My adorable cousins in Misurata, helping clean weapons.
The kid in the helmet is the son of Khali Mohmoud, commander/something or other of the first battalion in Misurata. On our way from Tripoli to Misurata - two months give or take before the revolution - he asked us what we thought was best for Libya: “Malikia, Jamahiriya, ow Democracia?”
He never told us what he thought, but I think now we know : )
2:36 am • 26 July 2011 • 5 notes
It’s every dictator’s desire to be immortalized in history. Gaddafi certainly won’t be forgotten but his impact on Libya is much less permanent than he intended; despite his attempt to control every aspect of each citizen’s life, Libyans - in this case the Ijabils - have sustained “protests of the weak” throughout his rule. In keeping the Amazigh language alive orally, Libyans contested Gaddafi’s attempt to control identity, to define what it is to be a Libyan citizen, to manufacture a society disconnected not only from its past, but from the aspirations of its people.
So, inshallah, as Libya continues forth on an enlightened path, we’ll see the nation emerge from Gaddafi’s regin perhaps not unscathed but unhindered by his poisonous social policies. Teaching the Amazigh language in schools throughout Libya & designating it as a national language would be one, wonderful way to start.
(Some of the above is a bit too fluffy for my liking, but I just finished exercising and the serotonin charging through my system prevents me from deleting such cheesy optimism. I’m also too lazy to even consider rewriting it, despite the beckoning of my horrendous grammar.)
Girls studying in Libyan Berber village in the west
Marco Longare / AFP (via Band.com.br)
Wednesday, July 20, 2011 - 17:15
Berber Culture Explodes in Western Libya
“Azoul (good morning). I’ll teach you the language of their grandparents.” With these words Sara Aboud minister his first lesson in a course for children Yefren Berber. The language, which could send people to prison at the time in which Muammar Gaddafi reigned in the mountains of western Libya, today is synonymous with freedom.
Since the Berber villages of Jebel Nefoussa freed themselves from the yoke of Gaddafi, its culture exploded on the radio, in newspapers, associations, museums, songs, and language courses ‘Amazigh’.
On the walls began to appear real colorful geometric designs, symbolizing the ‘amazighs’ as they call the Berbers in the region: two semicircles connected by a dash to illustrate the connection of the soul with heaven and earth.
“Before, we were considered second-class citizens. We are the source of this country, and we, from now on, the right to hold your head high,” ignites Taghrid Aboud, young home of 22 years.
Speak or write in public, read or print language ‘Amazigh’: all this simply was banned by the Libyan leader who always repressed the people present in this country before the Arab conquest in the seventh century and known for his military resistance to the occupation of the Italian early twentieth century.
Over the years, his tongue began to be spoken in secret to avoid arrest; the alphabet left to be learned, as well as their own history, explains Sara Aboud, 27. Now, these villages, we can not lose a minute to revive that identity.
In Jado Yefren or children attend classes several times a week Amazigh. “Today, the most important thing is that they learn the language” to perpetuate it, Sara Aboud continues to coordinate the courses. Kafu Salah, 14, is the most frequent. “To me that means building the future.”
Even adults take over the school notebooks. In the former secret service building, a museum, a painter Yefren registration records ‘amazighs’ in frescoes in which Muammar Gaddafi is represented as a mouse or vampire.
“I can not stop writing! I feel born again”, says the artist of 47 years, who prefers not to be named.
Buzukhar Mazigh, who paid the price for his activism Berber spending three months in prison before being released by the rebellion, is dedicated to transcribing tales passed down orally, listening to the older guardians of tradition and stories of princes and princesses of wisdom.
“For 1,400 years, our literature was only oral. We need to preserve it for future generations,” said the young man of 29 years. In Yefren, all documents have to be written in Arabic and Berber and everyone wants the “Amazigh” is recognized as the official language Gaddafi Libya without a future.
