Archive for the ‘Libya’ Category

The Libyan Uprising

Posted: February 26, 2011 in Libya, Our World

Checked on her blogger pals in Libya (KhadijaTeri, Highlander @ From the Rock, Anglo-Libyan). Glad to hear that they’re Okay and living one day at a time. Am following your posts / updates on the situation in Tripoli.

Highlander, we are very concern about the situation in Libya. It’s nothing like the uprising in Egypt! We never expected this to happen, the atrocities against ones own people. I personally have no concerns for Libya’s leader & his followers, but I can’t accept and abhor his actions towards those innocent people! Yes, he is not democratic, but oh please, have a heart at least! Is he so full of himself that he thinks he can go on forever? Well, I guess those brave / courageous countrymen of yours have proved him wrong. Can’t blame them for putting their lives at stake in search of freedom.

Am sorry for being so emotional, for I feel for your people. Yes, I was there long time ago, although for a very short while, only 3 1/2 years. But, I’ve seen the suffering, the propaganda, I love Libya too much for it has opened my eyes to the world. It has lead me to appreciate what’s out there. Can’t believe I’m shedding tears at this present moment. That’s how deep my love is for this adopted country of mine.

Remember this?

Posted: September 5, 2007 in culture, Libya, memory lane, mi vida loca


Adnan wa Lina (Adnan and Lina) @ Future Boy Conan, what ever the title may be it is a cartoon produced by a Japanese Animation Company and was shown in Libya back in the mid 80’s.

It is set in mid 2008, humankind were at war (how ironic) which has brought destruction to Earth. Escape was near impossible, only a few managed to survive when their spaceship landed on an island . Years gone by and a boy was born by the name of Conan @ Adnan, one of the two inhabitants of the island left. The other is his grandfather. Not long after he meets a girl by the name of Lana @ Lina and their adventure begins from that moment. (Is this what he (the creator) sees? The end of the Earth, end of human race?)

It was translated into Arabic and I did watch all 26 episodes without fail, although my understanding of the language was next to none. I wasn’t the only one at home who was hooked on the show. So were my parents. Partly because there were limited programs to watch or aired then besides the daily propaganda. We recorded the cartoon and hope to share the great storyline with family members once we return to our motherland. The series was indeed a hit!


20 years has passed, it is still being aired and watched by millions (including my dad who is watching it right this moment on Animax, in English this time) all across the globe. It still manages to grab the interest of its audience of all ages and languages.

Memories … for Romana

Posted: August 9, 2007 in Libya, memory lane, ocs

What’s left with me are only memories, the objects can no longer be seen or found. Most have disappeared with time and travels. What’s left are only the vivid scenes in my mind and heart. How I dream to turn back time and gather all my belongings which I may have discarded on my journey home. Life taken for granted, thinking one will come back one day, how ungrateful one can be!

Memories … what’s left of it …


Where art thou?

Posted: March 10, 2007 in Libya, memory lane, mi vida loca, ocs

The OCS Alumni web page is currently unaccessible due to some unforeseen reasons, it has been difficult for us to stay & keep in touch with the rest of the Alumni. The last news or message I’ve heard was from Reem Ben Halim aka Ocsgal. Reem, I’ve replied to your message, hope you’ll have a nice trip back to Libya. Do remember to snap a lot of pics of the school and Tripoli if or when you have the time. Plus if you do meet up with any of our friends or ex-teachers, do send them my regards.

What about the rest?

  • Üner – he is lecturing in Greece
  • Lana, Ban, Erin, Dimple Shah – in the UK
  • Arvind & Parisa are in the States
  • Timur – in Egypt
  • Asim – back in Pakistan
  • David – in Sweden
  • Yakub – Turkey
  • Cristina – Switzerland
  • Omar, Sheba – Canada
  • Dong Young – Korea?
  • Reem – Norway
  • Evelyna & Turis – Malaysia


Ferial, Claire, Sevgi, Miroslav, Mikko, Hana Hilal, Hana Nafati, Ursula, Aeysha, Riham, Awet.

