libya-protests_053

libya-protests_053 (Photo credit: Crethi Plethi)

Chicken & Couscous

Chicken & Couscous (Photo credit: sweet mustache)

Mixed Olives And Pickles (Zaitoon/Kabees) @ Mezza

Mixed Olives And Pickles (Zaitoon/Kabees) @ Mezza (Photo credit: sylvar)

Flag of the Libyan Arab Republic (1969-1978) F...

Flag of the Libyan Arab Republic (1969-1978) Français : Drapeau de la République arabe libyenne (1969-1979) Italiano: Bandiera della Repubblica Araba Libica (1969-1978) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tripoli International Airport

Tripoli International Airport (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On the 1st of September 1976 we, arrived at Tripoli International Airport. Our family friend came to receive us, had been in Libya since 1966.  He was fluent in Arabic.

The other car had a Libyan and it was a courtesy for people to greet, we did not know Arabic. So our Uncle did the talking on our behalf.  Incidentally, that was the revolutionary day in Libya.  The city of Tripoli even had a street named after the day; Awal September street.

My father was appointed by the Auditors General Office as auditor on the Occidental Oil Company.  Many a days we, the brothers would visit the office and we found the environment very cosy.

 

We had taken the flight from Dacca to Delhi aboard Thai airlines; smooth as silk.  From Delhi we went to Bahrain.  While flying over Pakistan the cockpit announcement stated that we were flying over the territory of West Pakistan! There was a reaction to this statement, in my mind, I thought the British Airway Captain had genuinely made mistake.  Bangladesh was born after a bloody battle of 9 months.  Victory was achieved after the Indians accepted the surrender of the Pakistani Soldiers, on 16th of December, 1971.

 

I was sure the plane was landing on water. Manama’s Golden Airport was all glittering in the colour of Gold.  It was blast from the oven as we stepped out of the main gates.   Having spent two days in the city we were heading towards, Damascus the Capital city of Syrian.  There were many aircrafts (war) present on the tarmac and we were instructed not take any pictures.

While awaiting in Manama’s airport, we got hungry for Breakfast. My father was fasting but we were under aged but the airport catering service did not provide us with any food. They said Muslims on the days of Ramadan were not to be served.  Now, I know that it is not mandatory to fast if one is not 12 years of age.  There was a special lounge for passengers of Concorde.

As we boarded the Boeing 727 of Syrian Arab Airlines we awaited patiently for the meals.  The Concord that was on the ground flew past our aircraft.

We were hungry for rice. And Allah answered our prayers.  The steward served rooze was dajaj (Rice and Chicken) and tasted Zaitoon (Olive) it was bitter but very appetizing.

On the ground we talked to a Pakistani family and they were very cordial.

Later on we boarded the same plane on way to Tarablus (Tripoli).

Colonel Gaddafi was very popular so it seemed on the state controlled T.V.  He was always surrounded by crowds.  He had celebrated the 10th revolution on 1st September, 1979. We had seen his guests come from the Arab countries.  Sheik Zayed, Sultan Qaboos, King Fahd, and many more Kings, Sultans, Emirs.  He took a lot of pride while displaying the armaments he had purchased from the Soviets. In 1979 my father had estimated that his defense ministry had purchased 12 Billion U.S dollar worth of weapons.

 

His country was moving from the Western influences to Eastern Block. In the beginning we used have Swiss chocolates Danish Butter and Cookies but these were slowly replaced by goods imported from Bulgaria, Romania, and Czechoslovakia.

The sale of Gold was stopped altogether. All the shops that sold gold were shut down. There was some Pearl (Lulu) that people could buy for they were locally harvested, from the Mediterrean Sea.

 

Colonel Gaddafi had come to power in a military coup and became the crownless monarch. This is a big irony for he had become whom he had replaced.

The problem with the Muslim rulers is that most of them forget that our prophet had warned about good governance.  The power is the ultimate source of intoxication and thus to be careful about ones responsibility being in that seat.