Thursday, September 30, 2004

Seperate but Equal?

1-The persuit of a career in media/journalism: 15 hours/week (sometimes paid, sometimes not);
2-Advocacy for my community's political stances and acting as a junior civil rights guardian with definite prospects for meeting bigger fish and making bigger splashes politically for the sake of my people's rights;
3-a reliable source of income for the essentials.

These are the seperate parts of my life that manifest in 12 hour day/6 to 7 day weeks at the end of which I have neither time nor energy to do much else (though sometimes I am obligated). Each are equally important for a vague goal that I sense but can never articulate. This I know: there's somewhere I'm supposed to go or something I'm supposed to do and this is the source of my drive. I haven't figured it out yet, but I know it. Yet somehow I can't believe that this is supposed to be what my life will be like for too much longer.

What's gotta give: Money, belief, or opportunity? Do I really have to choose or is there some solution I'm not seeing? Lend me your eyes for a few moments; mine are tired.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Italian hostages released in Iraq

The two Simona's have been released after a rather confusing case of kidnapping in Iraq. Who done it is yet to be answered, but at least they're safe now.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Italian hostages released in Iraq

Friday, September 24, 2004

"A star from Mosul"

Najma's post explains perfectly what I miss most about being home in Libya. Nothing like a house of family, friends, and neighbors coming and going. Hospitality is not just cultural, it's an art. The more people coming, the more successful you know you are at making people feel perfectly at home in your own.
I miss that environment more than I can express in words.
Sweet Dreams
A star from Mosul

Monday, September 20, 2004

Just realized something

I just realized that to read the next post of mine, you have to register for the NY Times Online. For those interested, it is free and a good paper to read. For those uninterested, I'll copy and paste the article here. Off to work.

Libya Tells Iran: Be Like us and Comply with IAEA

Published: September 20, 2004

VIENNA (Reuters) - Libya, which last year renounced its nuclear weapons program, Monday urged Iran to follow suit and comply with the demands of the U.N. nuclear watchdog to stop enriching uranium which can be used to make atomic bombs.

``As (IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei) said today, some things have to be fulfilled by Iran,'' Libyan Deputy Prime Minister Matouq M. Matouq told reporters after meeting U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham at the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) annual general conference.

``The Iranians have to meet these obligations because of the agreement with the IAEA, and we hope that we can have another example (of) Iran of fulfilling the obligations and following the IAEA agreements,'' he said.

Saturday the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution calling on Iran to end uranium enrichment. Tehran rejected the resolution, calling the demand illegal.

Matouq also said Tripoli's December 2003 decision to abandon all weapons of mass destruction could be seen as an example for Iran and all other countries.

``Libya has set an example for everybody,'' he said.

Washington accuses Iran of developing nuclear weapons, but Tehran insists its atomic ambitions are peaceful.

Libya Tells Iran: Be Like us and Comply with IAEA

Read the article first, and then my response.

The New York Times > Reuters > International > Libya Tells Iran: Be Like us and Comply with IAEA

That's a good one.
Let's clarify a couple of significant differences in the positions of Iran and Libya, shall we?

First, Iran does not suffer from dillusions of grandeur. It IS actually a much larger country, with a larger population, more natural resources, including maybe 3X the proven petro-reserves Libya has, and an educated percentage of the population that CAN develop technologically (for peaceful or other ends). Iran's Islamic government was instated after a nation-wide revolution that overthrew a US appointed puppet that made it very clear that the common Iranians were not really his priority. Not everyone that revolted was for an Islamic government, for sure, but the fact that this government followed a popular revolution is important.

Iran is also strategically much more threatening to US interests in the region...actually regions since Iran straddles both the Middle East and Central Asia. I think it's safe to say that Iran's military is probably off than Iraq's was after a decade plus of sanctions. Geographically, Iran borders Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, and Russia. Iran has also proven that it will put it's money where its mouth is regarding the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.

On the other hand, Libya has a population of 6 million (a liberal estimate), over 90% of the country is desert (hardly a chance for guerilla warfare except in the eastern green mountain area). Libya does have substantial amounts of proven oil reserves, but let's put this in perspective: Saudi Arabia's 261.7 billion barrels of proven reserves tops the list of the top 10 countries; Iran is third with 100.1; Libya is number nine, with 30.0 billion barrels of proven oil reserves. What this means is that Libya doesn't have as much negotiating leverage as oil is its number one export AND competition is tough. In game theory speak, it is more beneficial for Libya to cooperate than to risk not cooperating...unlike Iran. Greatest Oil Reserves by Country, 2003

The 1969 Coup and the subsequent domestic (read oppressive) actions of the Free Generals did little to advance Libyan's technological opportunities; rather, a steady trend of the 'brain drain' phenomenon continued throughout the 70s and 80s as many who were educated abroad with the intent of returning to benefit their homeland remained abroad due to the political situation.