We’ve missed:

Elena Gent – You will always be remembered.

untitled iv

Posted: September 29, 2006 in culture, Libya, memory lane, mi vida loca, ocs, ramadan

Looking at my little cousin breaking fast reminds me of myself at her age or maybe a few years older. Kids these days have been trained to fast since the tender age of 5 or 6. Some would fast for half a day for a few days or weeks, it all depends. Some would fast the whole day. I for one, didn’t start fasting till I was about 7 @ 8, I guess. It was a very difficult start for me. I was a very sick & weak child, I had to endure such pains for days. I had childhood asthma and upset stomach. So, most of my primary years I would fast for half a day.

I remember fasting during the summer of 86. It was my first year studying at OCS. School was on, so were our PE classes. I could recall our coach teaching us about baseball. Imagine playing on sand under the hot summer sun. We were asked to bat while our friends would take our place to run to the bases. I insisted on running. Coach was surprised but I managed to convince him that I would not faint and he does not need to worry about me. Well, I ran a few rounds, didn’t faint as no one knew that once I reach home I’ll have my lunch! ;P I cheated!

In the evening, mom and dad would go to the market, I would tag along, we would buy fruits like tangarine, fresh dates, figs, watermelon, honeydew and/or grapes. Whatever is available. We would break our fast with dates and milk or mineral water. we then proceed with the main dish wish consist of rice and home cooked dishes. In fact, we’ve experienced breaking fast in total darkness.

Were you one?

Third Culture Kids (abbreviated TCKs) is a term for children who have lived a significant portion of their lives in a country that is not their passport country, usually because of parents’ work obligations. A synonym for this is global nomad. Examples include military brats, the children of diplomats, children of business expatriates (“business brats”), international school educators’ kids, and Missionary Kids.

TCKs share some common characteristics amongst the sub categories such as multilingualism, tolerance for other cultures, a never-ending feeling of homesickness for their adopted country (it is very true) and a desire to remain in close contact with friends from their adopted country as well as other TCKs that they have grown up with. (I do still keep in touch with some of them)

Many TCKs take years to readjust to their home countries and often suffer a reverse culture shock on their return to their homeland; and many choose to enter careers that allow them to travel frequently or live overseas. There is a growing number of online resources to help TCKs deal with issues as well as stay in contact with each other. Recently, blogs have become a helpful way for TCKs to interact.

The term third culture kid was coined by Ruth Hill Useem in the early 1960s. She and her husband studied children who grew up in two or more cultures, including their own children, and termed them simply “third culture kids”. Their idea was that children from one culture who live in another culture become part of a “third culture” that is more than simply a blend of home and host cultures.

Children and adults of the third culture share similar identities. Useem defined a third culture kid as

“[A] person who has spent a significant part of his or her developmental years outside the parents’ culture. The third culture kid builds relationships to all of the cultures, while not having full ownership in any. Although elements from each culture are assimilated into the third culture kid’s life experience, the sense of belonging is in relationship to others of the same background.” (Pollock & van Reken, 2001, p. 19)

Two circumstances are key to becoming a third culture kid: growing up in a truly cross-cultural world, and high mobility. By the former, Pollock and van Reken mean that instead of observing cultures, third culture kids actually live in different cultural worlds. By mobility, they mean mobility of both the third culture kid and others in their surrounding. The interplay between the two is what gives rise to common personal characteristics, benefits, and challenges. TCKs are distinguished from other immigrants by the fact that TCKs do not expect to settle down permanently in the places where they live.

