Touring Libyan Blogs: Health Sector, Old Ladies, Confrontating a Racist Bully, Globetrotting and Another Libyan Writer

The case of the Bulgarian nurses (and the Palestinian doctor) is already fading into history – while speculation rages if they have been bought off, whether they were guilty or not, if they were hostage to a political settlement in the New World Order or who is it exactly that defused the situation? One thing is sure on this side of the world is that their innocence or the lack of it has not been proven 100 per cent. However, in the interest of self preservation Libyans are moving on.

Blogger Tasnim thinks this is the right time to discuss the topic of Libyan healthcare in general and gossip a little about our own medics:

“Every single young doctor in each new batch of Libyan doctors has a collection of tales to tell. Being blessed with the undoubted blessing of having many female doctor cousins all new to the trade, (mashallah) I get to hear a lot on the subject. Such as, the patients who correct the doctor. Or the nurses who sit gossiping about henna this and farah (wedding) that and retorts ‘Mich Fadya’ to a doctor’s request”

The blogger is also complaining about the foreign medics employed in Libya on long term contracts. Why don't they speak Arabic – or even English for that matter? Are Libyans expected to communicate in Ukrainian or in Tagalog?

“Then there’s the grousing about the Ukrainan and other east European medics who speak neither Arabic nor English. I’ve seen this myself; otherwise I’d think it was an exaggeration. In the medical centre we live close to, the foreign medics are all from Ukraine or Philippines. Those from the Philippines speak English, very little Arabic. Some of those from the Ukraine couldn’t speak either.
Communication in these cases must be a mixture of sign language and…well, sign language. When this fails, appeal for translation.”

These are doctors and nurses not some labourers laying a pipeline. They need to communicate correctly. How else do we expect them to provide accurate diagnosis if they don't even understand what the patient is feeling? Tasnim goes on to compare this with a reverse hypothesis :

“[]imagine an Arab doctor in a foreign country. Then imagine that doctor not learning the language of the country s/he is residing in, showing no interest in learning the language of the country s/he is residing in, and what’s more, expecting ‘the natives’ to learn Arabic so that s/he can be understood”.

The readers would have to make their own conclusion but my first thought is that an Arab doctor would be thought off as pretty arrogant if h/she tried to pull that off abroad.

In another topic Duniazad likes to read the Tripoli Post and usually brings out gems that we might overlook one of these is her post Old and New in which she quotes the recent article by Zainab Alarbi in which she criticizes how Libyan mothers-in-law are bullying their daughters-in-law.

“If you would think that all old ladies are soft and gentle, then you are wrong. I’m sorry to tell you that they can be deceivingly strong, and verbally abusive; especially towards daughters-in–law. And when a certain tradition or custom is turned into an iron-clad rule, it turns into tyranny. We should have an association that specializes in educating women on how to stand up to their female ‘elders’. Superstitions, ignorance, and harmful habits are passed on from generation to generation in some areas of our country specifically by these elders.”

I'm not sure if Duniazad agrees but I must say that some elder women are a nuisance but they are still someone's mother, sister, aunt etc…and we have been brought up to respect our elders so the balancing act is going to be very tough. On the other hand I would encourage Zainab to become a blogger as she has good story-telling talent!

Safia had an encounter in Denmark with a drunken racist bully but she won the round by standing her ground. But Safia was very close to showing the guy her martial arts skills. I'm wondering if she knocked him out what would the papers in the next morning carry on their front pages?

Anyway I will leave you to enjoy her adventure:

“An obviously drunk/high male individual with shaved head and badly drawn tatoos on his arms and neck is having fun with some of the others. […]Mr. Alcohol spits at waiting passengers, shouts loudly, dangles around and pushes people, laughing at himself.[…]Of course the jerk stops right in front of my bench, looking at me. Then he snorts and says: “Are you half nigger or what?” […]Mr. Queer Tattoo backs of a second, then gathers himself: “Shitty nigger! Why don´t you go home to where you came from?” [..]Now he verbally threatens to beat the living shit out of me and all people like me, but I answer him back, looking him straight into his grey/red eyes: “Why don´t you leave this station now? Might be better for you and your kind if you just shut up and leave!” – my voice is still very calm but firm and filled with icy anger. I am ready for him, already thinking what to tell the police when they arrive to pick him up in a bucket.”

Whiteafrican has been on a trip to Bangladesh and she is regaling the blogosphere with her photos, thoughts and account of the voyage.

“now i wasn't relying on Bengali coffee being the best of coffee so i had brought my own, all they needed to do was supply hot water and presto that's my breakfast done, but i was expected to eat something at least, well breakfast in Bangladesh consists of roti or parata (similar to chapatis or for Libyans ‘iftat’) with sabzi (mixed cooked vegetables) and occasionally curry, i kinda invented my own style of breakfast that consisted of the roti with honey, curry is a bit to heavy for me in the morning, the best thing though is the fruit, mango and pineapple fresh for breakfast is out of this world.”

You can follow it here, here, here, here, and here.

And finally we can end this tour by congratulating Libyan doctor and blogger Ghazi Ghiblawi on the recent publishing of his short stories in Arabic. The title in English ( my translation) would be “A face that knows no sadness”. Ghazi's blog Imtidad is full of his thoughts and stories in Arabic and English and I can only stress how talented he is as a scientist and writer.

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