Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mile Markers in a Persons Life

I probably should have waited, but if I don't write some of this down now one day I will wish I had or my kids will wish momma did. So with a few links off the internet I will try to provide a bit for my future grand-kids to know "where grandma was during the war to liberate Libya'.
By any measure it is the will of Allah that kept us at least me and the kids from not being in Libya when this all happened. So like many expat families we watched from abroad the images on tv and online of glimpses into Libya. I found just by accident the web site called livestream and it took a few days before I learned how to bookmark it as I had just moved over to another browser. I signed in under my old moniker and watched as a young man broadcast his reports from Benghazi the large eastern city in Libya. I have friends from there but I had no idea what it was like. Over the days I watched and occasionally I would post a comment or two chatting with the various people there. This link is one of my earliest posts at about 2 minutes I chimed in I was still a wall flower at the time. Each day I sat for hours on end watching trying to find out what was happening so I could later in the day tell my husband what had transpired. Grandpa worked so he was unable to watch tv and I think he was apathetic at times as uprisings had happened before and were soon quelled so I don't think he thought much of it in those days.
Bit by bit I was becoming involved with what was happening in the room and looks at clips that show the chatroom discussions will show that I posted more and more over time and even learned how to use skype and twitter to get the word out that Libya was in need of help. I had no contacts with anyone, I was no one important an old woman sitting in her basement all day long watching screens and feeling many days helpless while across the world a young man begged for help.
By mid March I was behind the scenes helping where I could mostly I feel as moral support to a group of people from all over the world trying to help this young man get his word out. On one particular night we stayed up til all hours trying to work out how to get a tv truck from one country to Libya and how to get it there safely. He wanted a mobile truck with sat so he could broadcast as he traveled around the city a citizen journalist at his best. I was awestruck of this young man. He was well to do and often times when asked how to pay for this or that he said. "I will pay for it". That was a profound quality to me. Stories will i'm sure be written later on about what transpired behind the scenes there in Benghazi but I for one know some parts but better now to keep them as they do no good. In the end what was a group of men turned into one man moving and hiding and trying his best to get the word out sometimes with no more than a handi-cam and a cell phone and his laptop system. He had been trying to negotiate with Nilesat to broadcast his signal and had paid their price and yet the moment he was to be launched his signal was cut dead by sabotage. In the background many of us cried those of us who worked behind the scenes. Years from now I wonder at all the user names we had who will come forward and say it was I that was so and so, but I guess I prefer to follow in one of my ancestors footsteps and not say. My kids know the name and maybe a year or so from now it will be ok to write it down. See in genealogy work you either have people who keep excellent records or people you wish had just wrote it down when it happened as now they forgot half of it and their minds are brittle now and the kids well they didn't pay much attention back then. To my grand-kids your parents fall in that category if not for grandma writing this down now you would be out of luck. And lets just say there are some-days grandma worries that she will not always be around or that her mind is going brittle too. I have hundreds of pages book marked and I hope to bit by bit go through and put them into some type of order so that first your parents got and education out of them and secondly, you know what happened while it was fresh in our minds unclouded by future events and historians. This day for now is imprinted in my head and will stay there for quite a while but already it has lost its hurt and is becoming only a memory. So, I guess I better write while I can my point of view of the events of that day. The night before I stayed up actually till the dawn of that morning that is portrayed in the video. Benghazi had rose up on the 17th of Feb and by March was doing pretty good but was still under occasional attacks. We has lost out on getting the sat system up and he was determined to have a sat truck so he could broadcast his stories around Benghazi. Mohammed was in hiding with his wife we called her Perditta. I once was told her name but as things go I knew it was better not to know it so it was forgotten. Anyways, we had tried all night as Mohammed had reported bombs being dropped in the