Thursday, March 3rd, 2011
I've had a headache all day. I
woke up with a headache and there it's stayed - right at the front of my head,
just behind my forehead. My blood pressure is normal; I think it's just
tension. I decided not to let it ruin my day.
It was a beautiful warm spring
day! The blue sky had a few fluffy clouds and the sun was shining. 'What shall
we have for dinner dear? We've got some chicken.' It was too nice a day to stay
inside. 'How about making bourdeem?' my husband suggested. Bourdeem is meat
that is cooked in an underground pit or oven. It's a special treat in Libya.
The meat cooks in the heat of burning embers. The final result after a bit of
hard work is meat so tender that it falls off the bone, permeated with a tasty,
|Helicopters flying over our farm|
It was an enjoyable walk to
collect firewood; through the wildflowers where butterflies and birds flitted
about in the fresh spring air. It was another peaceful day in Libya.
I stayed in bed until eleven
this morning. I didn't sleep well last night. Planes kept going over and waking
me up. Each time I'd wake up I'd poke my husband and say 'There's another
plane' and he'd answer with a snore. I think he was too tired to care and there
was nothing he could do about it anyway.
My husband went to Friday
prayers. When he returned he said most of the mosques had 'oil company' trucks
without license plates parked in front. Some mosques had two or three of them.
The 'oil company employees' didn't pray because it's forbidden to enter a
mosque with weapons, so they had to sit outside in their trucks while everyone
else prayed. It didn't seem to bother them one bit.
We made kabab for lunch and
then relaxed; everyone watched TV while I read a book. Later in the afternoon
Ibrahim and I went to the local supermarket to buy laundry soap, dishwashing
liquid, and food for the birds and cats. There were only a few shops open. We
got what we needed and quickly returned home.
Yusef, the Egyptian Coptic boy
that ran the vegetable stand closest to my house, called to say he'd arrived
safely in Egypt. I'm so happy he is safe. We've been worrying about him since
he left. He is such a well-mannered boy, only a few years older than my oldest
son. He always made sure that I got the freshest fruits and vegetables and even
went out of his way to see that I got orange pumpkins last Halloween. He'd come
from Egypt to find work so he could send money back to his family. He was
pretty much alone here so we made sure to look after him when we could, made
sure he was ok when he had the flu and when he had a tooth extracted. Last
Christmas we bought him a warm wool sweater and a bottle of cologne and wrapped
it nicely - he cried when I gave it to him. Such a sweet boy. Maybe he will
come back one day, but I'm glad that he's safely back home in Egypt with his
The internet hasn't been
working since yesterday. Well, it's on, but everything is blocked except for
sites like LTT and Al-Madar (the telecommunication company and the mobile
company). There's an email service that you get when you subscribe to LTT's
internet - but that isn't working. There is no way to get in touch with my
family. I hope they aren't worried. It's frustrating not to be able to chat
with them. My mom had eye surgery this week... I hope she's ok.
I can just picture in my mind
a clenched fist being pounded on a wooden table, 'They will NOT have Internet!
Turn OFF their Internet!' more fist pounding 'No Internet! No internet!' pound,
pound 'Punishment! Punishment!' shaking
fist in the air.
I'll have to post this when
the internet comes back on. Whenever that is.
Saturday, March 5th, 2011
Another day without internet.
I called my son in America to check in and tell him we were all fine. I decided
I would call him every day (for as long as I'm able) and talk to him for a few
minutes so that my family would know we were ok.
The sun was shining; it was a
beautiful spring day. I did laundry, made couscous and attended to other
household chores. Then read a book, watched news, and played solitaire.
The kids wanted to know when
it would be safe enough to go back to school. Good question.
We woke up early this morning
to the sound of heavy gunfire in the distance. You could hear cars honking on
the main road and bursts of fire from machine guns and occasional explosions.
We went outside to listen and called different family members and friends
around town. It wasn't fighting - just pro-government yahoos out trying to
intimidate people. After a while the noise stopped. I went back to bed and
slept for a few more hours.
Checked up on friends in the
afternoon, doing a head count. We are all safe and well.
It's an anniversary for me
today: twenty-two years in Libya. On this day every year I usually take some
time to contemplate the days and years since I arrived here. Now I only think
about today - one day at a time.
It's another fine spring day.