There are those who hail the 69 Coup as bloodless. Yes, in 1969, it was bloodless. Against the King Idris, it was bloodless. Against the broader population, especially those the regime declared enemies of the state (like the 'enemy combatant' status) in the decades to come, it was not bloodless. Finally, violence is not always bloody. I'll write more on that theme later though.

The top-down establishment of the current government of Libya leaves much to be answered regarding where the loyalties of Libyans lie. Its popular stability is a wild card while Islamic governance seems to me, at least, to be gaining popularity along with other calls for increasing (secular) democratic participation.

To continue, Libya is strategically significant, but not in the same way as Iran. The politics of the last few years indicate that the spotlight, at least for the US, is on Central Asia and the Middle East proper rather than Africa or North Africa. Libya has clout in Africa, a continent full of unstable governments easily bought out by western/US corporations to the detriment of their people. Yes, the same thing is occuring in Central Asia and the Middle East, but the people of those regions have proven far more resistant. Until the US turns its head to Africa, Libya's position of leadership is not of the utmost concern.

Finally, we turn to the issue of Israel. The world has heard plenty of anti-Israeli statements from Libya throughout the years, including willingness to lead a new war if only Egypt opened its borders and other Arab nations contributed militarily. Good one again, I say.

Unlike Iran's links to Hizbollah, a group credited with kicking Israel out of Lebanon, Qadaffi's actions prove either unwillingness or inability to continue supporting the Palestinians. Libya's share of a fund established by the League of Arab States to support Palestinians has not been paid for a few years now (unless my knowledge is out-dated, and I will research this a little later). 30,000 Palestinians who were expelled from Libya in the late 90s, to make some incomprehensible point to either the world or Arabs or Israel, were forced to set up a refugee camp between the Egyptian and Libyan border. In sum, Libya is no threat, politically or militarily, to Israel.

Now, I love my country and am happy that changes are underway, but I will NOT allow a complete cover-up of the past simply because the US wants to use Libya as a trophy for its bloody ambitions in the Middle East.


I know I said I was off to work.. and I am. Well, I'm while I was getting ready, the radio news announced another beheading in Iraq. What's creepy is that last night, I dreamt of a beheading of a man in an isolated parking garage. I usually never remember my dreams, which is why this time is CREEPY. Maybe I should stop obsessing over the news.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Israeli Arab team enter big league

Well... if any part of what I hear about the importance of soccer/football is actually true, THIS would signify something at least interesting.
BBC NEWS | Middle East | Israeli Arab team enter big league

Tuesday, September 14, 2004


Is it wrong to want to believe in something so great--something more beautiful than anything you've laid eyes on, more sensational than anything you've sensed--that it's unbelievable? Is it wrong to want something you have no right to expect or desire something you don't deserve? Is it wrong to hope?

My sister once told me a hadith, or an Islamic teaching, that I've taken to heart and rely on for strength when I lose sight of my goals. I believe the Prophet Mohammed stated this. Even if it's Yom Il-Qiama (Judgement Day) and you have one seed in your hand, you should plant it.

Now, I'm not very religious, nor do I pretend to be. But there's guidance in this thought that is universal. Why do anything? Because it is right and because it is good and because it is what should be done. In times when what is good and right are difficult to identify clearly, I do hope that we all plant the seeds that we have in the spirit of a splendid future.

This is but one thing I've learned from Islam that stands against the distortions so many choose to focus on today.


Ayman Al-Aathar and Aamar Hassan somewhere in Tripoli, Libya. BBC NEWS | World | Middle East | Libya stunned by 'idol' success Posted by Hello

BBC NEWS: Libya 'owes most parking fines'

This one's just funny, really. Maybe it's one of those clashes of civilization.
BBC NEWS | UK | Libya 'owes most parking fines'

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Music from the people, for the people

It's hip and it's hop; it's hip hop true to its legacy and history. son of nun is a hip-hop artist I have a lot of respect for. His message of equality and resistance is clear AND he takes the essence of hip hop to send a message at the national and international levels.
son of nun - Band page with free MP3 music downloads on SoundClick

News and Views ala Libya

In the future, I'll post summaries (and links) regarding news of Libya. Right now, I have to get ready for work so I have no time for commenting or analysis. But I do want this blog to also be educational. I fully realize that to most people in the world, Libya is like a black hole. No inflow or outflow of information, and little interest on the part of non-Libyans. While I won't convince anyone to be interested if they're really not interested, I do hope to give Libya a little dimension. The link below leads to a site that has updated Libyan news and goes back a few years. It's a part of a generally comprehensive site about Libya and sites relating to Libya. Check it out and have a lovely day/evening.
Libya: News and Views

One man's resistance

Saturday, September 11, 2004

9/11 Memories

Almost forgot that today is the anniversary of 9/11 0f 2000. It's actually been lurking somewhere in the back of my mind, but I almost forgot to comment on it. Then again, what is there to comment on, except that it led to a seemingly endless war between good and evil in which there exists no objective sense of who is 'good' and who is 'evil'.