city and we were his team from around the world frantically calling in every news person, dignitary or person of any form of power to ask NATO or someone to help them they were hours away from being massacred. Many of us spoke to him on skype trying to get what he wanted us to do to help, while all along feeling helpless to do nothing. I remember getting a message from one person saying, "they don't believe us". I went and laid down crying myself to sleep. It was not even 4 hours later I was awoken and now as I felt then, God had a reason for me to wake up so I came over to the computer and rubbed my eyes and looking at the screen of chatters in front of me. I was running three main screens, twitter, skype and the livestream across my laptop at all times. I never shut down hoping that skype the one way our family could reach us was always open in hopes that they could contact us. So I sat refreshing my screens and trying to see what reason I had been awoken. They were saying Mohammed had gone out to film a home that had been hit in Benghazi, two children sleeping in their beds had been of many that day to die. Apparently Mohammed could not wait and anyone who worked with him can testify to that. And asked someone to take him out so he could film. Some time during that drive he was hit by a bullet and killed. I had barely cleared my eyes and Perditta came on behind the scenes. I was getting a skype message that Mohammed had been hit and was taken to a hospital and Perditta was on her way to see him. Behind the scenes there was panic and confusion. Not Mohammed.... I don't even think it was 1/2 hour later and Perditta came back in and we were being told she was coming on the air and to be ready. The link posted above tells it all. Mohammed had been killed. We were all devastated. From that day I guess that was when things started falling apart. Perditta asked a few people to take over for her until she could come back online. We knew she was pregnant and now she had lost her husband and she needed time to grieve. Some will say many things and time glosses over truths and half truths and there will be heated debates i'm sure but I have no part in them. That day Perditta called me by my screen name and made me a moderator and then she left it in our hands. In many ways the room fell apart. We recorded over 5000 viewers that day. And in the coming months we were lucky to have 70 average viewers. Again there will be stories of why and how but this was a new medium for news and with all the grief and hostilities and opinions we did what we felt was best. We were subjected to hacked links and hacked accounts and attacks in all forms so we had to be careful. I am sure many innocents got pushed out along the way. There were verbal attacks and issues common to any group of people placed under a severe duress will face but in the end I went my own way. It had no longer been a place of news or even comfort for me it was a grueling day of stopping arguments and hostile discussion and Tripoli 6 months later still was not free. Just a few months prior to all this I had nearly died twice in 4 days and so my health was always an issue. For my health I backed away. A week later Tripoli was freed and I was able to call to Libya and talk to uncle Salem and then later to Maryam the wife of my nephew to see that the family at least them that I spoke to were well. Auntie Aieysha was not doing well she had not been able to get her cancer medications and they were worried for her. I spent my days now watching the twitter screen, various media outlets and skyping to a few people. I cut all my ties but two to the people I was part of. In reviewing my old skype messages I found my last words to Mohammed it was the tally of the UN decision vote all yeah with two abstain Russia and China. The next day after Mohammed died Nato sent in planes.
Before I stop this mile marker I leave one last video. I can go back in my skype messages and see I was talking to her mom a few hours before. I suggested a few ideas for induction of labor. Not really knowing that she was already in early labor but being a few days overdue you know how moms are at that time. She logged off. The next day we all were told not by her but by a person to excited to wait. Then the small media blitz heralded Mayar Mohamed Nabbous. The only child of the first Libyan Citizen Journalist who had died trying to help free Libya. I don't expect to ever see her but to know that I had a small part of her life as a mile marker in mine I will be grateful to know that she grows up free. So like my ancestor Ephraim Bowen who carried the gun that another man grab and shot with. We are footnotes in History. He went to his deathbed hiding his secrets due to persecution by the British they never told and he being the last told on his death bed. I have seen now that death is not for the old. It is for the young, the innocent, the unborn and the old. When your time is up it is. So these shall be my records for my future kids.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Technical Issues

