Wednesday, May 30, 2007


During the internship rotation year, I used to go to medical out patient department for training, it was always busy. You always find 2 attending physician, with 3, 4 nurses. Considering that they used to see an average of 200 patients during the night shift alone, you can only imagine how overwhelmed our good physicians were, so any help would be quite welcome (of course usually the interns are a source of trouble rather than a solution ,at least some nurses see the intern that way),so we used to take history from patients ,examine them ,brief the case to the attending physician ,then, if you were lucky ,you would be able to see the magic of medicine in progress (of course that magic was about finding the best way to convince the patient that he/she wasn’t sick and he should be going home , ,or to negotiate an admission with the doctor on duty in the ward(those would do the impossible to convince you that you were wrong ,and the admission was completely unnecessary ,without even seeing the case).
Memories, memories, oh good memories.
Anyway, I remember one particular incident that moved me deeply. To this day I couldn’t forget about it, in spite of the hundreds faces I saw during these past few years.
A family brought their teenage girl, she was barely 15 years old, they all looked well mannered and polite, and they were well dressed. Generally they made an impression of a good, well educated and fortunate people. The girl was known to be diabetic, and what brought her to the OPD were symptoms that were consistent with diabetic ketoacidosis (of course I can simply say: a very high blood sugar, but I can’t resist). The girl looked angry, unwilling to cooperate, and it was difficult to get answers from her\
After telling the mother that she had to take the blood sample to the laboratory inside the hospital (there was no enough staff to do that, so we used the families’ help. And of course this is still the case in our hospitals; .couple of years wouldn’t make a dramatic change in how we deliver health care).
The moment the mother left ,the girl start speaking to me angrily, she told me that she stopped taking her insulin shots days ago ,and she ate whatever she could (Soda ,sweets ,cake ;In short: every blood sugar increasing nightmare). She asked me not to give her insulin, but tablets. She exploded talking loudly about how her family members were making fun of her, and they even were telling her that she was disgusting and she looked very much like a drug addict when she took her shots. My God, imagine saying that to a teen age girl ? Imagine what she was forced to bear? Imagine the pain and the agony that she had because of the very people who supposed to protect, support, and even spoil her?
Very lonely, very sad, very bitter she was. In short; she was unfortunate, not because of her sickness, but because of her own family...
She was unfortunate enough to have to deal with a disease that even grown ups couldn’t accept, and as that wasn’t enough; she had to deal with the greatest pain of being left by the very people who should take a good care of her.
Of course I knew no thing about her after arranging her admission; I don’t recall anything about her. But the angry look and the bitter voice never left my memory.
Unfortunate indeed.
No body is destined to face agony alone, this child did.
Benghazi Citizen

