Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Day's End Is Just The Beginning of Another

It's been a year of total chaos, absurdity, tears, tragedy ... and relief.

True that I might have had a different vision than that of what 2011 has shown... correction: what Allah has written for us in this year... I now find myself thinking of what I might have done had all these events not occurred. I have no idea. And that's why we are encouraged to keep faith and believe in the unknown, and all that comes with it.

And now, looking back, I realize how much it's been a year of transformation to millions, especially in our Arab region. What a delight? I mean, had we ever allowed such change to enter our lives had we been hit by a brick in the head? Of course not. It took a war to bring us back to the surface.

We should be content. Regardless of the great lack of organization nowadays. As they say, Rome wasn't built in one day...

So whatever awaits us in 2012, hopefully it wouldn't be worse than Gaddafi !! May we be wise in taking our country to another, better, level. It's up to us now, all of us, the people, to make it a better place.

As far as my family are concerned, they're doing well (they say it's freezing down there). My brother passed his senior year at high school with distinction. Which is just marvellous owing to the turbulent year he's had under indiscriminate shelling and what not in Misurata. It's fair to say that the worst is over. My dad's  back at work, though things are pretty slow and still no salaries. Most of my relatives are back in Sirte either to stay or check on their houses. Some of them actually had to move for good to either Tripoli or Misurata. 

The same goes for my Pro-Gaddafi relatives (yes, they do exist after all this!) and for those of them who're back in Sirte, they remain ever so loyal to the "Martyr" Gaddafi, saying they don't want whoever doesn't want him. And we're like, "Um, Ok. Fair deal?"


It's just so sad. To think that going to Sirte, or being there, has always been a joy. And now, all I can think of is all the damage and the tension this entity of the population poses. No matter how much people tell of what it's like there in the city, I'm pretty sure it's unlike being there in person... seeing, listening, and even smelling if that makes a difference.

Yet, it's kind of refreshing, on another axis, to see that life's back to normal lately. I've heard several people I know got married, and a couple of days ago my cousin got engaged. How delightful! About time to start over... keep the engines running.

I know I've been away from social networks lately, or rather, I've maintained a limit to my availability. For my own sake, and others of course, I felt it was the right thing to do. We've been exposed to one too many this year and personally I had to pull the plug at some point. Had to and wanted to. Hoping that someday, maybe someday, I'd be back with a fresh start. And what better timing than a new year?

Happy New Year :) 

Till next 'year' !

Hana S.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Diary Entry #1: La guerra รจ finita...!

Friday Oct 28, 2011
Dear Diary:

It's over...

The war in Libya is over. It all ended by the capture of Gaddafi himself last Thursday the 20th... in my home town Sirte.

It's so heartbreaking that when you look back, all it took to get rid of him and his regime was a prolonged period of fighting, massacres, oppression, disappearances, abductions, executions, sorrow, fear, threats... The scale of destruction and misery has spread across Libya. Sirte is no exception to that. It is now a city in ruins and its people are devastated.

The degree of suffering in Libya is insurmountable, at the time being. I hope my saying, "at the time being" does not sound too optimistic.

When man thought he was progressing for the better into the new millennium, he's disgustingly sinking in deep ****. As a normal citizen of the world, I feel embarrassed. And for sure I do not envy world leaders for their positions, because I'd feel really ashamed of myself for being one, if I were as passive they are, that is.
Wow. Shame on them! Hiding behind their piles of well-stacked money, and power. Shame on them. Shame on those who faltered. We've reached a time in history when the mass leads the country whilst the rightful leader stands like a wall flower, reluctant, worried about his rank, showering us with condemnations (which normally take ages to be excavated) that only evaporate in the air.

Right... why am I saying this? Since when did I ever have political interests? Or even loved them? "You're confusing politics with the humanitarian crisis in Libya," I console myself, "The word 'activist' doesn't necessarily have to be related to politics." Okay, shush!

I have no idea how they do this. I'm officially exhausted, both emotionally and physically. It kind of strikes you when you don't see things coming. "Be careful what you wish for," they say, and that's what came my way. But I'm thankful nevertheless. When you're earnest in asking Allah to grant you the means, any means possible, for you to be a part of a great cause. Then it's granted. And you can't back out.

A couple of weeks back I said to my colleagues on Facebook, "I need to retire soon!" and one of them replied, "You can't do that now! After all we've been through and us reaching the peak of things!..."


This reminded me of Mustafa Akkad's son-in-law quoting the late director who once advised to pull the plug when you reach the peak. Isn't it wise now?

I'm not saying we should throw our campaigns to the wind... all I'm saying, suggesting is more like it, is to move at a slower pace now, to think rationally, to evaluate, and face the music. The new Libya is the hardest reality that's ever crossed my path. The new us that emerged is ever so remarkable.

An up-rise in Libya seemed so larger than life once upon a time.

Till next time,

Hana S

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Um... Help ?

It's been over a month since many Libyans who've had relatives in Sirte were able to get in touch with them due to the communications black out over the city with the outside world. Now that Freedom Fighters have entered, thousands of people managed to escape their homes (prisons!) in Sirte and find refuge in neighboring cities, mainly Misurata. 