You know what is like to find a old friend then not be able to find them again? Well, my life has been full of that lately haha....I was so excited to finally be able to say what had been going on in my life the past 6 months and I was so happy that in the mix-ups of the past 6 months that I had not forgotten my passwords to access this account so I could continue blogging. I had made my post and went the next day to add more and for some reason it would not let me back into my account. I had lost both my email accounts and due to my "activities" I was continuing to have to change my passwords to protect those I love. Now that things had settled down I wanted to try and put into words my past 6 months and then found that I was unable to get back in. These pages are all that are left of my trip there and today a warning that they no longer existed just about tossed me over the deep end.

Ramadan will soon be over and yes, it has been the usual feelings of not quite what I wished for but in a way it is more than I could ever wish for. Libya in many ways is finally free. I have been able to contact a few more family members and although connections are not yet great was able to talk to them a few moments. Their posts on Facebook have returned and for some stranger years from now they would see no change in our lives.

But, life has changed...hopefully for the best and for the future of many generations to come. My family has been pretty much quiet here as we waited for news from back home. In all reality we are fortunate that circumstances were what they were and myself and my kids were not stuck there while my husband would have been alone in the states. I spoke to family in January and they said one of the nieces was marrying in May. I wanted to come and spend some time and get the older kids scholarships so they could study. I knew it might take a few months and it was a good opportunity to see the family again. I dug out the passports and looked at them and found them to be expired and so it was discussed how to get them reordered in time for May. Then a few short weeks later Egypt broke out in protest followed by Libya. I found the livestream that I mentioned in my last message and followed news and reports up to 18 hours a day hoping for bits and pieces that would allow me to know what might be happening there. Months went by and I was getting weary....I think that the civil war must have been hell for my dear ancestors....we have all types of media now and although we could not make much contact with people there, we knew what was going on and the world was watching.
FREEDOM.....that word still has not sunk in for many as some areas still are under siege and prone to attacks by pro G forces. Today I cried as I listened to the Transitional National Council say that they had moved to Tripoli and that G's reign of terror was over and a new day was dawning in Libya. A new life...
There is someone there who we all hope is well and soon I hope she will post as we all have missed her stories im sure more than anyone has missed mine. Khadija I pray that you are safe as well. And all the other sisters whom I was pleasured to meet when I last was there. How has their lives been like? American or other foreign women married to Libyan men with children of Libyan birth. How many took their families and got out or like a few stayed behind. I can only imagine their families worrying over them as I have done over mine there.
I wanted to help them...I also wanted to be a provider which once Libya was free help to bring in all that we needed, what was denied to them that was a rightful destiny of any person. Education, Medical and Self Awareness
I could write for hours the pros and cons of a free society....I have already seen what some of the youth want...alcohol and drugs I mean come on its a new world and they feel its their right to have it how they want it...but, this is how I see it. Thousands if not millions of lives have been forever changed and we through the media and internet have seen and read and heard the stories. How do you bring such things into lives already damaged? So that instead of rebuilding lives they are farther torn apart by vices. Also the idea of sudden wealth...Libya has vast riches that should have been theirs all along but was squandered by a few. At a tune of 6 million people they are a small population really and with the money that was frozen and the natural wealth of the country they could be riches beyond their wildest me that is just as scary.
I want to go there, I promised I would and even though things were not the best before, to go again has always been my goal.
Like before when I started this blog, I have to consider a few things....7 kids and now 4 grand-kids. They are not babies anymore and some are over the age of 18 so legally I cannot force them to do anything. I don't want to imagine that. If we go do we stay and travel here for visits and use internet to chat back and fourth between vacations? Or do we go there for a visit see that its not what my husband ever imagined and come back here to live out our lives while visiting there when we can. I can't say. My husband and myself are not young anymore. Life here has been a struggle the past years and we seem never to get ahead although we are in many ways better off than we had been. If my husband were to not be able to work what would I do? My health issues have left me with few choices. So as I work out these "technical issues" I guess now that I got back in and can post I will try and keep a running diary here of my thoughts. One day I guess my kids will look at this and see how hard it was to make these choices. Stay tuned for further updates as they become available hehe...

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Libya is Free

As I typed these words i had to pause for a moment. It seemed odd to even type it and know that it is really happening. Im full of thoughts and emotions and sometimes that is the best time to write down what you are feeling so forgive me from now if i ramble on. I'm sitting at my computer, the place I spend most of my time for those who know me.