More laundry, more TV news, more of the same. We all feel frustrated. The
headmaster of Ibrahim's school called to ask that we send him to school. My
husband said 'Sure. We'll bring him tomorrow' and then hung up the phone. Of
course Ibrahim won't go to school tomorrow. Who would send their children to
school when live bullets are flying through the air? Everyone I speak to says
they have given up on the idea of school now. Almost everyone is homeschooling -
very few children and teachers are going to school now.
|Helicopters peeking through our trees|
Helicopters still fly low over
my house. The dogs bark and growl. Rita was pregnant but has miscarried her
puppies. She's been so vigilant and protective. The helicopters flying so low
really bother her. Long after the helicopters have gone she continues to pace
the perimeter of our house, barking and growling. It's hard to settle her down.
We all find it unsettling.
I'm still unable to access the
internet. It pops on from time to time for a second or two - I know this
because my weather widget updates and has a time and date stamp. But it's never
on long enough to check my email or post anything.
Much the same regarding the
internet. Cook, laundry, read, watch TV news, take a walk, low-flying
helicopters overhead, planes, gunshots, restless sleep.
We got cheated out of a
midnight speech. Decided to go to bed and see what the news said in the
Wednesday, March 9th, 2011
Woke up to gunshots but my
husband took Sara and Jenna to school to find out about exams anyway. They came
back rather disenchanted and made the decision to quit this year and repeat the
school year next year .... insha'allah..... or maybe they'd just do the final
Cooked a wonderful chicken and
rice lunch. Did laundry, finished reading a book, watched TV news. Saw bits of
the speech we missed from last night (still spouting off about drug crazed
adolescents). Later in the day we watched an oil depot go up in smoke on the
other side of the country. None of the boys on the TV news in Raslanuf looked
drugged. What kind of drugs are they on that make them look like normal human
beings who want nothing more than freedom and a better country to live in?
Thursday and Friday, March 9th
and 10th, 2011
Life is pretty much the same:
cook, clean, read, watch TV news.. Japan's earthquake and tsunami adding to the
I spoke to my mother on the
phone in the evening. She wondered what would happen if they decided to shut
off the phone service. We will be completely cut off then.
Saturday, March 12th, 2011
It was an exciting day for a
change. The girls and I went out in the morning to get haircuts. After that we
took a friend for a drive around and stopped at some shops. We really didn’t
need to buy anything; it was mostly just to see what was available. It was the
first time Nora had been out in three weeks. She kept pointing out the amount
of trash that had piled up alongside the roads, paper and plastic bags were
flying in the air.
We noticed quite a few shops
where being emptied of their goods. We weren't sure if they were closing up for
good, moving or just closing temporarily. There were long lines in front of
every bakery. The bread is being rationed so all the boys in each family stand
in line to get as many loaves as possible for their families. Most shops were
closed. I went into a supermarket in the city and found many of the shelves
empty. The shops further out of the city have more on the shelves. Armed
security were near many mosques - not directly in front but located were they
would have a good view of the entrances.
In the evening we watched the
news as the Arab League gave their go-ahead for a no fly zone. Would everyone
else give it the green light? How much longer would it be till it was actually
in place? Would it be put in place? Should we pack up our important documents
in a bag along with the bare necessities and flee? Or should we stay and hope
for a swift end to this madness?
We watch the news to see what
is happening. The girls think it's time to go. 'The school year has been
ruined. We'll have to repeat it again next year' the girls say 'Let's go to
visit grandma and have a long holiday. If it's better here we can come back after
Ramadan.' they plead. After Ramadan... in September... six months from now.
February 17th seems so long ago.
We all got up early today and
watched TV for a while. Then when it was nearly noon Nora and I went out
shopping with a friend. We'd gone shopping just two days ago and we compared
the differences in just those two days.
The shops are becoming emptier. I stood at the entrance to one
supermarket and just looked at the picked-over shelves. The freezers and
refrigerators had been switched off - there wasn't much left in the cases and
what was left was lukewarm. Plenty of breakfast cereal but hardly any milk
remained. The spice section was completely empty, the glass door smashed, glass
shards littered the floor. No one seemed interested in cleaning up the broken
glass, just stepping around it. The bakery section was dark and had some unused
freezers blocking the entrance. Everything was coated in a layer of dust. The
only products that were abundant were things that were made in Libya - no one
wanted them because no one trusted the quality or hygiene of the products.
