Wednesday, November 30, 2011

November Cricket

Years ago my friend wrote a poem called November Cricket. She gave it to me on a peice of paper that I keep stored away as a keepsake. I seem to come across it every November when I do the annual fall deep cleaning. When I find it I stop everything, go in the kitchen to make myself a cup of coffee and then I sit quietly with coffee and poem for a while, thanking God for giving me such a wonderful and dear friend. 

It's the last day of November and I came across the poem today. I thought it'd be nice to share.

November Cricket

November Cricket singing by my kitchen door-

You fill my heart with gladness,

You fill my heart with joy.


Now as evening falls

Your merry little notes fill the peaceful air


"This is a happy home."


Yes, you know we face our share

Of trials and tribulations.

Yet we are richly blessed

With all the goodness that comes

From our Father up above.


Sing November Cricket!

November Cricket-

I love you.


Rhonda Ahmed - November 16, 2001  

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

The end of the story or maybe the beginning

We spotted the praying mantis that has been hanging about the plumeria in our garden (here and here). Ibrahim found her on the front porch laying an egg-case on the wall and ran into the house to alert me to what was going on. 'Bring the camera mom!'

Mantis lay anywhere from 50 to 200 eggs that are encased in a bubbly foam that later dries into an egg-case called an ootheca. It will take aproximately 5 months for the eggs to hatch. 

We've enjoyed watching the mantis's life cycle in our garden. Other things have been happening in the garden lately too. Our pair of tortoises have been romancing and a bird has made a nest in one of the light fixtures on the porch. Flocks of migrating birds have been flying overhead. The early rains this year have turned the fields green and wildflowers are beginning to bloom.

Real life! It's more entertaining than television! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Something Different For A Change

I didn't do anything special on Thanksgiving. It was a normal day for me here. But today was different: I invited a whole bunch of my girlfriends over for a morning coffee get together. Eighteen ladies showed up, each one brought a dish of scrumptious food to share. And that meant there was a ton of food... yummy yum! 

But better than food it was great to see everyone again. We talked, we laughed, we shared our news and gave thanks for all things. One of my friends surprised us with some beautiful music. A song called Change - a new Libyan revolution song that my friend's daughter, Malak, helped create - she's the beautiful backup voice. It's a really pretty song with lots of meaning. I don't know who the male singer is. If you know please share in the comments. Well done Malak! I'm so proud of you.

Download the song here: Change

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sharing the moment

I have had such a wonderful day. Everyone I met was in a good mood. And on my way home after work I went to the grocery store and everyone was staring at the TV while the Prime Minister announced the new cabinet. We all just stopped, watched and shared the moment. When it was over I called out 'Mabrouk everybody! It's a new Libya!'

Saturday, November 19, 2011

They've got him at last!

They've finally captured Saif Al-shaitan Kadafy. From the pictures it looks like someone has chopped off his fingers. Let's hope they manage to keep the rest of him in one peice so he can stand trial. 

I heard the news while I was in a meeting. On the way home I got stuck in traffic for two hours... but it was HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY traffic!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Flashback - Unexploded Ordnance in Tripoli

My wimax connection is on again off again as usual, but when it's on it's seems to be a bit faster. But then again maybe this is due to the fact that our computers, laptops, netbooks, smartphones and other gadgets are pretty much updated. The internet comes on and we all  get online and everything starts to automatically update at once, putting a drain on our already slow connection. 

Today I decided to look at Google Earth - but first I had to update it... and then reboot... and then connect to the net... and finally have a look. The first thing I noticed was that the imagery in the area where I live had all been updated shortly after the liberation of Tripoli. Fantastic! 

One of the places I looked at first was the ammunition dump that was bombed in August that gave me the biggest fright of my life. I posted the experience here: August 2011  It still scares me; from time to time I have flashbacks and I have to stop and take a deep breath and pull myself together.

Imagery date: August 29, 2011 - Click on the images to see larger versions. 

