Touring Libyan Blogs: French Rock in Tripoli and US Embassy Affairs in a Coffee Shop

Libyan-French relations, especially in culture and education, have never been totally cut even during the ‘hard’ years of the sanctions. The French Cultural Institute though very discreet in downtown Tripoli has been carrying on from its base, providing language courses and library services for as long as I can remember.

Flying Birds author A. Adam has recently attended a music festival sponsored by the ICF and hosted at the beautiful School of Islamic Craft.

“They bring a Rock group this year BIKINI MACHINE (ELECTRO ROCK / France) this band proved that in French Rock still exist and their music inspired by the soul music in the 60's and by the English pop in the 90's but before all , they didn't forget to bring Libyan bands to play Arabic music,”

This just proves that there are more things to bring people together than pull them apart. Wonder who will we groove to next time ?

Khadijateri brought up the subject that the US Embassy in Tripoli is using the coffee shop in the hotel where it is situated to hold interviews for Libyan citizens who are born in the US and who are applying for their US passport.

“They are not allowed into the embassy's offices upstairs, their business is discussed in full earshot of whoever else happens to be in the Corinthia's coffee shop. These Libyan/Americans are usually young guys who are too embarrassed to make an issue out of being met in the coffee shop because they think if they question it their chances of getting the passport (they are rightfully entitled to) might be influenced negatively.”

This has brought to the surface the painful question of visa applications which are still done in Tunis.

As per the website ” On May 31, 2006 the United States of America and the Libyan Arab Jamahiriyah exchanged diplomatic notes confirming the upgrade of the U.S. Liaison Office in Tripoli to a U.S. Embassy.” This means that it is now a fully functioning Embassy. I'm thinking that talking to the potential US citizens in the coffee shop is probably a better idea than in the offices because that is where probably they would NOT have any privacy.

There are two issues here the applicants do not dare to ask for more privacy and they think they are not allowed in the premises. While I personally have not visited the place yet I don't think any bad intentions were meant. It is refreshing to see young Libyans taking the initiative and get their documents sorted out and even seek Khadijateri and ask her advice about how to communicate with Embassy staff.


  • Great post – I wasn’t aware of what’s going on with the Libyan Embassy, thanks for covering it.

  • Suliman

    The story about the US embassy is an unconfirmed rumor, but even in the Libyan press, let alone the unaccountable press like this site, they don’t often distinguish news from rumors from utter fabrication.

    The story might be true, but as it stands, it is based on hearsay without any hard facts. I never knew that an application for a US passport required any “interview.” When I got mine here in the US, I submitted my application at the post office, and I certainly did not have any more privacy than one usually has at the front of a long line of people. I would not say that a “coffee-shop meeting” is any less private than a conversation over the post office counter. In any case, given that the whole damned embassy is based in a hotel, what is so strange about treating the coffee shop like a post-office counter?

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