Everyone in the shop looked depressed. Less than a month ago the supermarket
was a prosperous business teaming with customers. I estimated that the store would
be closed in less than a week.
We noticed fewer lines out in
front of the bakeries along the streets. Many of the bakeries have closed -
there isn't much bread to be found. I almost began crying. What will happen to
Libya? We're cut off, no goods are arriving to restock the empty shelves. Will
we go back to the 1990s style of having neighbourhood government run 'Jamiyah'
shops that rationed basic goods like cooking oil, flour, tomato paste, rice,
dried beans, etc.?
Remembering those days made me
shudder. The goods were always of the poorest quality; rice and flour full of
weevils. Hours were spent each week sifting out small sticks, rocks and insects
before you could even begin cooking. Poor Libyan people were left eating
substandard food while corrupt government buyers were making deals and getting
rich. Would Libya return to that?
We continued our drive around
town and noticed people setting up demonstrations in front of schools. The
schools are still open but hardly any of the teachers or students are showing
up. The students that arrived were handed green flags and made to demonstrate
on the street in front of their schools. I drove carefully around the young
people in the street. It was so sad to see elementary school children being
forced out on the streets to wave flags and shout out political slogans when
they should have been sitting safely in their classrooms. The poor children
looked like nervous targets. What impact will all these experiences have on
When we started out today we
drove past some trucks that were selling eggs, thirty eggs on each tray. Big
cardboard signs with 2.50 dinars written in large letters. On our way home a
few hours later the signs had been changed to 3 dinars. In the evening I
mentioned this to my husband and he said he saw 3.50 dinars when he drove by
My husband is in a bad mood.
He's gloomy and depressed and doesn't have a nice thing to say about anyone or
anything. We're all keeping out of his way. I'm sorry things here are going so
badly ... but there is nothing I can do about it. I'm doing my best to keep the
household running smoothly. I feel badly too - but I'm not going to get ugly to
the ones I love. I hope he's in a better frame of mind tomorrow. This is so
frustrating for all of us. It would probably help if we could get a good
I started reading the book
'the Lotus Eaters' by Tatjana Soli. It's a fictional story about a female war
correspondent/photographer in Vietnam during the fall of Saigon. Probably not
the best choice for a book to read during these days.
Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
We woke up this morning to the
smell of smoke. The neighbours were burning their trash. I wish they wouldn't
do that. The air was still, no breeze to blow the smoke away so it hung in the
air. We always bag up our rubbish, put it in the car and drop it off at the
nearest dumpster. Yes, it's a hassle but it's certainly better than breathing
in possible poisons in the smoky air. So this morning there was no going for a
walk, no doing laundry, no fresh air. Damn the neighbours!
Watching the news today ....
Why are they dragging their feet about Libya? I feel like I am holding my
breath, or that time here is frozen somehow. It's like when you have a bad
dream - someone or something is chasing you and you can't move quickly enough
to reach safety. Slow motion. Except here we aren't running, we're just waiting
and the only thing going fast is my pounding heartbeat.
|The field on our farm in springtime - full of wildflowers.|
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
I dug through some of my books
this afternoon. I was hunting for a book I haven't needed since the 1990s.
After a bit of a search I found the dog-eared book I was looking for: The Laurel's
Kitchen Bread Book, A guide to Whole-Grain Breadmaking by Laurel Robertson with
Carol Flinders & Bronwen Godfrey.
In the lean years of the
nineties I think I tried out nearly every recipe in the book. Unfortunately, I
have never been able to find rye flour in Libya and nothing I tried as a
substitute worked. But this book has a huge assortment of different recipes for
all kinds of bread and everything you ever wanted to know about baking bread -
Mediterranean Garbanzo Bread
Roberta's Incredible Bagels
'Best way to go to a genocide
is on a full stomach' ... a quote from the Lotus Eaters.
Thursday, March 17th, 2011
I visited my mother-in-law in
the morning. I hadn't been to see her since before the uprising. I wanted to
see if she wanted to come home with me - change her atmosphere, go for a walk,
see the wild flowers and breathe some fresh air. But she said she was fasting
and just wanted to stay at home.
