. ‘Just six’ he replied as the phone disconnected.
I went in the bedroom to wake my husband up to tell him the news, then headed for the kitchen to cook up a large pot of ‘Macrona Umbakbaka’ a spicy Libyan pasta dish flavoured with tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, fresh basil and big chunks of beef jerky. My husband went out to the grape vines and picked enough grapes to fill a huge bowl, and we made sure there was plenty of ice cold water and juice to drink.
Our dogs began to bark, announcing the arrival of our special guests who pulled their heavily armored vehicle into the farm and drove it all the way into the far corner. They refused to come anywhere near the house, preferring to stay outside in the dark field under the starlit sky. ‘We’ve been outside for five months’ they said. ‘We are used to it this way.’
They ate and rested a bit. Soon it was dawn and time for them to move off, and for Yusef to head to bed for some much needed sleep. It was certainly an honor to feed the freedom fighters. May God watch over them and keep them safe.