No one can survive Bombs and Tunas alone… My Journey to Libya in 2012
I’ve been to the Arab Country situated in North Africa 3 times now & this time , it was different. 1st of all , it was 1 year after the infamous ‘ Arab Spring’ that happened on Feb 17th where they overthrew the tyrannical leader known as Moammar Ghaddafi. My Father decided that winter was too bad for me to stay in America and also some personal issues I won’t be discussing on this page. It was great for a few weeks until wars started happening and things began to take a turn for the worse. I went to a lot of Weddings and Engagement visits. Like I said , Libyans are more conservative they don’t have Engagement parties like other more open Arab countries do they just write the contract and set a wedding date. All I could eat for Lunch/Dinner was chicken , eggs and tuna sandwiches because the economy was so bad after the Arab Spring that we couldn’t afford a lot of food. I only went to the supermarket one time thanks to my cousin’s awesome husband and got all I needed. Women generally in the South of Libya such as Sebha/Al Gourda where my Father’s from , typically don’t go out of the house. In places like Tripoli , Misrata or Benghazi ( Before Turmoil in 2 of the Cities) more women there go out and have cars to drive more than people in the South. Now the south typically are very traditional minded it when it comes to culture and Islam. It even goes overboard with the Wedding traditions. Usually the Bride has her Hennah and Wedding at her House , but my 2nd Cousin whom I still kinda keep in touch with today , had her Wedding at a hall which was awesome. It just depends on the family and how traditional they want it to be. We had to reschedule the wedding so many times because of the Tribal infighting in town. I can tell you I was pretty scared of the bombs going off . My Uncle’s Brother In Law describes it like a action movie he’s just seen on TV.
There’s also some Socio/Political problems still in the country . Many People have sided with the Rebels ( Thowar as they’re called) the one’s who overthrew the Gaddafi leader and some are Tahalab ( Pro Ghadaffi People). Unfortunately, it can tear a lot of friendships and close familial relationships apart I’ve seen it happen with my own eyes. Women in the north have a little bit more freedom than the women in the south, Women in the north do go to school , drive and even have a semi free social life . Whereas the south , a man has to take you wherever you need to go , he also gets stuff you need or ask one of the kids to go get stuff for you especially the really embarrassing stuff. Weddings and Lunches like I said are a special occasion . The food is big and people like to drink a lot of tea & getting into the latest gossip which we know Islamically is not the wisest thing to do. The Social life in Libya is pretty basic your family is all you need , your friends can be part of your family and many more. When girls reach puberty they have to wear the Hijab which is customary , but the hardest part is once they’re in the late teens to late 20’s- early 30’s Libyan women are always talking about Marriage. The generations collide on this one since now more people are willing to go to University & establish a career than starting a relationship or family. Once she does graduate , then the pressure is on and if she’s not married by 30 somethings wrong with her. When I was asked these personal questions it made me feel awkward , but as an American person I stood my ground and told them that I don’t need a man in my life and marriage is not a guarantee for me only Allah knows what’s written for me. They pity the girl if she’s Divorced like it’s a disease some couple’s are not meant to stay together for whatever reason just move on. Especially if that happens the two families have awkwardness between them and their relationships are severed. I was being called Amerekeeya because I loved freedom and independence they weren’t used to that. The society should appreciate women who wanna live their lives as is and not pressure to conform them into a marital institution or a career that would guarantee status. I’d have to say I liked Tripoli better than my Father’s hometown it was pretty opened and things were so much fun back then. Would I wanna go back? probably not , I am happy in a country I was born and raised in. My Grandmother , who was born in a village 1hr away from where my father grew up certainly agrees with me. I’ve visited there it’s like a desert a bunch of houses , one store and one school. I would like to go to other Arab countries InshAllah when things get safer and better for travel until then, I’m gonna stay put in USA and focus on my life here.