We sat on her bed in her
bedroom and she filled me in on all the family's news. She said my
sister-in-law's nephew, a teen-aged boy who was working in a small shop, had
been picked up by pro-government thugs. They dragged him out of the shop, stuck
a hood over his head and tied him up, they beat him and stabbed him in the leg
with a knife. He was subjected to mock executions and finally when they were
tired of playing their sick games with him they threw him on the side of the
road. An old man discovered him, removed the blindfold and untied him - thank
God he managed to get home alive. My other sister-in-law's sister, who lives
near the city center, had her home invaded by men with machine-guns who forced
her entire family (including small children) out in the street to march in the
Green Square - it was demonstrate or die... so they had no choice but to
It's been one month since the
beginning of the uprising - and according to my calendar it was also St.
Patrick's Day. I invited a friend over for an afternoon walk to hunt down
4-leaf clovers and to enjoy some fresh air and share an early dinner with my
family in our garden. For as much as we tried to change our mood, our
conversation kept returning to the events in Libya and in the city surrounding us.
'What have you seen? What have you heard?'. I made certain that my friend left
early enough to reach home well before sunset. I sent her off with a fist full
of shamrocks we had found and an extra plate of chicken and rice.
Later on, in the evening, we all
sat in front of the TV. We nervously waited for the UN to vote, fighting over
whether we should watch the coverage in Arabic or English. After a bit of an
argument I won - we watched in English. When the vote came out we were elated.
I went out in the garden where I could hear sporadic bursts of gunfire in the
distance and then went back inside to watch more of the news coverage. My
husband had control of the remote and he kept switching channels but mostly we
watched the crowds of people in Benghazi. We wished we could celebrate in
Tripoli like they were celebrating in Benghazi but that would just be a sure
A little while later we took a
walk out on the farm. In the dark, under the stars, we wondered: 'How much
longer would it be till there was peace?' and 'When would the no-fly zone be
implemented?' We stood in the middle of our far field and slowly pivoted in a
circle, scanning the horizon in the direction of the Green Square, the coast,
Matiega Airport and the many army bases that dotted the areas around Tripoli.
We daren't make a sound because we didn't know which side our neighbours
supported. Finally, at nearly 3am, we went inside and climbed in bed. Nervous
exhaustion, sleep overtaking us.
Quiet. Everything was quiet in
the morning. It seemed as though the whole city was waiting. I watched the news
while I drank my morning cup of coffee and then decided to keep busy with
spring cleaning - the TV remained on in the background so we could watch every
news update. We scoffed at the announcement of a ceasefire.
How much longer till they
enforce the no-fly zone? What are they waiting for?!?!
Saturday, March 19th, 2011
Proof that the ceasefire was a
sham was on all the news channels. How much longer would the world just stand
by and watch?
As we watched world leaders
arriving in France and being welcomed by France's Sarkozy, Jenna remarked 'One
day I'm going to be someone famous. I'll make important decisions.' and then
she added 'If Libya's here and we're still alive'. From the time Jenna was very
small she has always said she would be first a lawyer, and then a judge, and
then a leader. Maybe one day her dream will come true.
That evening, on the Libyan
channel they were showing people; mostly women, children and youths celebrating
and demonstrating in Kadafy's compound in Bab El-Azizia. Many of them had
Down's Syndrome or looked retarded - obviously they had brought them from the
orphanage and home for the mentally challenged. Leading the fray was Aisha
Kadafy. Maybe the people were from one of her 'charity organizations'. Surely
the mentally retarded and those with Downs Syndrome are unaware of the risks to
their own personal safety. How sick to turn these people into a human shield.
Who would do such a thing?
The sun set, we watched TV,
flipping the channels every few minutes, waiting, watching, restless.....
It sounded as though someone
slammed the front door to the house as hard as they could - the whole house
shook, the windows rattled. We ran outside and saw a plume of smoke in the
distance. Missiles had hit an air defense target near Bir Stamilad. We watched
the sky for a while longer but when nothing else happened we came inside to see
what was being reported on TV. We knew it was only the beginning but we already
felt a sense of relief.
We all went to bed but were
woken after 2am by the sounds of explosions and gunfire. We went outside and
could see anti-aircraft guns shooting from different areas around Tripoli -
some from next to the university. Their tracer bullets shooting upwards,
lighting the sky like fireworks. After a few minutes the guns stopped. We went
inside and watched the coverage from TV but the correspondents had little to
say - I think we had a better vantage point than the news reporters who were
stuck in the city under the watchful eyes of their minders.