Third culture kids grow up in a genuinely cross-cultural world. While expatriates watch and study cultures that they live in, third culture kids actually live in different cultural worlds. Third culture kids have incorporated different cultures on the deepest level, as to have several cultures incorporated into their thought processes. This means that third culture kids not only have deep cultural access to at least two cultures, this also means that thought processes are truly multicultural. That, in turn, influences how third culture kids relate to the world around them, and makes third culture kids’ thought processes different even from members of cultures they have deep-level access to. TCKs also have certain personal characteristics in common. Growing up in the third culture rewards certain behaviors and personality traits in different ways than growing up in a single culture does, which results in common characteristics. Third culture kids are often tolerant cultural chameleons who can choose to what degree they wish to display their background.

As a result, Pollock and van Reken argue, third culture kids develop a sense of belonging everywhere and nowhere. Their experiences among different cultures and various relationships makes it difficult for them to have in-depth communication with those who have not experienced similar conditions. While third culture kids usually grow up to be independent and cosmopolitan, they also often struggle with their identity and with the losses they have suffered in each move. Barbara Schaetti has proposed a developmental model for third culture kid identity development based on earlier identity literature, primarily on nigrescence, in which a number of different mechanisms are explained for the wide range of identity outcomes that third culture kids may have. Some may feel very nationalistic toward one country, while others call themselves global citizens.

source: Wikipedia

Would I consider myself a former TCK? I don’t know but I do admit that I share similar characteristics as mentioned by Useem.

I would consider myself very lucky as I had experienced different cultures since I was a toddler (I was only 2 when dad dragged mom & me to Washington DC to pursue his Master’s Degree. We lived in Arlington for a year and a half). I learnt my first English words there by watching Sesame Street every morning after having my breakfast of milk and cereal. I still have that pic of me sitting on a chair in the kitchen, my hand on the table. By three I could spell sweets etc!

When we returned home, my parents were criticised by my relatives (no, not my uncle and aunts but my distant relatives) for allowing me to call them Mama, Papa, Grandpa & Grandma. They have set in their heads that their children could only call them Ibu, Ayah, Atok, Nenek. My parents couldn’t care less, they ignored those harsh comments. At the mere age of 4 I was sent to Kindergarten as Mom feels that I shouldn’t waste my precious time staying at home playing. I didn’t spend my time there to play, we actually learn arithmetics! Yup, that’s true!

Fast Forward, mid 1985
Dad was posted to Tripoli. Where did you say? Tripoli, no, not Tripoli, Lebanon but Tripoli, Libya. Never heard of that place? Well, too bad for you. It’s a beautiful place to live.

We were there for 3 and a half years. Living by the sea, enjoying the view of ships sailing in and out of the harbour (port actually). That was all I did for a few months while waiting for the new school year to start, which was in early Sept. I tried to occupy my time as I was feeling home sick. I left my heart back home, physically I was there with my parents. This was the first time living with mom & dad (I was brought up by my grandparents, they lived under the same roof, I didn’t have a close relationship with my parents then).

We moved house to an area called Hai Andalus. The villa was spacious, big enough for a small family of three! We could climb the stairs which connects the main floor to the next level which is an open area, Mediterranean style. There is no such thing as tiled roof. I remember having picnics with family and friends during the summer and enjoy the view of the night sky. Stars twinkling bright. From time to time I would wish upon a star and wonder if my wish would come true!

Summer ends and autumn begins, school is open, kids rushing in and out of classrooms. One of them, a girl from a far away land enjoying her lunch with the rest of her friends; Claire that Brit girl, Elena who speaks fluent French, Hana N a Libyan, Christina from Bolivia and Aeysha a Pakistani Brit. That girl is me.

I was introduced to people from all corners of the world, places I have never heard before such as Eritria and Bolivia. I have never known such beautiful people and languages they speak. I was enthralled by them. I was no longer the shy and timid girl. I go to parties and dance with kids that I don’t even know. I played soccer and floor hockey after school and weekends. I enjoyed going to school, enjoyed learning Social Studies – this was when I was first introduced to the world of mythology – Zeus, Pandora’s Box, Thor etc. It also taught me about the Civilizations, about Alexander the Great.