The first to have left from my family was my youngest uncle. He had fled Brega over 7 months ago when fighting started there and had come to Sirte. It's been a while now since he finally made it to Misurata.

And thank Goodness for the internet we were able to talk and he told stories of how people managed to survive the harsh conditions there.

I personally find it hard to believe, that in a time period such as the 21st century, that an urban city is ridiculously blocked from the rest of the country... let alone, the rest of the world.

When my folks were stuck in Misurata, our only connection was with my relatives in Sirte. So now it's vice versa. Before, it was kinda comforting seeing all those videos that kept coming on facebook of clashes and raw footage from battlefields mainly in Misurata, at least we knew, saw, what the inside of the city was going through. With Sirte, and especially now... we know nothing. 

I don't know if my grandparents' house is still standing or not, or whether my aunt's house has holes in its roof.  How much of the city has changed?

A moment ago a guy on Sirte's facebook page was asking if anyone had recent pics from the city. He wanted to examine the amount of destruction there. In a way, that's pretty wise. No one would want to be shocked by reality... a sad one. No one would want to hear his aunt's husband was killed when he's still alive. No one would want to go and see his house burnt down when he could've known from someone who already knew about it.

But that's life. You don't win them all. Yet, we can still help release each other's strains if we forget our grudges and focus on the moment. Now. Help save lives or even someone's sanity by giving a smile, a prayer, and any uplifting gesture within your capacity.

Keeping our hopes high... till there's a better Libya.

Till next time,

Hana S.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Updates From Sirte

Source: February 17 Sirte Revolutionaries (facebook)
Latest news received from contacts in Sirte, categorized by date of occurrence. News subject to alterations in accordance with updates.  
Names of men arrested on Sept 6th:
1- Zargoun AlHussein Al-Shibani Zargoun.
2- Ahmed Al-Tuhami Al-Shawish
3- Yusuf Muhammad Raheel
Names of men arrested on Sept 7th:
1- Gheith Muhammad Gheith Al-Haj
Sept 12th martyrs inside Sirte (#1 residential area)
1- Ussama Muftah Al-Safrouni
2- Elhadi AbdelSalam AL-Safrouni
3- Izzideen Faouzi AbuZeid
Names of people injured during clashes with Gaddafi thugs in #1 area, Sirte:
1- AbdelRaouf Rajab Rweiha
2- Muftah Al-Safrouni (Abducted from the hospital)
3- Al-Siddeeg Muftah Al-Safrouni (Same fate as his father)
Names of people arrested Sept 12th:
1- Emhemed AbdelHafeedh Buhreiba Al-Guntshi
2- Mansour Emhemed AbdelHafeedh Buhreiba Al-Guntshi
3- Salem Jamal Ehweidir
4- Hamza Emhemed Al-Mahdi Abdelaali
5- Naser Bueljiya
Names of people arrested on Sept 14:
1- Ahmed Al-Tayib Al-Zein
2- Unknown (arrested at #2 traffic lights)
Names of prisoners (undated)
1- Mustafa Elhadi Alaboub
2- Someone from Al-Mabsout family (name not mentioned)

Hana S.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Waiting For Sirte...

Isn't it weird... that there exists on earth... at the heart of Africa's northern coast... the center of our planet's map... a city that's isolated from the outside world?

Bitter, and strange.

In the past, every time we went to Libya for our summer vacation, I always felt that our trip would be incomplete had we not been to Sirte. For me, that city is Libya. The people there are my family. I can't explain my love for its atmosphere, I just feel... home.

I love how, whenever we enter the city, Dad would turn off the a.c. and we'd roll down our windows. The blast of warm Mediterranean air is so soothing, let alone that we normally arrive there around dusk, a time when the city's crawling back to life :)


What's it going to be like, when I go there again (hopefully soon) and it's post Gaddafi? Will it be different? Will the people change? How will Pros and Antis get along?

How will my family get along?

Sometimes I like to believe that my distant relatives who are Pro-Gaddafi are already sick of him and can't wait to see him behind bars. Wouldn't that be a relief! I felt extremely happy when my cousin (who's from the Gadadfa tribe) visited my folks in Misurata over a month ago and was cursing Gaddafi! :) Wow!

Come to think of it, my side of the family who are Gadadfa are not that well off because of him. Yeah, except those who are established members of the regime's military brigades... those have doorsteps made of marble! But in the end, they just adore him to pieces -___-" 

Many a times we've been wondering how is it Gaddafi forces are fighting for him? Yes, there are extremely relentless ones whom we've seen on countless videos torturing and killing innocent civilians with cold blood. But then, there are the ones who have one of two choices: either to refuse fighting and be executed, or to go to the battlefield and get killed either by NATO or Freedom Fighters.

What I know for sure, is that if a gun were pointed to my head, and I was ordered to say, "Allah, Muammar, and Libya only"... I wouldn't say it. Yes, it's just a phrase and one can recite it to save one's life... but there's the issue of principles and beliefs. Strength, Bravery. And people differ in that respect. Like, I can't ensure to anyone that any of the ones I know who are in Sirte right now (regardless of their opinions and backgrounds) would do the same under pressurized circumstances. I know a guy who stood in the middle of Sirte's biggest square and declared that he denied his family in one of the liberated cities in Libya. 