Me: Uuummm.... I want 2 medium
fries.... a Big Mac with extra pickles... 2 Kalashnikovs... and a Happy Meal
(said with my best southern drawl).
Hubby: Ha ha ha.... click
Kadafy says he's handing out
guns. How nice! Libyans are finally being given the right to bear arms. Just
show them your ID card (so they can call you to fight later) and you get a gun
and 70 bullets. After all this time Kadafy is learning something from the
Americans. Yeee Hah!! lolol! I must be
feeling better - my weird sense of humor is returning (We didn't line up for a
Afternoon... you can hear the
voices of children playing, floating through the air from every direction.
Anyone who has a piece of land or a farm in the rural areas surrounding Tripoli
has left the city for the safety of the countryside. It's turned into a big
Evening.... as night falls the
sound of anti-aircraft guns begins and showers the sky with points of light. We
can hear explosions from time to time but they are too far away to know exactly
where they are coming from. The whole neighbourhood is outside under the clear
dark sky and stars, watching and listening. Excited children's voices carry in
the night air and mothers call out to their children to stay close by. The news
is reporting what we witnessed outside. From time to time we hear more
explosions in the distance and see tracer fire arc across the night sky.
The Libyan military announced
another ceasefire tonight.... what a joke... a sick joke.
Day 3 of the no-fly zone. Last
night they hit Bab Aziziyah but didn't annihilate it. Maybe tonight?
Did some spring cleaning today
- it was quiet all day. It's Mother's Day in Libya - we didn't do anything
special to celebrate. Ibrahim and I played computer games, I read a book and we
After dark we went outside to
watch the anti-aircraft guns shoot tracer bullets into the sky. From time to
time we heard explosions. In between the bombs and gunfire we used the Google
Sky app on my phone to track the stars, planets and constellations. Pretty
Tuesday, March 22nd, 2011
Libya is starting to slip from
the headlines of the news. Japan too is moving out of the top news focus.
Yemen, Syria and the upcoming royal wedding are moving into the top spots. We
feel like we are getting less and less news. The TV news coverage about Tripoli
has been limited from the beginning because the journalists' movements are
completely controlled by the regime. It's so frustrating. Without internet
we've been pretty much relying on TV news and word of mouth to find out what's
happening. There are lots of rumours - it's hard to tell what is really going
The Libyan television channels
are ridiculous. Last night after I'd gone to bed Nora came in and said 'Mom!
Mom! Remember that girl that was in the elementary English class a few summers
ago? The one with the drawn on eyebrows? Come see... she's on TV.' Sure enough,
there she was; same over made-up face with the eye brows drawn on. She was
moderating a call-in show. ... sigh.. poor thing. They have people 'calling in' to the
studio... but there is no phone number listed to call in. Probably the
'callers' are sitting in the next room.
We flip over to the Libyan
channels to have a look from time to time. This morning they had 'Bab
El-Aziziyah - Now' on. The film showed people waving their green scarves and
pictures of Kadafy... the sky was dark and was filmed at night, but it was noon
- so it couldn't have been 'Now'.
I've come to focus on my own
little microcosm - my family and friends, our house and farm. Every day we call
around to check on each other. We all worry about the availability of food and
medicine. Little tid-bits of information are passed along:
- Do you think we'll be able to
buy bread today? I heard the flour supplies are nearly depleted.
- I heard potatoes are half a
dinar a kilo.
- Someone said they found fresh
yogurt in town.
- The pharmacies are unable to
restock. Medicines for chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes are
- Make sure your car's gas tank
is kept full.
- A friend of a friend said they
were turned away from the maternity hospital because there were no doctors on
- Have you been able to buy
cooking gas? Someone told me it cost 30 dinars just to refill a cylinder.
- Have you got a good recipe for
This morning Yusef saw a small
dog along the side of the road near our house. He said it looked like a small
fluffy Maltese or shitzu type dog. He tried to catch it but it was frightened
and ran away. When the ex-pat workers evacuated the country they had to leave
their pets behind. Now there are reports that many of the animals are roaming
the streets trying to fend for themselves. I can't imagine what it would feel
like to have to abandon our pets - they're part of our family.
Wednesday, March 23rd, 2011
BOOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!