Friday, May 25, 2007

Evil Arabs

I watched a very interesting documentary yesterday on Aljazeera Documentary Channel.
It is called (Nations stereotyping in Hollywood: Evil Arabs).(at least that how i translated the title,but the host was an american professor anyway)
I have to say that I like Hollywood productions very much, and I try to watch as many movies as I can whenever I find time. So it is not a call to stop watching American movies ,since I am a big fan of them myself , but I wanted to share you this.
The documentary was about the stereotypes presented in American movies, especially about Arabs and Muslims.
It is astonishing to know that 25% of American movies are presenting a negative image about Muslims, Arabs, and even Arab-Americans.
Historically, the cinema in America is used to present these kind of stereotypes in its movies, and that helped in shaping the subconscious of American people generation after generation: there was the dumb and funny blacks (N-word was in use then); the mean and evil mysterious Chinese with the long ,thin moustache and long frightening finger nails ,and there is also the greedy Jewish whose only concern was the good green of the dollar.
Gradually, for variety of reasons, the attention in these movies has been shifted to Arab stereotypes. It has become racism to make fun of blacks , Chinese and Jewish. Arabs have become the perfect enemy, and it is totally justified to present bad images about them, since media had no business for the past three decades but to show how Arabs were involved in every aspect of ruining the democratic way of life that the western nations embrace.
Well, the documentary mentioned many examples of a well known movies ,some of which I watched myself ,but one particular movie ,this one I’ve never watched before, caught my attention. I can’t recall the name of the movie now ,but Samuel L. Jackson and Thomas Lee Jones were the stars of the movie.
The story is about the U.S embassy in Yemen. The embassy was surrounded by large crowd of Arabs who were angry for some reason(you know , we are always angry about some thing). the crowd was made of many men, old men , women ,and children ,and the director made sure to make that clear on screen. the U.S government sent a force of Navy Seals ,the best in Navy army, to help evacuating the embassy. While in embassy ,the leader of this team(Samuel L. Jackson) ordered his men to shoot the crowds surrounding the embassy from the roof of it, and it was a massacre. The camera moved around to show us dead and injured women , children with their screams and cries. It was really a moving scene. After that the commanding officer presented to martial court for this crime. His attorney(Thomas Lee Jones) traveled to Yemen to investigate these allegation.
Every thing was leading to the fact that the officer committed a vicious crime of no excuse. But in the street, the attorney look at this innocent girl walking in the street with only one leg ,she was about 7 years old. She stopped, looked at him with her wide innocent beautiful eyes(very moving scene by the way), and started to walk away with the help of the crutches she used. He followed her till they reached a hospital filled with that shooting incident victims. He moved around looking at the injured on their beds ,then he stop near one ,there ,on the ground ,there was a tape laid down. He picked it up and left. When he heard what is recorded on that tape ,he decided to use it during the trial. On the tape there is a voice of a man speaks in Arabic ,shouting that all Americans ,soldiers or civilians ,deserve to die, and they must be killed where ever you find them. Then a flash back scene to the shooting incident revealed what (really) happened around the embassy that day. When the embassy was surrounded by all these people ,it wasn’t just a peaceful protest ,no, there was a signal ,after which every one of the crowd pulled out a pistol or a machine gun from underneath their dresses, and I mean every body in that crowd: the women, the young men ,the very old men ,and all together they started to shoot at the embassy while the navy seals took cover on the roof the embassy. The worst scene was when the camera started to move among the barbaric crowd while they were shooting ,all the women,men,teen age, old men ,the camera stopped at one particular face. Guess whose face? Remember that wide eyes ,innocent ,one legged ,7 years old girl? Yes, she was looking at the embassy with all hate and with out any emotion ,she pulled out a pistol and started to shoot!!!!!!!!. Of course the officer was forced to shoot defending himself and his team, so he was declareed innocent.
I was shocked ,what message this movie makers intended to deliver for God’s sake? It is as if the movie makers are saying :no one of them deserves mercy ,because they are all killers ,even the 7 years old??????????????
It gave me a strange feeling really. I defend no body here, there is criminals among Arabs and there is among every other nation, but this is not my trade mark!!!
It is really sad to present such a disgusting image about us ,but the worse is to accept this as an unavoidable price we have to pay. It is not true ,and must be changed.