In contrast - the imagery below shows the same site at the beginning of March - before the No Fly Zone was imposed. You can see that it was being used to store munitions at that time. Such a shame that Kadafy thought so little of the civilians living in the area. I suspect most people had no idea what was being stored there. We always thought it was an old unused camp.

Below is the other part of the camp after the bombardment. There are less munitions here but still a substantial amount can be seen.

Here you can see how close the bomb craters and unexploded ordnance are to the main road.
This place is a little over a mile away from me as the crow flies. It's actually two sites that are separated from one another by a small road with the main Ain Zara road running adjacent to it's western perimeter wall. The businesses and homes across the street from the site suffered a huge amount of damage but I have not heard of anyone having lost their life as a result of NATO's bombardment of the area. We were told that leaflets had been dropped warning the people to evacuate the area - but I've not seen any of the leaflets myself. In most areas where leaflets were dropped they were quickly collected and destroyed by pro-Kadafy forces.

Damage from the exploding munitions.
More damage
Some of the shops are actually being renovated although I'm not sure whether the structures would be able to pass any safety standards... but what am I thinking... it's all in God's hands here. If the building falls down while you are in it - then so be it! It was written.... sigh....

One of the issues facing the NTC is to secure munitions dumps and sites such as these. Hundreds of bombs and rockets are clearly visible through the broken wall; there is only razor-wire between the broken bits of wall and the main road. In some places the unexploded bombs are less than 30 feet from the road.

I don't think it would be possible for anyone to walk in and drag off any of the bombs that are still scattered about. They are way too heavy for anyone to manage on their own. My concern is that they might be sabotaged in some way or that they could detonate somehow by accident. I hope they clean up this site soon. Everyday I drive down that road and I say a few prayers. 

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Call for papers - Culture in the Era of (Post)Modern Migrations

Posting this in case anyone is interested in submitting a paper about the migration issues that were the result of the revolution/civil war in Libya. See below for details.



SIETAR Polska and the Institute of Regional Studies at the Jagiellonian University in Cracow is pleased to invite you to the international conference:

"Culture in the Era of (Post)Modern Migrations"

The conference will be held in Cracow, Poland on 15th and 16th December 2011.

Migration has been a constant in human history. Already in ancient times, settlers used to relocate due to "push & pull" factors: better living conditions (climate, fertile soils, richer pasturage, more abundant game), safety from enemies, or simply the draw of new lands and new life. In the modern era migration has not ceased; indeed, it has become a common, even universal phenomenon.

Contemporary trends in human movements share, to some extent, features with the previous ones. However, despite the similarities in form and cause, the effects of current migrations remain less clear and do not permit yet a full accounting.

The objective of the conference is to invite discussion from scientists, researchers and practitioners involved in the migration issues both on the local, regional, national and global level. The organizers hope to prompt a lively opportunity to discuss, analyze and exchange thoughts and points of view concerning processes associated with or initiated by current migrations.

We would be happy to welcome presentations to the following panels:
- Culture and "people on the move" as objects for new research methods within social sciences and humanities
- Unsolved problems of migration management - politics and economy
- Migration in the context of globalization - Worlds of modern nomads - from reality to virtuality
- Travel and tourism as modus vivendi of the 21st century
- Space, place, time in the era of (post)modern migrations

Conditions for participation:
- Registration through the conference website: later then 10th November 2011
- Payment of the conference fee in Polish zloty: 490,00 PLN, no later than the 25th November 2011 (please note that the payment must be conducted in accordance with the guidelines specified in the registration system)
Cancellation after November 15, 2011 - no refund of registration fee.
Cancellation must be conferred in writing.
- Submission of the full paper or presentation no later than the 1st December 2011 (please note that the paper should be written according to the editorial guidelines given in the Annex)
Attention! Important -> Abstract submission instruction in COFFEE system
- registration 10th November 2011
- notification about acceptance 15th November 2011
- conference fee payment 25th November 2011
- paper submission 1st December 2011
- notification about the conference programme 1st December 2011