BOOOOM! At about five in the morning we were thrown out of bed by HUGE
explosions. As I jumped out of bed I heard one of our cats call out a
frightened meow as she climbed out of my wardrobe where she'd been hiding, eyes
the size of saucers and hair standing on end. 'Uh Oh!' I said aloud. She was
heavily pregnant and we expected her to have her kittens at any moment. I tried
to soothe her: 'It's ok Dawn. We're alright.' as I quickly put on my slippers
and ran outside with my husband and kids to see what was happening.
Missiles had hit military
installations not too far away from us. They must have done a good job hitting
their targets because two of the camps were no longer firing anti-aircraft guns
and a third camp was down to only one gun that was firing only intermittently.
Plumes of smoke were rising in the sky above the targets.
As the smoke started to clear
I went back inside the house to check on the cat. Sure enough, she had given
birth to her first kitten on top of some of my sweaters that were stacked on
the bottom shelf of my wardrobe, and more kittens were on their way. Nora made
up a basket for Dawn in her bedroom and moved her there. I piled the soiled
clothing from my wardrobe into a laundry basket and took them out to the laundry
room. It was time to put away my winter clothes anyway, so I started in on
clearing out my wardrobe.
What a coincidence that the
mother cat is named Dawn. She had three lovely little kittens - one of them
will definitely be named Odyssey and another Homer. We're not sure about the
third one yet but I think that the kids want to name it Layla after Dawn's
Thursday, March 24th, 2011
More bombing raids in the
middle of the night. My husband didn't get out of bed, he was so exhausted from
having disrupted sleep for the past five nights that the loud explosions didn't
wake him up. I threw on a light-weight jacket over my nightgown and went to see
what was happening outside.
The kids had scrambled up to
the top of our water tower like monkeys and were watching the bombardment from
the vantage point three stories up. I slipped out the gate onto the farm and
walked to the field where I could see the horizon in every direction. The dog
kept growling and pushing me back toward the house but I ignored him, pushing
him away until he grabbed my hand with his teeth and gently pulled me back,
growling and insistent.
Back in the garden, Yusef
called out excitedly 'Mom! They've been hit with over twenty missiles over the
past two days! They're on fire over there! Lots of smoke!' When the air began
to settle I went back inside.
The bedroom was dark and my
husband was still snoring, he hadn't woken up. Someone was on my side of the
bed. 'Who's in my bed?' I asked. 'It's me, Ibrahim.' 'Are you scared?' I asked.
'Yes mom. Would it bother you if I stay here?' he asked. 'Sigh... well, as long
as you don't get so scared you pee yourself' I replied, as I climbed in next to
him and hugged him close.
There were more missile
strikes later in the night but we just stayed in bed under the blankets and
held each other tightly until morning.
Sara and I drove to the
supermarket to see what was available and to hopefully get some cheese and an
assortment of fresh vegetables. Supplies are dwindling of most things in the
supermarkets and prices are rising. On the other hand, locally grown fruits and
vegetables are plentiful and reasonably priced. We don't need meat yet so I
haven't checked to see if that's gone up in price but there was plenty hanging
in the butcher shop windows. Long, long lines of people waiting for bread.
One thing that we noticed was
that there were fewer taxis and buses on the roads and we saw only one car
flying green flags going by. I had heard that it was becoming difficult to get
gasoline so we drove by the gas station to see for ourselves. It was true -
there was a line of cars more than half a kilometre long snaking down the road
from the pumps. How much longer would gasoline last? Libya's electricity is
powered by oil... How much longer till we faced power outages? Libya's fragile infrastructure is winding
down to a complete halt.
Funny things are happening on
Libyan state run television. Today they keep referring to the people of
Benghazi as 'our brothers' and pushing the idea that 'we are all one country'.
Just yesterday they were calling people from Benghazi and east Libya dogs, rats
and traitors. Are they coming to the realization that they are losing and
trying to smooth the way for a transition? They showed a busload of people
going to Benghazi to be with their 'brothers' - no pictures of Kadafy were on
the bus, instead they had pictures of Omar Mukhtar. Why do I get the feeling
that they are wolves in sheep's clothing? Were these buses really headed for
Benghazi? Or was this just another publicity stunt?