Halloween, Valentine’s Day, St Patrick’s Day etc….would you have known about all these if you were living in your motherland? Nah, I doubt it! Have you taken part in an International Day parade?

3 and half years past quickly, dad was called back to fill a vacant post. I was reluctant to return home to continue my studies in a national school. I hated the syllabus. I now know what it is like to study in an international school, I dread going back home, wearing that blue dress and white blouse again. But I have got no choice, no one will listen to me! You wouldn’t believe how heartbroken I was once again. This time I had to leave Libya. I had to leave my friends. I lost contact with most of them. But I was able to reconnect with some through our Alumni. Thank God for the Internet.

Life wasn’t easy for me when I got home, I had difficulties speaking and understand my national language. Mom did take the initiative teaching me Malay while I was abroad, but we spoke English most of the time at home! Hence, the problem communicating. My new school friends couldn’t understand my simple Malay. Who cares? I hated my life, I hated that I had to return home. I couldn’t master the language even till now. My friends used to tease me for my accent (when I speak in my mother tongue). I can’t help it and I don’t want to change anything! I am what I am and I am happy to be me!

Worth the read: A 3rd Culture Kid’s Story

A little bit of History

Posted: April 8, 2006 in Libya, memory lane, ocs

I have no idea who wrote this, but I found it at the web site. Here is some information about OCS.

The Martyrs School (formerly Oil Companies School) is located three miles west of Tripoli. The school was originally designed to meet the educational needs of the major oil companies in Tripoli. However, in recent years, the school has been opened to expatriates not affiliated with the oil industry. The school was founded in 1958 and offers an American-style, coeducational education from pre-kindergarten to tenth grade. Arabic and French are taught as foreign languages.

Situated on a five-acre campus, the Martyrs School consists of 11 buildings, 47 classrooms, a 14,000 volume library, 2 science labs, a computer lab, auditorium, infirmary, gymnasium, and tennis courts. Students are grouped according to their abilities, with an accelerated study program available for gifted students. The school year lasts from September to June.

In addition to its traditional curriculum, the Martyrs School offers an extracurricular program that includes gymnastics, computers, yearbook, school newspaper, field trips, drama, student council, soccer, tennis, floor hockey, basketball, softball, volleyball, and numerous social clubs. The school’s mailing address is P.O. Box 860, Tripoli, S.P.L.A.J. (Libya).

additional info:

The International School of Martyrs (ISM), Tripoli:

This school, established in 1958, was originally named the Oil Companies School, it then became the College of US Aggression Martyrs (CUSAM – commonly known as the American School) in the 1970s and finally became the International School of Martyrs. It is occasionally referred to as the American School of Tripoli.
The ISM is now owned by the Libyan government. The school used to follow the US curriculum, but was forced to move away from this under sanctions. The school has since followed the Canadian and now the Irish curriculum in an attempt to circumvent government legislation and offer students a qualification in English. The Irish Leaving Certificate is taken by many students, but IGCSE and A-levels are also now studied here. There are a number of British/European teachers employed at this schools – a fact reflected in the high fees. The average fee is 5000LD per annum – making this the most expensive school in Tripoli.

Seaside ruins saved by sand

Posted: March 18, 2006 in Libya

Just a few miles beyond Tripoli lie Libya’s ancient cities of Leptis Magna and Sabratha, with their wealth of beautifully preserved Roman relics

Chris Bradley
Friday March 10, 2006

Leptis Magna, Libya
Far removed from modernity … intricate details are preserved throughout the Roman ruins at Leptis Magna.

The Roman city of Leptis Magna, 78 miles east of Tripoli, is a World Heritage site and one of the highlights of a visit to Libya. Most of the archaeological site (open daily from 8am to 6pm) has been well protected for more than 1,000 years by a covering of sand. A better understanding of the layout is helped by the restoration work done by Italians over the last century.