I'll tell you something. The day the Supreme Court decided the recount business was irrelevant, thus determining the president, I immediately thought "Great. There's going to be a war." The only question was who with.

Then 9/11 happened. I spent the night at a friend's house the night before; we were both awakened by a phone call from another friend, telling us to turn on the television immediately. Not the nicest wake-up call, I know, but it was definitely effective. We woke up. My friends wouldn't let me out of their sight for the next three days for fear someone would take out frustrations on the nearest Arab they found. The answer to 'Who with?' had been answered on that awful day when all I could think was "Please don't let them be Arab or Muslim".

Well, I guess some things are out of my hands, like this was. I watched in horror as the pictures and identities of the hijackers was exposed, one by one, and awaited the retaliation.

Human bombs in New York and DC; Military bombs in Afghanistan; Regime change in Iraq manifesting in a SNAFU involving both military and human bombs, and God knows what else we'll see. How many have died now? How many more will die? How big is this war and what's it really about? Certainly, the victims of 9/11 aren't back and I wonder if even their families feel avenged.

Truth is the first casuality of war.

Hoping for peace.

Famous moments in history "It wasn't like the fall of the Berlin wall or anything like that"

Ok... now, anyone that's seen this particular scene in the movie "Control Room" and then hears this Simon Robinson (TIME Correspondent whose voice goes with this picture) has got to wonder what Simon is talking about. He says about a thousand Iraqis were out in Firdos Square to watch this statue be taken down. I saw maybe 30. And why would anyone be out in the middle of a war?

TIME: 21 Days to Baghdad

Singing for Sanity

TIME: 21 Days to Baghdad

Is this the enemy?

TIME: 21 Days to Baghdad

Life in Baghdad: February 2004

New discovery.. Now, I'm supposed to be able to invite people on this blog scene, right? I still haven't figured out how, but this is one blogger I think is interesting.

Life in Baghdad: February 2004: "'What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans, and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is brought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty and democracy?' - Gandhi -"

Friday, September 10, 2004

Map & Graph: Countries by Crime: Murders with firearms (per capita)

This one's just kind of ironic. The countries most likely to go on about how unsafe other countries are just happen to be the ones actually listed. hmmm. an exercise in critical thinking.

Map & Graph: Countries by Crime: Murders with firearms (per capita)

Map & Graph: Countries by Military: Expenditures: dollar figure (per capita)

Yeah, this is kind of random, but these are the things that occupy my mind in my free time. Does this chart worry anyone other than me? Where's the 'Sleeping Giant' (China) that everyone's been worrying about on this list? AT THE BOTTOM... that's where.

Map & Graph: Countries by Military: Expenditures: dollar figure (per capita)


Apparently the day I was playing around with posting pictures was also the day blogger was a bit delayed. I apologize for the double and triple posts and will try to delete them promptly. In case I can't,though, just enjoy the imagery.

The pictures were chosen because they convey a sense of history, geography, and culture. The desert sky has always been a point of wonder and amazement for people as well as the open sea. I've read some things about how geography influences cultural evolution, but usually the subjects of these studies aren't smack in the middle of both desert and sea. Mostly, subjects of such anthropological studies are isolated by a particular kind of climate.

But Libyans, like our neighbors, live between the sea and the desert (which some also call an ocean/sea of sorts). So we get to enjoy the sunrise over the Mediterranean as well as the desert sunset. Not that we do this of course--but we can.

Alright folks, more later. Yoga awaits me now.

ghdames sahera Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

palestinian refugees Posted by Hello


One day into the seizure of more than 1,000 hostages by suspected Chechen separatists in the town of Beslan, Russia now had its own hostages. Altogether, an estimated 40 family members of senior Chechen rebel leaders were assembled at Khankala from Thursday, a day after the hostage seizure in Beslan, until Saturday, the day after it ended.

During School Siege, Russia Took Captives in Chechnya

For those of us who were unclear, this is what's meant when people refer to the 'cycle of violence'.
During School Siege, Russia Took Captives in Chechnya

surraiya hamra Posted by Hello

again, libyan dock, early 1900s Posted by Hello

words do no justice Posted by Hello

Prophet Mohammad Mosque Posted by Hello