Tuesday, October 25, 2005


hmm not all at once now...

name: .e!manie.
location: ottawa, cda
originally: trablus

ive never lived in libya. i was 4 months old when we left, and ive never been back. frankly, my desire to go back has, over the years - been diluted. i lived in london, england till i was 8 and london was - hmmm to say the least, a place that has stolen a part of me with it upon leaving. till this very moment it feels like its waiting for me to come back. and a part of me is hoping, wishing and praying that i return to find it just as i left it.

however, what i can say is that growing up, there's been a lil bubble of a libyan community in most of the cities that i grew up in. whether london, or here in otttawa - or the few cities in the u.s. that i have visited. finding that lil niche... the lil home away from home is always a great reminder of where you are from. a smaller reflection of back home. sometimes you wish it would disintegrate and fade away, and then there are times like ramadan iftars, weddings, baby showers, etc... when you really feel proud of your heritage and want to dig up and reveal more of your own roots.

its granted that there are the stereotypical tendencies - the gossip, the interference, the nosiness on behalf of many which is reflected in my bitterness... but at the end of the day, when you walk out of a libyan lamma and your stomach is in knots because of how much you have laughed, or your fingers are numb from the darbooka... or when your voice is almost shot because of the zghareet... and the overall good times... i just wonder, THIS magnified... must be what its like back home... ?

and that is something that i'd like to return to... mere good times. no pain, no bitterness, no hatred amongst/between people... no hypocrisy, no ugliness.... just a sense of community, a sense of belonging and a sense of 'home'... maskan... coming from the root word sakeena - to feel at peace.. and serene.

p.s. just a funny story for you all: a few months ago my mother and i were invited to a libyan baby shower. we went, and brought along my brothers wife who is a canadian-revert. libyan custom holds that when a baby is born.. after about a week, a party is thrown and of course - its not the same without 3aseeda :) (i'll leave the explanation of that dish for another post).... one womans teen-bopper daughter was pretending to be cute and grossed out by the women digging in with their hands, and asked for a spoon. meanwhile, my sister in law who is canadian.. and very new to these concepts - crossed her legs, moved in beside us... watched for about 2 seconds as everyone dug in.. and then reached in to the dish... and started munching. flickr would have appreciated that moment :)


  • Wow you sound like you have the perfect life.Do you?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at October 26, 2005 3:12 AM  

  • It always amazes me those who pretend to need a spoon for 3aseeda ;)

    By Blogger Highlander, at October 26, 2005 10:13 PM  

  • Spoon SHMOON! If you are going to do it, you have to do it right and that means ALL FIVE FINGERS!! :o)

    I remember that when I visited Ottawa years ago for a wedding years ago - it was one of my first times in Canada/North America - I was so impressed with the huge Libyan population there and how much of the culture and social practices they have kept alive (even moreso than in Europe). It wouldn't surprise me if people back in Libya have evolved much faster than those living abroad, I suppose isolation and the fear of losing identity is the cause of these traditional Libyan communities such as the one in Ottawa. And like everything in life, you have to either take it all and accept the flaws or leave it and walk away - while the community brngs you such an immense sense of happiness and joy because of that sense of togetherness.. the side-effect is the gourma and overzealous interest in each other that are dominant in our tightly knit communities!!!

    By Blogger Nura, at October 27, 2005 6:16 AM  

  • Hey, I eat Bazeen with a spoon! Moody has to tell me every time that "If you go to Mesrata, they will say that people from Derna don't know how to eat Bazeen!" I just don't like getting my hands messy when eating.

    I'm one who decided to walk away from Libyan communities. I have tried hard and high, but only got headaches and germa in return. I definitely can't take it all unless the ups overweigh the downs, which is not the case with them. With Libyans, they have a defined mold, if you don't fit it, then you're not accepted! There is no place for individuality with them; they simply kill it. It is only homogeneity that they want and believe in. What annoys me is when they start with the we thing... we Libyans are this... we Libyans do this... we Libyans believe this... there is just no room for differences and for accepting those who are different!

    By Blogger Hannu, at October 28, 2005 1:37 PM  

  • lol absolutely nunu, ALL FIVE FINGERS. and anonymous - perfect life? very far from. but there is SO much to be greatful for.. and nunu, having this community here is amazing.. it really is a constant reminder of where i am from.. and where i am headed, even if it means giving it up at someponit like you've chosen to do hanu because of the heartache.... we'll see where the journey ends up.. and inshalalh its a balance along the spectrum of identities pitted against one another.

    By Blogger .e!manie., at October 30, 2005 10:41 PM  

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