Rihlat Amna

Rihlah is a journey in Arabic, and this blog is simply my journey at this stage in my life

Emotions vs rationality

I was reading today a Huffington article called Why We Love Angry Men, But Hate Impassioned Women , which struck many chords with me.

Having previously being told I am too emotional when discussing issues related to politics, social issues, and general issues of interest, it really annoyed me that my point of view was disregarded simply because it was ’emotional’.

To the point that, I would try to come across as ‘rational’, and ‘concise’, and try not to be emotional.  But it wasn’t me, I allow my heart and my emotions to lead me, especially on issues which effect people.  Social problems and political concerns affect people, they don’t need to be rationalised to death.  I am a relatively well balanced individual (yes, really!) so it’s not just a matter of allowing your heart to lead the way with everything, but when you allow the knowledge in, you understand the background, and you know what you’re talking about, then go for it!

Here are some examples of things which really do tick me off:

It angers me when I hear people make the excuse that in war there is always death as if this is acceptable or excusable for a justification of war and conflict

It angers me when statistics of death, rape, disease, and anything negative you can think of is seen as a statistic, without thinking about the people behind those statistics.

It angers me when I am not allowed to voice an emotional opinion about an emotional subject because it’s viewed as irrational or the ‘hormones’ are taking over.

I believe we need a different way of being, and a different way of seeing the world we live in and the global community within it.  The world is in chaos, wars effect so many more of us in one way or another, we live in a world open to one another, where I can communicate with anyone around the world with simple internet access, where I can travel, read about, engage, learn, and understand the lives of people from all over the globe.  The suffering they all go through, and the struggles, not just for them, but for us to.

Being rational is great, it serves a purpose, but there is nothing wrong with emotions like anger and passion.  If more world leaders actually took the time to allow their emotions to take centre stage then maybe we’d be in a different world today.

So be angry, or any emotion you feel and don’t allow yourself to be boxed in.

Each time a woman…

everytime a woman stand supt

We are Libyan too


Yesterday I engaged someone from the Libyan Youth Movement regarding comments he made about his opinions on the Libyan situation.  To sum it up, his points were mainly:

– Libyans need to work together
– We need a better government and system
– The leadership in Libya should comprise of people who have lived all their life in Libya and don’t hold a second nationality

His general points about respect, and understanding, and people needing to agree to disagree, so that the country can progress was great.  I truly believe that the issue in Libya, and across the Arab world, is this misunderstanding that somehow freedom means everyone can have a different opinion and that opinion is the one that needs to be pushed no matter the general consensus.  currently, it’s a case of, the majority voted for x, there’s a few groups who preferred y and z, so they have to make it difficult to push y and z across even though the majority wanted x.

Anyhow, the one that really ticked me off and is the purpose of this post was the last point about the leadership in Libya needing to comprise of only people who have lived ALL their life in Libya, as if this guaranteed someone with the relevant knowledge, skills, experience, qualities and anything else you’d want from a good leader.

I was discussing this with a friend today, and I think we felt the same about this issue, that somehow those of us who did live abroad during Gadaffi’s time are somehow being punished by the Libyan people.  The issue is that most of us, didn’t leave for the sake of leaving and trying to get a better life elsewhere, most did so because they were wanted by the Libyan government, and it was the same for my dad, and I’ve lived amongst a Libyan community who came from similar backgrounds, and weren’t able to go back due to fear of torture, death and imprisonment.  They had to sacrifice not being able to see family, be in their home country, not be a part of celebrations, or be there during the sad times in a families life.

Having lived in Libya as a child, we reminisced on great memories, because we did have a great childhood there, and we stuck closely to those memories.  A researcher today told me that immigrants are often nostalgic people, and I can’t help to agree with this entirely.  My dad had great memories, he had aspirations for what he wanted for Libya, and from within the UK he did a lot to support the Libyan community who were here, but also abroad.  Moreso, after the revolutions having gone to the refugee camps in Tunisia, and being a media presence in the UK in order to keep the Libyan news at the forefront during the revolution.

Part of my research work was heavily influenced by this idealism that now, after the revolution, things can be great, that we’ve had a part in it all, it was an emotional roller coaster throughout the revolutions.  I’d attend the daily vigils, protests, calls for help, and be there comforting women who had lost family members, who hadn’t heard from their family because their town or city was in shut down, young people who’d never been there getting so passionate about the hopes and dreams of what their home country had in store in the wake of a new Libya.  People were united, differences set aside, and a new agenda to promote Libya was underway.

Sadly, we are not treated like every other Libyan, while we’ve been there, we’re constantly told that they don’t want people who are ‘double shafra’, which is the new term loosely translate as ‘double sim cards’ which really just means those who dual citizenship.  They assume that because of us being abroad, that we know nothing about Libya, when in reality the fact many were deprived from Libya and their families, they made more effort to actually keep up with Libya, and ensure their kids grew up with an understanding of their home country and what it’s like- even if those nostalgic memories were idealistic.

I am a Libyan, with dual nationality, I have lived, I have been to Libya, and I hope that in the future I am able to live there and not be attacked for the fact that my parents had no choice in their decision to stay in the UK.  I have skills, and experience and knowledge in things that people in Libya can use, and it’s not to ‘show off’ but because people can learn from me, and I can learn from them, and through that we can create great communities, greater cohesion and a great Libya.