Only about a third of the ancient city is uncovered, and even the extent of the Roman city inland is undetermined, due to modern buildings to the east of al-Khoms city.

The site was first developed in the sixth century BC, as a coastal trading post around the reef-protected mouth of Wadi Labda, by seafaring Phoenician traders from the eastern Mediterranean. Following the Roman defeat of the Phoenicians in the Third Punic War in 146BC, local desert tribes eyed the site enviously, but new Roman fortifications and a buffer zone of fortified farms on the fertile soil protected the important harbour and trading centre for hundreds of years. Its location increased in importance through grain and olive production and the expanding trans-Saharan desert trade, which brought exotic goods from West and Central Africa, such as wild animals, slaves and gold, to Rome and the rest of the empire.

The Triumphal Gateway
During the 2nd century AD, the city reached its peak of prosperity when the Libyan Septimius Severus became emperor and spared no expense in glorifying and expanding his hometown of 80,000 inhabitants. Details celebrating his life are shown in magnificent splendour on the recently restored Triumphal Arch of Septimius Severus, the first monument to be seen. It stands at the main road junction of the Decumanus (running east – west from Alexandria in Egypt through to Oea, Sabratha and eventually Carthage) and the Cardo Maximus, which connected to the fortified farms, a Roman milestone indicating the distance involved, about 45 miles. The arch was erected in 203AD to commemorate Severus’s return, and is decorated with carved marble panels, the originals of which are now on display at the National Museum in Tripoli.

Severan Leptis
Near the remains of the city’s Hadrianic Baths, you’ll find the ruins of the Nymphaeum, a shrine for Nymph worship. A street ran from the baths to the harbour, a distance of over 400m, flanked on both sides by porticoes with 125 huge cipollino columns.

Through the jumble of scattered carved blocks on the left is an entrance into the monumental area known as the Severan Forum, which represents the might and opulence of this city’s social centre. At the far end of the forum, walk through into the adjoining Severan Basilica, which served as a justice court. During the reign of Justinian in the sixth century, this was converted into a Byzantine church, as can be seen by the small pulpit on the floor of the nave.

The Old Forum
The Old Forum was at the coastal end of the Cardo Maximus. This collection of several interesting buildings included the Curia (Municipal Senate House) and Old Basilica, two temples (Hercules and Liber Pater) and the Old Forum Church (formerly Temple of Trajan). Walk around some recent excavations of earlier Phoenician buildings en route to the northern wall of the silted harbour, to see the base of the old northern lighthouse, built in the style of the Pharos in Alexandria.

Nearby are two temples close to the sea. And there are three enormous granite cipollino columns, looted from the Hadrianic Baths at the end of the 17th century by the French Consul. It is said that they were destined for the palace at Versailles, near Paris, but this is as far they got.

Heading inland towards the theatre, the small Serapeum (Temple of Serapis) is dedicated to an earlier Egyptian god, indicating strong links with Alexandria. This is thought to be one of the oldest parts of the city.

The Market and Theatre
Standing above this is the Market, which was begun around 9BC, and consists of two almost identical tholoi (kiosks) with serving counters and marble measuring-blocks for liquids, grains and materials.

Inscriptions at the doorway of the 8,000-seat Theatre indicate that it was built at the same time as the market and paid for by the same man, Annobal Rufus. Built with limestone blocks, it has withstood the elements of two millennia better than Sabratha’s theatre, which was constructed from sandstone. As well as giving excellent sight of the pulpitum (stage) and three-storey scaenae frons (stage wall), there are commanding views to the sea and across the entire site from the top of the cavea (auditorium).

Located at the entrance to the main site is the Museum, which houses some fine objects and has good information in english.