For the last 6 months I have spent hours on end with multiple screens open with lots of tabs watching links and tweets and chatrooms and videos and news reports on Libya. In February, the fall of Egypt caught my attention and then days later the rise of conflicts in Libya. I made my way around the internet world and found a chat room. If I dont write it now years from now no one will believe me so I post it now so if someone who was there now they can vouch later on but really its only me and my family who will care in the end. The livestream page of Mohammed Nabbous Libya AlHurraTV. 6 month later i'm looking at what has happened with a bit of sadness and mix of feelings. Only a few people know who I am and even fewer know what part I played in that mans short life. I'm not a friend by any standard but I can say I knew him briefly. One day I can show my greatgrandkids and grandchildren look here see that name on the screen that was me. "Yeah grandma right!" It will be up to my children to say yes that was your grandmother. History is being made now as I type this funny the guy on AJE just said that. What lies ahead for Libya? Today I am full of hopes for it while I listen to analyst tear apart our victory and debate over the rebels who fought it and the NTC who shall lead us into the future of my children's lives.

For the past 25 years, I promised my husband that one day we will go home, he will go home. 35 yrs I honestly don't think he thought that it would ever happen and now it has and his behavior is odd to me. No glee, no happiness, no emotions in fact he is sitting watching tv like nothing has changed in our lives. After nearly three years of not speaking, today we took the risk and called his oldest brother. We had news from the morning that Tajura his hometown was freed and by end of month at latest we hope that Tripoli would be free. It happened in a day. Im looking as I type this to the split screen of faces smiling and laughing with glee of people in Martyr square. 8 km away his family is sleeping or now rising to pray and eat before sunrise. I asked him do you want to call your father and mother? No, he said I don't want to listen to them now.
25 yrs and in the last 6 months i have found out things that most wives would have known long ago. But what all is between him and his father I guess I may never know. Maybe he hoped dad would be passed by now age and health taking him as many have. The war left me wondering daily if family any of them would be alive when this was over. I wanted many times to come and post a note here to share a bit of this before it was lost to memories, but worry that I was linked to a more popular blogger and they could be watching us, and what I might say could harm them there, so I waited. Years from now kids can surf the net and see all that we saw, old news by then long ago memories. For me there are some that will burn in my mind for years. This war can it be the last one? No as I type this Syria and Yemen and Bahrain and many more are waiting for their freedoms too. It now is called the "Arab Spring" some feared would turn to winter. The media of the Internet has forever changed how the world views wars. Video and cell phones made instant the news that in my parents generations it took waiting for some media station doctoring of videos to black out the ugly truths the blood, the gore, sanitize it for the viewers. This in itself has forever changed us. Our kids play video games where they kill and are killed in mocks of battles against demons and long ago warriors. Many freedom fighters as we prefer to call them, said that they learned how to fight playing these games...

What lies ahead? What will we do? Will we go back soon as possible or will we just send money and visit during summers? For now i'm putting these feelings here so one day like with my other posts I can look back and think what was I doing saying that?
The reporter just asked the man what are you thinking? He said for 42 yrs now all I am thinking is now we are many times over the last 6 months have I heard what people will do when Libya is free. How many voices and people I have met over this time, people I have viewed on video or pictures made it to this day? I personally know one who didn't. I sat in that chat room watching the screen as his wife came on and told us he had died. I cried like everyone else. That same day I became a moderator for that chat room courtesy of her. For many reasons I wont discuss as like everything over else time it will not matter later on. But i left the room a few weeks back and left myself with two people watching twitter and images and sharing with a two people over skype. Funny how long from now all these terms will be old? My greatgrandkids will be far beyond this technology by the time many of them will read this blog. To them this will be grandma's online diary. Wish I had kept a better one some days. For now i'm tired. 6 months have worn me out mentally and physically. I think tonight I will sleep like I have not done in all this time. No dreams, no tossing thinking and dreaming of chat talk. No more video images to haunt me in my slumber. How will all this go into the history books my future generations will read? I at least am a footnote in this part of my life. Even if I was to link the video as proof who knows how many years it will stay here. It will be archived somewhere as he is a martyr, Libyans will not forget him soon and just like Omar Muktar; whom I also share a link to (he died on my birthday but not the year). But his words "We win or we die" held so many of these young lives. I will try to come back here soon I almost forgot my passwords and id to access this account. Tomorrow my life goes back to normal a few more days and Libya will all be free. Unless something bad happens in the next few days, weeks, or months we made history. This little note is just my mental reminder to tell the grandkids the story of what grandma once did.