“The Arab blood and ‘Amazigh’ mixed on the battlefield against this tyrant. We fight the same enemy, we are brothers. And so things will be in the next 50 years,” said Salim Ahmed, host of radio programs in which discloses Jado two languages.
[*original article was (of course) in Portugese. EN translation by Google Translate]
5:11 am • 22 July 2011 • 18 notes
Misrata’s beaches. Libda. Old pictures. Some random cafe in Tripoli.
Some of my favorite pictures from this past December-January. They probably aren’t interesting to anyone other than myself, but lately I’ve been in no mood to think (ie respond to people’s stupidity as this tumblr was intended for). If I’m not careful I’ll find myself quickly sinking back into my detached, apathetic and self-absorbed self so I need to keep up with all things Libya in some (albeit, sort of also self-absorbed?) manner. It’s incredibly frightening how less ‘enthusiastic’ I’ve been since finals, actually. I had forced myself to step away from twitter so I wouldn’t completely fail my classes, and once finals were through I convinced myself that I needed a break (from sitting on my ass and scouring articles and youtube videos? Yeah, I had the urge to slap myself as well.) But that break’s been sort of indefinite. I keep trying to “get back into it” (as though the crises is a once-favorite t.v. show past its prime) but I can’t. My concern for Libya is obviously not only measured by how much time I devote to social media, but that time is definitely a measure of something.
I remember a conversation I had with my Egyptian professor back in February; we both mentioned how the revolutions seemed to put everything else in our lives into perspective. Things we once thought incredibly important - school, work, -and for me- clothes/general stupid consumerism - seemed incredibly trite. This is going to be another example of how utterly self-centered my thinking seems to be, but it was a welcome shift in mindset for me. This revolution is not about me in any way shape or form, my connection to it is minimal at best, no matter how much (or little) time and energy and I spend in relation to it - but I had thought that in the future, one day, I’d look back and pinpoint the Libyan revolution as inspiring an amazing transformation in my thinking and in myself in general; that I’d stop whining about my ridiculous problems, stop wishing I had more money to spend on clothes, a skinny figure, a pretty face, a more extroverted personality, more talents, more brains, endless calorie-free cupcakes, etc etc and give a shit about something other than myself. That I would not only do something to actualize my proclaimed desires to “change the world” and care for humanity but that my mentality would reach such a point where my actions were not isolated incidents of compassion within an otherwise worldly, materialistic, and - you guessed it - self-absorbed existence, but rather a reflection of who I am morally, ethically and religiously.
I completely realize the idiocy/irony of my complaining about how I am finding it difficult to consider things and people other than myself and again placing myself front & center at a fucking revolution. Where people, who are not me, are dying. Where my family members have been killed, kidnapped, injured, and as I type, are fighting on the front lines. For a revolution that again, has very little to do with me, that in no way could possibly affect me as much as people on the ground, my family members, even my parents. But like I said, I have this amazing ability to perceive things only as they relate to me.
So I thought I changed. Turns out I didn’t, not really or at least not completely-and-forever as I optimistically had believed. This post - which I hope to God no family member ever finds for I’m certain their teasing will never end - probably does nothing but prove that. Did I just throw a pity party for myself? Or just explain my recent and likely foreseeable reduced social media activity in more detail than should be shared publicly? Maybe I should include a poll. Option three will be “Shut the fuck up and get over yourself.” Oh, and maybe a fourth, all of the above.
To make myself feel better, how has the revolution changed you? Or how do you think it has?
6:03 am • 21 July 2011 • 4 notes
“Everyone gets a free education in Libya. It’s one of the best education systems in the world.”
Here we have the College of Letters & Arts (roughly something like that). 1. Inside it’s even worse. The most outdated equipment, seats, desks, everything - though somehow there was a budget for three beautiful new pictures of the Brother Leader. 2. Does every “free” (it wasn’t) learning center come with the spies, or do you have to pay extra for them? My cousins told me not to look the greasy bastards in the eyes. But they were so obvious - in suits and sunglasses - it was kind of hard not to stare. In abomination. (They’re also why this picture of a deserted corner was the only one my cousins allowed me to take. )
The best thing about the university, besides its dedicated professors and earnest students, was the cafeteria. Best cappuccino I’ve ever had. Also not free.