Benghazi Citizen

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

فن,ذوق, ...وأخلاق

في كتيب سيارة كل ليبي,هناك تلك العبارة الرنانة:القيادة فن و ذوق و أخلاق.لطالما توقفت عند الكلمة وأبتسمت. إذ يبدو أن الليبيين جميعاً قد أتفقوا على شئ واحد(و هو أمر شديد الندرة بالمناسبة)و قرروا أن أفضل طريقة للتعبير عن رأيهم في هذه الكلمات هو:إثبات بأنها (كلام فاضي
القيادة:هي الجلوس خلف مقود السيارة ,معرفة أسماء (المارشة و الفرينو و الفرينوماني و العداد و الشيراتوري ...إلخ) .طبعا لا مانع من أن تتعرف على بعض الإكسسوارات الغير ضرورية (كالمرايا الجانبية و مرآة الرؤية الخلفية في السيارة و حزام الأمان) فكما لابد و أنكم لاحظتم-إذا كنتم من محترفي ال...قيادة في شوارعنا,أن الكثيرين يعتبرون هذه الأشياء من الزوائد عن الحاجة,لا يتذكرونها إلا عندما يخبرون أصدقاءهم-بعد نقل السيارة الى الرابش طبعاً-أنهم لا يدرون من أين (زرق) عليهم السواق الاخر, وأنهم(والله)ماشافوه في المراية. طبعاً لم يروه,لأنه لا يتطلعون إليها أساساً
ناهيك طبعا عن حزام الأمان,بعض الذين أعرفهم يعتبر الأمر وقاحة إذا طلبت منه في لطف أن يثبت حزام الأمان , ثم يتحفك برأيه الفذ عن كيفية أن الأعمار(بيد الله) و( اللي يريدها ربي تصير) , و كأني خضت مع الخائضين لا سمح الله..كأني طلبت منه أن يبتلع إكسير الحياة مثلاً (طبعاً لو كان ما أمنحه هو اكسير الحياة بدل نصائحي المزعجة , لتلقى الأمر بكثير من الحماس و لنسي كل سيء عن القضاء و القدر. يا أخي,,عندما أطلب منك تثبيت حزام الأمان , فليس ما أطلبه منك تجديفا و دعوة إلى تحدي الخالق لا سمح الله , بل ببساطة أطالبك بما أمرنا الله –سبحانه-به , و هو الأخذ بالأسباب و عدم رمي أنفسنا إلى التهلكة.
فن:بالتأكيد الكثير من سائقينا هم فنانون بالفطرة.يتذوقون الموسيقى و الفن كما لم يفعل بيتهوفن (و هو بالمناسبة من فقد السمع في آخر حياته,لكنه قدم أفضل إبداعاته خلالها), وبمناسبة الحديث عن (الصمم),قرر بعض هؤلاء أنه من الظلم أن يحرموا الأخرين من الاستمتاع بهذه الفنون , فقبل أن يدركك الصمم لأي سبب كان,أخذوا على عاتقهم أن يتحفوك بال(بووم بووم) و ال(تس تس تس ) و بالذات عندما يفترض بك أن تكون في قيلولتك , او الأفضل , بعد الحادية عشر ليلاً في شارعك الضيق الذي يكاد يسمع فيه الجيران همس بعضهم.
ذوق:لا بد أنكم تعلمون عمن أتحدث.إنهم أولئك الذين تربّوا على أساس توقع الأفضل من الآخرين.كلهم نشأوا على أساس أن الأخرين مهذبون و حساسون لدرجة أنهم لن يجرؤوا على جرح المشاعر الرقيقة و حب كل الناس و مراعاتهم لمشاعر الأخرين التي يحملها هؤلاء السائقين. لذا فهم أبدا لا يكذبون خبرا , لذا تراهم , ببساطة,يوقفون سياراتهم في منتصف الطريق المزدحم بموازاة سيارة صديق قديم ليتبادلوا أحاديث من الواضح أنها لن تصلح إذا ما أوقف سيارته على جانب الطريق و نزل ليتبادل الحديث مع هذا الصديق,لا,لا بد أن يتم الأمر بهذه الطريقة. لذا يمكنك أن تتخيل مدى صدمة هذا السائق إذا ما تجرأت و أطلقت نفير سيارتك في إحتجاج. سينظر إليك كأنما يقول لك:كيف تجرؤ؟ ليس من حقك. طبعا ليس من حقك , فكما قلت لك , ليس من حقك أن تجرح مشاعر هؤلاء الحساسين, إذ يكفي أنهم (يسمحون) لك باستخدام الطريق,فتكافئهم أنت بهذه الطريقة؟ .(طبعاً هناك من يعانون من حساسية شديدة لأي إهانة من نوع أن تطالبه بأن يحرك سيارته لأنها تسد الطريق , أذكر أن أحدهم كان يفرغ حمولة من سيارته البيك أب,ووراءه طابور طويل من السيارات,و عندما طال الأمر أكثر من اللازم , و كان وقت ذروةالظهيرة, تجرأ البعض على ضغط النفير , فما كان من صديقنا الحساس إلا أن أطلق وابلاً من الشتائم قبل أن يغلق سيارته و يتركها في منتصف الطريق و ينصرف. مسكين ,لا بد أنه لم يحتمل كل هذه الجرأة من قبل الأخرين فانصرف يفرغ بعض إنفعالاته)ء
أخلاق: وهو موضوع يطول . لن أتحدث هنا عن كيف أن تدهورت الأخلاق في زماننا هذا , بغض النظر عن الإغراء الذي يشكله الحديث عن هذا الموضوع. فقط سأكتفي بالإشارة إلى بعض الظواهر التي ترتبط بالقيادة في شوارعنا
كم مرة قدت سيارتك خلف سيارة ما ثم تفاجأ بشئ يقفز من إحدى نوافذها إلى مقدم سيارتك,وبعد أن تسترد أنفاسك , تكتشف بأن هذا (الشيء)هو عبارة عن كيس مليء ببقايا الطعام,و لابأس بعلبة أو علبتين معدنيتين للمياه الغازية. لابأس,على الأقل إذا ما حدث شيء ما لا قدر الله,فإنّك لن ترضى بأن تصاب بأي أذى بسبب أي شيء أقل من (كيس بقايا الأطعمة)هذا,أليس كذلك؟.يبدو أن بعضهم قد قرر أن يعتبر شوارعنا مكباً للنفايات لا يصلح غيره لأداء هذه المهمة
ثم هناك أولئك الذين لا يحترمون حق المشاة في العبور, و هذه قصة أخرى , فيبدو أن هناك من وجد أن المشاة يشكلون تدريباً ممتازاً على إصابة الأهداف المتحركة ,لذا يبدو عبور الطريق أحياناً عبارة عن مغامرة غير محسوبة النتائج. هذا بالطبع بالإضافة لأولئك الذين اخترعوا وسيلة عبقرية جديدة لمحاربة خروج المرأة إلى الشوارع ,فتفننوا في فنون المعاكسة و طول اللسان
هذا –كما أراه- ليس فقط تجاوزاً للقانون و الحس السليم,بل هو خطر أيضاً على السلامة ,واستهتار بحقوق الآخرين.
إنتقاد أنفسنا هو أول الطريق إلى إصلاحها ,هذا ما أومن به . و الإشارة إلى عيوبنا لا يعني إلا استعدادنا لمواجهتها و التخلص منها.فلن يفيدنا بشيء أن ننظر إلى الجهة الأخرى و نقول(مادخلناش).فقط كل مايحتاجه الأمر أن تبدأ بنفسك على الأقل.
إلى اللّقاء
مع خالص التحية.
Benghazi Citizen

Monday, May 14, 2007

Better days...