The news services are showing
a mass funeral of civilians said to have died during the bombings. In all my
years in Libya, I have never seen fresh flowers on newly made caskets at a
funeral. Muslims in Libya are removed from the casket before burial, wrapped
only in a shroud, they are lowered to their simple graves. The caskets are
usually very basic and are taken back to the mortuary to be reused, over and
over again. The funeral shown on the news seemed so staged and unreal. Not
surprisingly the news reporters could not find anyone at the funeral who was
related to, or even acquainted with the people being buried, and BBC reported
that some of the caskets were opened only to find they were empty (and then
hastily taken away). Who were they burying? Where were their families and
A quiet Friday. I didn't feel
like speaking to anyone. In the afternoon I locked myself in my bedroom and had
a long uninterrupted nap. No one could come in to wake me up to ask stupid
questions, no kids stood next to my bed to have an argument, or cry, or
complain. Wonderful! This evening I'm going to read a book and watch a film on
my phone, wearing headphones so that I will be blissfully unaware of anything going
on around me. I'm having a vacation today... I deserve it.
Saturday, March 26th, 2011
Either last night was quiet or
I was so tired I slept through any explosions. I woke up feeling rested. In the
afternoon I could hear planes flying over but couldn't see them. I decided not
to watch the news until the evening. I needed a news-free day for a
Some upsetting news today:
Jenna's best friend's ten-year old brother was picked up by pro-Kadafy thugs.
They gave him a savage beating and showed him a hole in the ground that was
filled with blood and told him if he didn't tell them who was painting graffiti
on the walls in the neighbourhood they would put him in the hole. He told them
it was big boys that he didn't know and after torturing him a while longer they
let him go.
The boy will physically
recover from the beating but what will the long-term effects be? How many other
children are being brutalized? We are hearing stories about people being
terrorized, beaten, held and interrogated for hours, and some that have just
outright disappeared. People live in fear and intimidation (or is it fear of
intimidation). Even me! I don't go out unaccompanied, I stay only in my area
and I only go out if it's necessary. If I go out it is usually between the hours
of noon and 3pm - never too early when there are too few people about, and
never, ever, after dark. When I'm in public I speak only when necessary and
never make eye contact with anyone. We don't allow our children to go to school
for fear they will be picked up and carted off someplace on a forced
demonstration (or possibly used as human shields) and we don't let the boys go
anywhere alone. Mostly, we stay on our farm, in our own little world.
Today Jenna and I went out for
a drive into town to do a bit of shopping, picking up some things we needed - a
necessary trip or we wouldn't have left home. Cooking oil was on our list and
it is in very short supply. We managed to find some for 4 dinars a litre (it
has more than doubled in price). Long, long lines in front of bakeries -
getting bread has become a full time job. There were huge traffic jams near
every gas station as cars lined up to fill up. I've still got plenty in my tank
but we didn't do any extra driving - we got what was on our list and headed
Dinner... stuffed peppers,
stuffed cabbage rolls, rice pilaf, tomato/cucumber salad and fresh fruit for
dessert. One thing that has come out of all this is having more time to spend
preparing meals for my family.
Bright and sunny today. I get
up each morning, take a shower, get dressed, fix my hair, apply make-up as
though I am going somewhere - but I stay home. I've had lots of free time since
all this started. I miss my work, and the routine. But I've had time to catch
up on things around the house, I've read and relaxed, watched films, sat in the
sun, spent time with my kids, cooked, done spring cleaning, dejunked and
reorganized, taken long leisurely walks and put my feet up. But mostly it seems
I've been subjected to TV - lots and lots of TV.
Anyone that knows me knows
that I rarely watch television. Before all this I can honestly say that I
hadn't sat down to watch a television program in well over a year. I prefer to
get my news from the internet; clicking on the news I'm interested in and
reading a more in-depth report than what you can find on TV. Now I'm stuck with
televised news and watching the clock to tune-in at the top of the hour. From
time to time I walk by the TV room, stop, and read the revolving news ticker at
the bottom of the screen to decide whether I need to be back for the hourly
report. And then after watching the news I feel dissatisfied - it always seems
to just touch on the topic. And the final insult is when the news presenter
"To find out more visit
our website at www......."
|Feet up watching the news about Libya.|
It was quiet this morning and
afternoon. We kept up with the news headlines to see how far the rebel fighters
could make it in a day. We heard a few planes overhead but that was it. We
expect it to get much noisier as they get closer to Tripoli. Our guestroom is
ready for friends of ours who live close to the city centre.