2:17 am • 1 July 2011
Cynthia McKinney: Ghaddafi a Hero for African Rights and Liberation
But, amazingly, when the Obama Administration puts the U.S. war machine in action in a new front in Africa and characterizes it as a “humanitarian intervention,” the peace community seemingly accepts the obfuscation and forgets the facts.
But the peace community knows full well that the Obama Administration is continuing the longterm U.S. policies of dismemberment, Balkanization, carefully crafted chaos, and death and destruction to achieve its unstated objectives. Every possibility of dissent is being obliterated–for a reason. The FBI raids in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and elsewhere targeting activists who support peace and the human rights of Palestinians is no accident. Politically-motivated prosecutions of politically active Palestinians came first, from Sami Al-Arian and his brother-in-law to the Holy Land Five.
The reason Muammar Qaddafi is a target is because he has been a thorn in the side of anti-revolutionary forces since he took power in Libya, overthrowing the King and nationalizing the oil industry so that the people could benefit from their oil resources.
Libya’s Revolution brought free health care and education to the people and subsidized housing. In fact, students in Libya can study there or abroad and the government gives them a monthly stipend while they are in school and they pay no tuition. If a Libyan needs a surgery that must be done overseas, then the government will pay for that surgery. That is more than the soldiers of the United States military can say. While Libyans enjoy subsidized housing, members of the U.S. military risk foreclosure while they serve their country abroad. Money from oil is directly deposited into the accounts of every Libyan based on oil income. As one Libyan told me recently, the idea is that if people have what they need, then they don’t have to deny rights to or harm others and the Revolution believes that it is the responsibility of the government to provide the basic needs of its citizens.
Now, as for democracy, a country that has never practiced it is a poor trumpet for it. From genocide of indigenous Americans to enslavement of stolen Africans to disfranchisement of women, ours has been a less than perfect union. Now, it has turned the administration of its elections over to private voting machine companies and the finance of those elections to individuals and organizations that can mobilize vast sums of money; thus the United States is not in the best best position to dictate the terms of another country’s democracy. But, Libyans govern themselves by The Green Book, a form of direct democracy based on the African Constitution concept that the people are the first and final source of all power. Clearly, the U.S. move is counter-Revolution.
When people use the term brainwashed to describe Libyan Ghaddafi supporters I cringe, you can do better than that.
So I suppose you think you know more than the thousands that have given their lives in the name of freedom? You, from Los Angeles, know so much more about Gaddafi than the people who’ve suffered under his brutal regime for 42 years? How brilliant you must be! Or perhaps you simply take arm-chair historian to a new level, distorting - no, inventing - fact to push your ideology.
1. He “overthrew” (sat in his chambers while the sickly king was overseas receiving treatment) a constitutional monarchy. The monarch, King Idris, was elected to office by tribal leaders, who were in turn elected by members of their tribe. His election as monarch was much more democratic than any aspect of the Gaddafi regime. Libyans framed the constitution. Libyans belonged to political parties. Libyans were elected - fairly - to parliament. Did these thing exist under Gaddafi? No. Do not attempt to paint his military coup as a people’s revolution. He confiscated power for himself and himself alone. Know what happened the last time the people tried to express their opinions (“direct democracy”) ? Public, televised hangings. Assassinations. Kidnappings. Blacklisting. Internet censorship. And now? Aerial bombings. Massacres. Rape.
2. The oil thing is just hilarious. Honestly. It just proves your complete ignorance with (or more troubling, lack of concern for ) the facts. 30% of Libyans are unemployed. The same amount live under the poverty line. The only Libyans that see even a glimpse of this oil money are the most elite of the elite - essentially, his family & his family alone. Even the richest men not associated with the brutal regime do not gleam their wealth from oil revenue. So imagine how much the poor see.
