Monday, February 13, 2012

Avoiding the Crossfire

Twelve checkpoints slowed my way home last night. Traffic crawled at the approach of each stop. In the darkness, men who were  manning each checkpoint peered into my car and then waved me through. I was only stopped once. I pulled over and they popped the trunk open and searched through the back of my car. They were stopping most of the cars driven by males and giving them a more thorough check. There are normally only one or two checkpoints that I go through on my way home, but with the upcoming anniversary of the uprising, as well as Saadi's threatening remarks about his eminent return from exile in Niger, has got all of Tripoli on heightened alert.

Despite the extra security I feel uneasy and nervous. In the past two weeks I've been witness to three situations in which men, who were having arguments in the street, drew weapons. Seeing men shouting, waving guns and pointing them at each other just because of a silly argument is frightening. Twice, I happened to be in my car with my children when these incidents occurred and I quickly sped away from the scene. The other occasion happened near where I work and I ducked inside the building as men from every nearby building poured into the street to watch or help dispel the argument. No gunshots were fired that time - but there could have been, and that's unsettling. 

There are times every day when I hear gunfire in the distance. It makes you stop whatever you happen to be doing, you listen, trying to figure out which direction it's coming from, and you wonder why they’re shooting. In Tripoli, NO GUNS signs outnumber NO SMOKING signs and no one pays any attention to either of them.  

Instead of looking forward to celebrating the anniversary of the uprising my family will be staying home, safely inside, until it's over. These are still early days in the new Libya. Hopefully by 2013 we'll have a gun-free February 17th.


  1. Hi. I just wanted to send a quick post, thanking you for reporting thins as you see them. When I talk to my in-laws, they tell me all is fine, when are you coming? I appreciate knowing what is really going on. Inshallah you and your family will remain safe, as the country finds some sence of order.

  2. I cannot even imagine how stressful it must be living is such conditions, after the Nato bombings and events after August, a little rest was in order.
    Knowing the average Arab man and especially the Libyans, I can see how volatile the situation is. Unfortunately small events that before would end with an loud exchange of words and or insults, now can escalate to a firefight.
    Another thing that startles me is the effect that, deranged and dystopian, declarations by Saadi, Aisha or anyone clearly tendencious, has on the Libyan society and especially the politicians. The Libyans will have to come to term that these people will always be there looming for a chance and learn to neglect them. Just like on the common add on the web forums- Don't feed the trolls.
    All the best.

  3. Hello, I just started my own little blog and just happen to stumble on your little piece of internet paradise. I've been enjoying reading through your posts - I enjoy your writing. Looking forward to reading more!

  4. yes these what so called Saadi should be ignored by media and the public. i also wished to participate in the celebrations but i was afraid from terrorist attacks especially after the threats issued by the Gaddafi loyalist publicly. i was a witness of grenade attack . it is a coward act.
    i hope next year i will celebrate by every means available. inshallah

  5. Stay safe :)
    But I don't think that I could have stayed inside that day. It was great , and no shooting , just a lot of fireworks and celebrating. That's what I heard , so not so sure .

    I have a request
    Can you please make a post...
    a list of things that you should bring to Libya ( from electronics to food ) If you've lived In the US or Europe your whole life , but decide to live in Libya . I'm getting ready for my trip now...seems like a never ending list please.. Thank You

  6. Hi, Teri. Unfortunately this is spilling over into Tunisia. Worrisome.
    On a happier note, I mention your blog in my blog in the hopes that interested readers will come your way.
    best, nadia


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