My grand mother died 15 year ago. We adored her. She was such a great woman.
She lived through world war two ,and she picked such an interesting habits.
She told us that during the war ,they had to be careful of shortage of supplies. Water, food, and medicine could be indeed a very precious staff during wars, and every effort must be done to assure that using them is on what-you-need-only-basis. No luxury.
So ,even after 50 years of the end of the war ,and although every thing had changed ,she couldn’t get rid of what become a part of her unique personality. I remember that she used to put all the interesting things (well, you know what I’m talking about: chocolate, sweets, soda) in a locked cupboard, and she was always hiding the keys.
Of course that didn’t stop us at all, we managed to get the keys every time and take some (unnoticeable) amounts. Of course we got busted every single time . Of course we always get what we want from my mother, but the things grandmother used to keep were always more interesting only because they were hard to get.
I remember her face, the smile, and the stories she used to tell us. She was different, she had what is considered a really good education in her generation, and she was really sharp and alert. She never missed a thing.
She was a source of unity in her family , she was the one everybody went to when anything went wrong. Her siblings and cousins used to ask her for advice in every matter. She had such a charming personality of which its presence was profound and obvious.
She was really strong and energetic. So in her last days we –being kid-couldn’t digest the idea of her staying on bed most of her time. To the last minute, she prayed that the moment she couldn’t stand on her feet would be the moment she no longer alive. Her prayers were answered.
She went through a lot, a real fighter. She managed to pull our family through so many obstacles .
I remember a phrase that she used to say all the time, when ever we faced any problem or suffered any distress ,she said( It’s ok ,BETTER DAYS ARE YET TO COME)
Thinking of that now makes me realize that what probably keep her going, that is hope.
She thought that tomorrow is what worth thinking of. The past and the present are only the high ways which get us there ,to the future.
A friend wrote in her blog about the way to happiness, quite an interesting article. I may add that the way to happiness starts and ends with hope. Hope for a better tomorrow is what makes the clock ticking. The moment we stop hoping is the moment we die, even if we kept walking around.
Grand mother knew that, and she tried to show us what it meant to have hope and faith.
I try to hold on that, things get ugly most of the time. I can’t recall the last time I really hoped for some thing and get it, but some how I kept on going. Hope? I like to think so, although I had my days of giving up hope. I guess she wouldn’t like that if she were alive.
I miss her so much. She used to tell me that she would be the happiest person if she was meant to see my graduation, but she died 13 years before it, but she was in my thoughts all the time.
I miss her so much. I hope she feels proud of us now, and I hope that her legacy will continue to touch our lives in the unique way she used to do.
Pray for her soul friends, and remember: better days are yet to come. At least we have to hope so.
Benghazi citizen

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Being Me....

(Try not to ruin this by being...YOU) .
I barrowed this line from the beutiful movie of(As Good As It Gets),starring Jack Nicholson ,Helen Hunt , and Greg Kinnear.It is one of my favorite.
Don't worry,it is not in my intention to (ruin this by being me).At least I hope not to.I just find it very convenient to give my blog this silly title:Being Me.
The eternal question that haunted me was:Who are us?I mean the REAL us.
it seems that we have so many masks , so many roles to play that we feel lost and confused.
Sociologists say there is no real us.They say that a part of being humans is wearing all these masks and playing all these roles.We are some body's kid ,somebody's friend, somebody's lover ,parent, colleague,cousin,neighbour,,,,etc.And each role of these means to act in very different ways,some times it feels like there is so many people lives in the same body.
We are indeed a very complicated beings.
I still ask my self the same question:who are us?.I know the answer is not that easy.I know the answer will take many books and an army of scientists to answer.I know Being Me is all the roles i play, and all the masks i wear.I know there is no one real ME.
So this blog will represent that.There will be no special thing about it.I will not say or write some thing that will change the face of earth.I dont think I will add any thing new to your lives.But,if i got you to think for 10 minutes after reading something i wrote,this will be quiete an achievement.
Simply,i do this for me,and i wish i will find others who share me this.
In this blog i will try to be me.To talk about what makes me angry or happy,about some thing i read or saw,some experience I lived, to talk about my beloved city,Benghazi ,to talk what I hate about it,not because i hate it,but because i want it to be better.
I will try to do this regularly,but for how long?I don't know.Will you like it?I really don't know. Will you come back to read more?certainly I wish so.Do I talk too much??oh yeah.
So I will stop now.I hope I present some thing in this introduction.
That's all falks(with apologies to Warner Bros loony toons)
See you
Benghazi Citezen