P.S. “directly deposited into their bank accounts” is a red flag - Besides the fact that it is patently untrue, it’s also impossible given the undeveloped nature of the banking system.
3. The government pays for studies abroad for select students. Extremely select. Either you graduate in the top percentile of your class or you have a government hook up. Know why they have to be sent abroad? Because the educational system is unfunded and simply terrible. You would think, you know, with all that nationalized oil wealth that there would be plenty left over for social investments, right? Oh, but that brings me back to point two - the only people that see a dime of these revenues are his family and his elite loyalists. And please, don’t try to argue this one. I’ve been to their universities. I’ve seen their photocopied textbooks and bedroom sized libraries. I’ve spoken to the smartest students who - after graduating in the top of their class - are forced to find menial, low wage employment. Again, see point 2, unemployment & poverty rates.
4. Healthcare is a joke. That unfunded educational system? Yeah, it applies to all human services. Oh and again, the reason people are forced to travel abroad to seek medical care in the first place is because of the terrible condition of hospitals. Doctors themselves advise patients to obtain surgeries elsewhere. And the government doesn’t pay for it - so if you can’t afford the cost of surgery or the price of travel, you are shit out of luck. Ask a girl named Maysa who has to live with the tumor growing in her leg. She gets to wait for it to expand until it gets so large they’re forced to amputate - all because no hospital in Libya can safely operate & she can’t afford care in a country with a real healthcare system. For more on Maysa - her story also contradicts your subsidized housing claim - see this: http://everythingidoidoforlibya.tumblr.com/
(Re: housing claim, have to add that lower-class citizens were recently forced from their homes to make room for new luxury apartments. Yeah. They had no where to go. But if by “subsidized housing” you meant “no one has money to afford houses and the government tries to keep them happy and silent until they realize there’s a more profitable way to utilize the space” - then congratulations, you are spot on.)
Oh and If you want to use Libyan lives to promote your ideology, perhaps you should avoid using the word “peace”? I mean, unless you think it’s peaceful for a man to use anti-tank weaponry on innocent men, women, and children…or if you think it’s direct democracy to use live ammunition on peaceful protestors….in which case I want to know how you’re still importing Nescafe from Libya, given all those super evil sanctions.
8:43 pm • 27 March 2011 • 78 notes
“If foreigners must be here, the french are by no means the worst, though they have committed many and grave errors”
— Anti-colonial Mujahadeen in early 19th century Libya. Eerie how history repeats itself. Fun Fact: French wanted control of the Fezzan after WWI. Hopefully that aspect of history is done & over with.
4:40 am • 27 March 2011
“We have made this country our country. To the offer to create an ordered state they have replied by shooting down our pioneers, by attacking us in our work when we least expected it, by perpetuating the foulest cruelties on our officers and men when they were taken prisoners.”
Hm Italian colonization propaganda machine sounds like _______.
The similarities never end.
3:13 am • 27 March 2011
And they have sold huge amounts of weapons to Gaddafi. Knowing that he is torturing his people, executing dissidents, that he has been involved in acts of terrorism abroad etc.
Exactly. As if the “rebels” serving freedom tea, guarding reporters & pumping up peace signs could be any worse. This is also why it angers me when people bring up the cost factor. Have enough humanity to wait until people aren’t slaughtered by the minute. And if you can’t do that, realize that these countries made millions of dollars selling Gaddafi the weapons he’s using on his people - I’m sure that will cover the tab.
8:36 pm • 26 March 2011 • 21 notes
“And surely Kipling was only superficially right when he said ‘East is East and West is West.’ Deep down within themselves the peoples of the East and the West are alike. They are two branches of the same tree.”
— Knud Holmboe, 20th Century German Explorer, after his travels through Libya.
3:35 am • 26 March 2011 • 3 notes