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Touring Libyan Blogs: Between history, hair, leadership, cleaning the floor and many more stories

Most of us have studied some history, many of us think we know history, but the majority of us are really ignorant about large parts of our own history. That is why the personal accounts of travellers a la Ibn Battuta style are so important to record the making of history. In this regard I am very grateful to Abughilan and his wonderful blog of the same name. Abughilan's discovery this time is the tales of  Ernest H. Griffin, a British doctor with the Red Crescent and his adventures in Libya between 1912-1914.

“The mission consisted of two surgeons, two nurses and materials and supplies for a mobile hospital. After a short sojourn near Zavia town, the mission hospital was moved up to Yefren on 13th October, 1912 carried by a caravan consisted of 120 camels and protected by 24 gens d’armes provided by the chief of the Western Mountain Sullieman Al Barouni.[…] Dr. E. H. Griffin wrote a book later on called ‘Adventures in Tripoli’ in which he left us a very detailed account of his stay in Yefren and Tripolitania. He referred to Al Barouni as an educated, intelligent and strong willed man. He described Yefren streets as being clean, paraffin lamps being lit at night and patrolled by gens d’armes. He described the existence of an organized people’s authority that provided the services needed to run a civic society such as justice, security, telegraph services with the free towns on the coast and Tunisia, and recruiting and training fighters for the Jihad against the Italian enemy.
He told us of Abdullah who was a French Moslem and Al Barouni explosives expert. He made friends with Sheik Sassi , local ruler of Yefren, with Khani who was Al Barouni flag bearer and Jameel the Turk telegraph operator who remained with his fellow Moslems in Yefren.

He observed that the Jewish community of Yefren lived in harmony with their Moslem neighbors and they were well treated by them, and both of them were very strict in observing their respective religions.”

From the historical mood to more current news, we find  that the latest trend among some bloggers is for cutting their hair. A.Adam who reported on this phenomenon, has taken it one step further and done a Britney Spears on us. Nai3iman Akram !

“Last week I heard that our friend Lebeeya and Maysoon had new haircut and lately Khadijateri's daughter and just heard from news that Britney Spears had new look and she shaved her head completely.
Why me, I want to shave it too [sic]”

Aladdin of Tripoli is back on the blogosphere, apart from being superbusy with exams, assignments, being head of the household while his mum is away, organizing exhibitions, and finding accomodation for his boss, he managed to get shortlisted at the US Embassy in Libya for the MEPI Programme ( US-Middle East Partnership Initiative), where if chosen by Washington he will get to travel for six-weeks to the US on a leadership training courses. This is very exciting and we wish Aladdin the best. I especially enjoyed his description of the interview at the Embassy :

“i went to the Interview, they asked me several questions such as ( why i was born in Iraq!!) and ( what's the weakness points in America) and why the Embassy should choose me to join the programme and what will i Add to the programme…etc
i went then back home and a week later i got a call telling me that the embassy has choose me and other 4 persons to be recommended to Washington, but Washington has the final decision to have this opprotunity to go to America or not, so Dear Bloggers and Friends please pray for me to be picked by Washington and have the opprutunity of my life and Visit the States and be part of the MEPI Pragramme..[sic]”

Blogger Ema has picked up on a different trend which has recently spread like a prairie wildfire among Libyan younger females: the aptly named ‘Muslim-Modern look’. She caused quite a few ripples in the discussion and like her and most readers I find it disgusting irritating that Libyans are blindly copying Gulf country fashionistas. It looks so fake plus it has nothing to do with modesty ( at least the way it is applied in Libya).

“this style of clothing that means I'm Muslim but modern I say, is increasing between university girls and even in the everyday life. I was never convinced that this newly imported style is something good, and I guess it's been imported from the Gulf countries cause the 3baya (black cloak worn by women) is originally from there, and after the opening in relations and economy boosting, traveling became easier to there especially Dubai where the trends came from I guess.
They wear 3baya, OK I have nothing against that, but the hair is still out and it's always dyed beautifully, so there is no chance that we will fall for it to be out by accident, [..] anyway the sheela (a black clothe to cover the hair) or the head cover comes with lots of gems and crystals that sparkle in the sun and may cause dizziness to whoever sees them. not to mention the high heels and the waves of perfume left behind her as she walks. And add to that the horrifying amount of make up on the face,[..] And we always know what they are wearing underneath, whether it was jeans or Bermuda [sic]”

If you ever wondered about washing the floor, Highlander has made a special post for you complete with photos of the tools and the procedure.

“Tasyig is the term used in Libya for washing the floor, whether it is the bathroom, kitchen, jnan ( courtyard) or other rooms in the house. Most Libyan houses are equipped with zeleiz floor tiles as seen in this photo here. , including the courtyard- or any variations thereof, and the kitchens and bathrooms have ceramic tiles. “

Tasyig is apparently still extremely popular in Libya even though it did draw some bitter criticism for being wasteful of water.

Finally our very own Libyan in Denmark Safia is reporting on an increasing trend in that country namely the rising numbers of Danes who convert to Islam.What I like about Safia is her intelligence, coupled with an acerb tongue which means her posts always have a twist which is good to jolt your brain – no propaganda silliness coming out from her keyboard !

7 comments

  • Thanks Fozia for the Na3iman :)

  • Ema

    thank you Fozia for mentioning my topic :)

  • Gheriani

    I’m very glad of your appreciation, and yes, I agree with you that eyewitnesses in history are very important. I just discovered your Global Voices and I like it.

  • Fozia

    A.Adam and Ema you are welcome, your topics are all very important pieces of the Libyan mosaic.

    Gheriani, I’m honored you like this site and look forward to reading more from you about Libya’s history.

  • Really Great Fozia.I enjoyed reading the story.

  • I enjoyed reading the story too, Fozia.

  • We are talking about the history of Libya, I really enjoyed the story I can’t wait too read more about Libya!

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