Eastern sites
As if all this were not enough to make Leptis Magna one of the most impressive Roman sites in the world, there is more to be seen along the coast to the east. The best view of the Old Harbour is found by walking along the eastern wall past warehouses, moorings and steps to a small Doric temple that complemented the lighthouse on the opposite harbour wall. Further around the coast, and situated far enough away from the city so as not to be heard, is the magnificent Amphitheatre (open daily 8am-6pm), built during the time of Nero (AD54-68). Almost complete, this elliptical stadium of public entertainment stands majestically overlooking the sea, and certainly witnessed some mighty gladiatorial contests to the death between man and beast, cheered on by an estimated crowd of around 16,000.

The devastating earthquake of AD365 hastened the decline of Roman power, and Leptis suffered greatly at the hands of the Vandals during the first half of the fifth century. The end of Leptis Magna came when the Byzantines finally lost to the attacks of local tribes. Within 100 years, when the Arabs arrived in 643, the city was already a sand-covered ruin, ripe for plunder by every invader.

Modern Sabratha lies 40 miles west of Tripoli along the main coastal highway, and the site itself (open daily 8am – 5.30pm) is reached via a one-mile link road. To help you spot it, the world’s tallest minaret is being constructed beside the main road. Like Leptis Magna and Oea (present-day Tripoli), this city owes its beginnings to early Phoenician traders who used the small natural harbour en route to the Iberian peninsula.

The Eastern City
Walk towards the sea to see the monuments of the eastern part of the city stretching along the coast to the right, starting with the foundations of the Temple of Hercules on the Decumanus, the main east-west road. Nearer to the sea are the Christian Basilicas.

The Baths of Oceanus is a small bathing area with chambers off to the sides. The columns up a slight hill belong to the Temple of Isis, dating from the first century ad. Fragments of a statue of Isis uncovered here are now in the site museum.

The Western City
Heading west back along the Decumanus to the main site, you enter the western half of the city. This was the original Roman town built on Phoenician ruins; it expanded eastwards, only to shrink back within the defensive walls of the Byzantines.

Heading towards the sea, the Forum is a large open space at one time completely paved with metamorphic limestone. Opposite this at the eastern end of the Forum is the late-first-century Temple of Liber Pater with its restored Corinthian columns. At the rear of this temple are the Seaward Baths (or Forum Baths), the largest bathing complex in the city. A lot of the foundations have suffered from sea erosion, but the mosaics that remain are of exquisite colour and quality, on what is now a terrace overlooking the seashore. Just beside the baths are communal latrines, and then continuing further west is the Curia (Municipal Senate House) and the Basilica of Justinian, nearer the sea.

There are two museums on the site, with the smaller Punic Museum often closed. The Roman Museum is set back in gardens behind a courtyard of statues found at the site. The main displays are of the amazing mosaics, especially that from the Basilica of Justinian. This museum has had some recent security problems and is often closed, so it is fortunate that many of the best objects are better protected inside Tripoli’s National Museum.

In AD365 the city was severely damaged by the immense earthquake, and a century later the Vandals completed the destruction. Despite attempts by the Byzantines to rebuild, the city was uninhabitable by the time of the Arab conquest.

· This is an edited extract from the new Berlitz Pocket Guide to Libya © Berlitz Publishing

Leptis Magna, ancient ruins left by the Romans, was one of the largest of its kind built outside of Rome. It was a wonder how such a large city built of slabs of marble was erected during the Roman Civilization.

Questions were asked by visitors, local and foreign, how such structure has been preserved through time. The obvious answer was the whole city was protected by layers of sand. Another possible answer is, Libya, a socialist country, may play a role itself. The political power and ideology of a leader may hinder his country from prospering, hence the small percentage of tourist visiting Libya, then. Not many have heard of Libya, nor can point its location on the world map. Therefore, no one would know or heard about Leptis Magna unless they have lived in Libya or watched Globetrekkers hosted by Ian Wright.


Posted: November 23, 2005 in culture, Globe Trekker, Libya, memory lane, ocs, Snaps

More Libyan pictures (1986-88)

Mi casa

Posted: November 23, 2005 in culture, Globe Trekker, Libya, memory lane, Snaps

Tea time at mi casa

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