Organising Committee:
Monika Banaś, PhD (
Magdalena Banaszkiewicz, PhD (

Elżbieta Jagłowska
Jagiellonian University Events Office
ul. Czapskich 4 / 301, 31-110 Krakow, Poland
tel./fax: 0048 (12) 663 38 58
Kind Regards,

Kamila Kowenzowska

Saturday, November 05, 2011

Plenty to read about if your interested in Libya

Eid Al-Adha is tomorrow. I'm ready - knives are sharpened, all the pots, pans, tubs and dishes are waiting on the shelf, we've stocked up on cleaning supplies, I've got all I need for making jerky, my husband's Eid clothes are ready to wear. We're ready for the day's hard work. The only problem is that I've got a swollen eye - an allergic reaction. I look awful and the antihistamines I'm taking make me drowsy - but I'll make it through the day. Happy Eid for all of my readers who celebrate.

I haven't done a whole lot lately. I guess I'm saving up for future adventures. However, I've been spending lots of time on the internet catching up with old friends, browsing old articles and reading new ones. Now that Libyans are free to write as they like there are all kinds of intriguing subjects to read about. Some articles I've found particularly interesting or thought provoking (in no particular order and not complete):

Scholarships... an article about the abuses of the Libyan scholarship issuance and procedures. I hope there are changes in the future.

The Plight of Libyan Diplomats... an editorial written about Libyan political appointees vs career diplomats and the hopeful changes for a new Libya - an eye-opening article that would never have been published during the Kadafy regime. This article is in the Tripoli  Post, the English newspaper of Libya's past and now it's present and future. It's interesting to see the content now! Such a contrast to what was published in the past. Such a refreshing change.

The Ontario man who helped Muammar Gaddafi's son to flee... an article about Saadi's bodyguard, a man who has no qualms at all about his job. Some people find money so motivating I guess - nowhere in the article does it mention whether the bodyguard is gay... but I wonder... lolol...

Translating for Gheddafi... an account of a Libyan who worked as a translator for journalists - an insider's view to life at the Rixos Hotel during the war and gives a list of those who were paid off by the former regime.

Pro-Gaddafi group targets hundreds for assassination... about a group that says they have a list of 500 names that the Libyan Liberation Front (LLF) wants to kill, one by one. And they say it's only the first list! No names were given so I guess I just have to hope I'm not on the list.

Libyans Express Hope for a Modern Islamic Democracy...  Countless articles have been written about the new Libya embracing Islamic Sharia. The journalists jumped on this news as though it were some kind of treasure trove. Horror of horrors! Libyan men would all be running off to the pharmacy to stock up on Viagra so they could take on four wives! Libyan women would be oppressed, buried under their burkas! One-handed thieves would be easily spotted around town! What they failed to do was investigate the legal system that was already in place - one that was based on... surprise... Sharia. 

Sharia laws are not new in Libya - they have been the basis for family law, inheritance, marriage, divorce and most criminal laws. Polygamy has always been practiced in Libya. At one point during the Kadafy era a law was implemented that a man must get the permission of the first (second/third) wife(es) before being allowed to marry another - but this law was soon dropped. So nothing is really changing in Libya. It's a moderate Islamic country where women are educated, work and are not forced to wear the veil. I don't understand what the fuss is about. People hear the word 'sharia' and go into some kind of wild panic thinking women will have no rights. Instead they should look up Islamic laws and find out what they are all about. I think they will be surprised.

Libya has a new interim Prime Minister... Abdurrahim Al-Keib, an electrical engineer who was a professor in an American university for 20 years (and strangely enough I heard he is the brother of Kadafy's banker). He has a lot of work ahead of him but his appointment is to end in eight months when Libyans hold their first elections. Good luck Mr Prime Minister! You've got lawless rebels to deal with, Kadafy's psycho son is still on the loose,  and thousands of Libyan citizens are trying to get back what is rightfully theirs. Not to mention sorting out the education system, healthcare, and rebuilding (or lets just say building) the infrastructure of the entire country. Hold on for the ride of your life!  

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