SO to all those Libyans who shun us for the fact that we have lived abroad, just remember, we are still Libyans, and our idealism is to make a better Libya, not just for ourselves for everyone, think carefully before making judgements on us and what we can give to Libya.

Positive Libya!

I mentioned previously about how communicating with people can create beautiful things and what happened today is the result of this pushing on and making things happen.

I responded to a friends post on facebook regarding the situation in Libya and the fact the president of Libya recently went on a visit to Egypt.  So a discussion emerged which led to our experiences of the Libyan mentality and why 1. he did this trip to Egypt, and 2. why Libyan’s have mostly been ok with him doing so.  This further led into a discussion on what we can do to create change, since there’s so much negativity in Libyan media, western media, and general loss of hope for Libya, and so a few people mentioned doing something to change things.

Normally what happens is that discussions take place, people get passionate about things and say they’ll do something and then nothing really happens.  So I decided to tie people down to a date and a time and a location to meet so that we can actually see what we can do.  Today three of us turned up to discuss things and we have decided to start a campaign called Positive Libya, in order to encourage a different form of thinking and reporting and focusing on what we CAN do and not what we can’t do. 

As well as this we set a date to have a bigger meeting, and find out what others opinions are and what they feel we can do to combat some of the issues within the community. 

I will keep you updated on the progress of this venture, as I believe it is important and much needed for Libyans.

Positive changes can happen when you push for things and make them happen!

The voice in your head

I am generally pretty introverted and find starting conversations normally pretty awkward and difficult.  But I figured a technique for myself to get over that initial stumbling block, so that I don’t appear awkward and don’t just stay silent.

So I basically play out the scenario in my head, with a voice (my voice-sadly) in my head encouraging me to just do it. I am capable of speaking, I do public speaking fine, I can converse well in the language I’m going to be using, I am dressed fine, it shouldn’t be a problem because in the voice in my head I am a confident person who can communicate with people and make connections.

So honestly, it’s more about combating this fear that I’ll say something stupid, or the way people will perceive me will be negative, or that I won’t know what to say or..or..or… and it’s an endless stream of those ors because ultimately, so much could happen, and generally none of the things we worry or fear actually do.

Beautiful things happen when you talk to people, and push that fear of being the first to say something, or talking to a random stranger, or in a room where you should be networking, or on the train or any public transport as you travel.  You meet some amazing individuals, hear some wonderful stories, learn so much about things you probably never thought possible, and connect with people on so many different levels. 

I’m going to share a wonderful story of a new friend I made recently whilst on a trip to Palestine.  I was there for a conference with two professors of mine, and they were invited to dinner at a friend of a friend’s house who happened to live in Ramallah.  I wasn’t going to go since it wasn’t someone I knew or a friend of a friend of mine, and it seemed out of place to me- again mostly cause of this fear that I’d be in the way, and irrational stuff that really didn’t matter hugely.  But they reassured me she knew I was coming and was meeting us that evening. 

It’s honestly rarely happened to me, where you meet someone and you feel like you’ve known them forever, a connection is made with someone you had never met or known.  As we greeted one another it was peculiar, and again the negative voice in my head was telling me, I was imagining this and maybe I’m slightly weird! 

We had a lovely evening, great food, awesome conversation, and as she walked us back to the hotel, me and my new friend started to chat in Arabic and she was a beautifully loud and flamboyant woman, and she told me that she felt like she’d known me forever, as if I was one of her sisters.  The exact same thoughts and feelings I’d had, but thought were foolish.  And we hugged and exchanged numbers  to meet again.

The following time we met at her home again, where she’d invited her three sisters to meet me, and it was amazing, how well we all gelled, and connected.  That feeling that there are people in the most random of places who add to your life and your experiences in life. 

So train the voice in your head to be kinder to you, to tell you all the wonderful things which can happen and to push aside the fear of something going wrong.  As two new wonderful women I met recently told me ‘what’s the worst that can happen’.


I think I’ll jo…

I think I’ll journey out some day to wondrous lands afar,
Or even chart a journey to a distant blazing star.
But rest assured that when my journey begs to take its cue,
Always know that when I go, this journey takes you too

Mark R Slaughter

The journey has begun



“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.”
― Eleanor Roosevelt

I initially decided to blog a few months back, and set up a google account, however, due my less than techy self I didn’t really get how to change the name or use it well. I’m hoping wordpress is somewhat simpler on my brain.

This blog is merely my journey, in thought, feelings, travels, dreams and ambitions.

I have been blessed this past year in engaging with some amazing individuals, gaining experiences I’ll treasure forever, travelling to places I always imagined would be impossible, and mostly getting the confidence in myself to realise I can do it. And not only that, but that I need to make sure others realise they can do it to.

I received some amazing advice recently, where I was told to write down my dreams. Now I snickered slightly at this, at 30 I felt slightly foolish doing this, but it wasn’t just writing down any dream, but writing down the dreams I deemed to be unrealistic or unlikely to happen. It’s not that somehow writing them down is magically going to make these dreams happen, but when you know what you want to achieve in your life and set high goals for yourself, even if you fall short, you’ve still climbed a bigger mountain than setting tiny achievable ones.

So think big, dreams big, and imagine a journey filled with the many things you have always wanted for yourself, your family, your friends, your community, your country and your world.

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