We had a big lunch of curry
and rice and then took a nap. In the late afternoon some of the kid's cousins
came over. The girls invaded the kitchen and made chocolate sugar cookies and
caramel corn, then they all sat down to watch a DVD.
We've decided not to go out
anywhere unless it's absolutely necessary. The wait at the gas pumps is between
three and five hours. Who wants to sit half the day waiting in line to get
gasoline? Not me.
A HUGE bombardment tonight of
a military camp in the vicinity of Tekbali, beginning at about ten o'clock. We
first heard the dogs barking and growling (our advanced warning system) and
then less than a minute later the planes flew right overhead toward their
targets. Boom! Boom! Boom! The orange glow of the explosions lit up half the
sky and there continued to be smaller explosions long after the initial attack.
The weather was clear, warm
and still - you could hear voices coming from all the neighouring farms.
Everyone was out watching the show. Lots of cheering going on until an
anti-aircraft gun started firing from what appeared to be a neighbouring farm.
With the appearance of tracer bullets piercing the sky so close by, there were
suddenly no voices to be heard and everyone continued to watch in silence.
Every few minutes more planes would fly by, dropping their bombs. The horizon
glowed with fire, and smoke continued to pour forth long after it was all over.
It felt strangely comforting
and satisfying to have witnessed the attack, especially hearing the cheers of
support, but it was disconcerting to learn that on a neighbouring farm is
someone who feels compelled to support Kadafy to the point that they have
installed an anti-aircraft gun on their farm. There is a sniper in our midst.
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011
We heard planes flying over
quite frequently today, bombings to the east of Tripoli about six o'clock. I'd
been taking a nap and the blast woke me up - the windows rattled and the house
shook. Yusef says that the wall in his bedroom has developed a crack in it
after last night's raid. We watched the press conference in London and wondered
if things would be stepping up pace around Tripoli. I told Yusef to watch the
crack and see if it gets bigger.
I spoke to a friend who said
her husband has been going to the bank every day for the past three days to
withdraw money but comes home empty-handed as the teller says they have no
cash. Another friend told me yesterday that government employees haven't been
paid. How much longer will this last?
This evening Ibrahim and I
took turns beating up the punching ball out in the garden. Our boxing gloves
are getting really worn out, time to buy a new pair. It's such a good way to
relieve stress and get fit. I'm getting pretty good at it too.
Wednesday, March 30th, 2011
For every two minutes of news
there's twenty minutes of speculation. I've turned off the TV and turned my
focus to other things that I actually have control over like laundry and lunch.
It was a cloudy and drizzly
day. I finished a book and haven't decided what I will read next. Maybe I
should watch a movie instead... ho hum...
Thursday, March 31st, 2011
As soon as we went to bed last
night the dogs started barking like mad and then, whooosh! BOOM! - the sound of
a plane followed by an explosion. We ran outside in time to see another plane
come in, dropping a second bomb on the military camp next to Nasr University.
Then all went quiet. We waited a few minutes, standing in the wet garden before
returning inside and going back to bed.
Today the phone rang
constantly with the girl's friends calling to say that school exams will begin
on the ninth of April. With the gasoline situation as it is now we won't be
able to take the kids into town every day for exams unless we are able to
fill-up our car's gas tanks. The exams will most likely be postponed again
because the whole town is in the same situation.
It's a three to five hour wait
at the pumps with many people lining up the night before and sleeping in their
cars. My tank's at half full right now and my husband has a quarter of a tank.
There is no way I can wait in line - I couldn't sit that long without using a
bathroom and there aren't any women in the lines anyway - this is a guy job.
It rained off and on all day.
My shoulder is sore from too much boxing yesterday so I've not done much around
the house, just rested, watched a movie and watched the news. Defecting...
wheeling... dealing ... sigh...
It's the last day of March
today... Libyans call the month of March 'Mars patzo' Italian for 'crazy March'
because the weather is unpredictable. It's really been a crazy month this year,
for more reasons than the weather.
Asalom Alai kom sisterReplyDelete
Thank you..... I have been trying to deal with the psychological effects of twhat happened. To know that I am not alone is a help. That it was not a dream....that it happened.....
I'm so sorry I have only found your blog, and had no idea of the reality of Libya at this time. Thank you so much for publishing this.ReplyDelete