Okay, this guy didn't have a gun at his head but surely there's some other means of pressure that led him to do so. Could be fear of losing rank? Wealth? Or the usual, his life? Right. He might still be a loyalist for all we know. We're just talking.

And we're still waiting...

Hana S.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Gaddafi... Our Biggest Typo Ever!

click click click click... click click...
click click click click click

We're all busy lately and our lives seem to have changed. No. Correction: our perspectives towards life has changed.

In writing, there's this technique that helps you get warmed up and allow your ideas to flow. It's called free writing. You just write write write write without looking back at what you wrote, then once you're done, leave it cool for a bit (an hour, two, a day...a week?). If you're lucky enough to remember it again (jk) you go back to it and you notice that you're looking at it with a fresh eye. You read on and find yourself saying, "What the Hell is that?" "I can't believe I wrote this," and "Oops, typo."

Get the picture?

I'm not saying you use this technique in life. No. That's way too time-consuming, and what's worse, it would mess up your life rather than fix it. 

Perhaps, as Libyans, that's exactly how we led our lives. For decades now we've been using this weird technique of living along, stopping loads of times to look back and see where our lives went wrong, but little did we do to fix it. No proof-reading. No great big efforts to delete, copy and paste...

And we've avoided correcting the great big typo of all time... Muammar Gaddafi.

For those who don't know what Typo means, here's the definition: a small mistake in a text made when it was typed or printed (


So, when you have a typo in your written context, the whole thing becomes out of proportion, and its true value is lost. Wait. It has no value to begin with. People might let it slide, but since it's all wrong, it won't get anywhere. 

Gaddafi's regime started off like that. It didn't have a good proofreader, and perhaps they didn't want one. Remember when you wanted to do something so much that you were positive it was right, and didn't want anything to come in your way and say otherwise, that was probably thei philosophy too. But wait a minute. This is not just going out behind your Mom's back in Ramadan and grabbing a piece of embatin from the kitchen and then think nothing's gonna happen. This is about governing people and bearing responsibility. 

Gaddafi's reign was all wasted in gaining power, entitling himself, his family and members of his tribe to rule and sabotage.

Going back into all that is just a pain in the head.

By Maya Zankoul ^_^

I hope we've all taken the opportunity to vent out during the past - long!- six months, to say what we've always longed to say about the regime.

Now's the time to start rowing in a new direction, a better one.

The revolution is definitely a blessing from Allah to get us back on our feet and claim our rights, and start living a decent life. We need to work hard, plan properly, and even dream properly! Let's not be selfish for everybody's sake and dream about things that would profit our entire community.

If you dream to be a teacher, add to that how you can devise a teaching system to whatever subject you're specializing in, and how that's gonna impact on your students... and then future students. You'll be saving the next generations!

If you're a businessman, think of how you can benefit not just your pocket but also the country's industry which would eventually help decrease unemployment rates!

It's great to dream big. But always think about how it's gonna affect the world around you. Now that's what I'd call success!

Surely you've been told at one time- or many times if you live in a "nagging" environment- to sit down with yourself at the end of the day to go through your daily activity. So, if you've done good deeds then give yourself a pat on the back. Bad deeds? well, make sure you regret them and make up for it the next day... or even better, your days yet to come!

Yeah. Do this. You'll probably forget sometimes, so make sure you train yourself. As you rest your head to sleep at night, before or after you say your evening Athkar - please tell me you do that T___T - and start interrogating yourself.

Our country's gonna be a great place soon, that's for sure, inshallah. The important thing is that we make good use of the time being and think think think of those stairs that will help us rise :) 

Nuf said.

Till next time,

Hana S.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Ramadan This Year...

Yet another year goes by.

It's amazing - a blessing too- to witness this holy month once again :)

It's also a relief that most Muslim countries are fasting together, or that our Lunatic didn't decide to fast differently than our freedom fighters. Lunatic: he can do anything!

This time last year, I was up to my ears applying finishing touches to my research project. The whole process was fun, but chaotic all at the same time. My family was here for the last 10 days of Ramadan and my deadline was a day or two after Eid. So you can almost imagine my being on my toes all along.

So, obviously, this year's different. My family's not here. It's my first Ramadan to spend alone; my third here in the UK. The first two my brother used to come ahead of time, enjoying the summer and then waiting for the remainder of our family to join in and then they'd go home together.

And then life goes back to normal. The dull normal.

But in the end, we get by. You remember you have a great faith in Allah, that these things happen for a reason, and I'm glad to notice that this predicament has made our family much stronger. You just don't know what they're doing every hour of every day, however, you keep praying for their safety and telling yourself that they're doing fine.

Fighting continues on the western front line of Misurata, and any wayward shelling from the opposite side is more than likely at any time.

Then again... there's the faith. You believe that nothing will happen unless it's in God's will.

Today's the fourth day of this blessed month. How're you doing so far? Are you pleasing God? Do you think you're doing it right? May Allah help and guide us all...

Ramadan Mubarak :)

Till next time,

Hana S.