Women and children leapt from bridges to their deaths as they tried to escape a ruthless crackdown by Libyan forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi.
I suppose all the people I knew in Libya as a kid, Selma, “Captain” Mohammed, “Private” Mohammed (police officer cousins), Fatima, and “cat lady’ are probably dead, especially “Captain” Mohammed, he was a mid level police officer in 1958 and I suspect he didn’t survive the bloody transition to power by Gaddafi, maybe his lower ranking cousin “Private” Mohammed did. Mom swore he looked like Cesear Romero. Look at the pictures and judge for your self.
Dad and "Captain" Mohammed
This was Fatima, our neighbor's maid
From left to right
"Captain" Mohammed, Selma, me, Mom, my sister and "Private" Mohammed. Selma and the two men were all cousins. I suspect that the western wear among women in Libya is a thing of the past.
Mom, Selma, Capt. Mohammed making tea, and my sister.
This is forty feet below the suface. Dad's friend (they were in WWII together) my sister and Mohammed, the troglodyte.
This is Mohammed, a troglodyte in the west Sahara. My family and his became very close quite by accident. We would drive around and one day my father gave him a ride to his "home" and he insisted on giving us tea. We went to a large hole in the ground with a side tunnel leading to the bottom and then saw individual caves dug off from the bottom of the hole. All the caves I remembered were whitewashed and the cave of the troglodyte we visited (Mohammed) was decorated with an empty red box of "Tide" detergent. On a second visit my mother brought a bigger, full box of “Tide” and it replaced the smaller box on subsequent visit. You can see the original, smaller box on the floor of the cave.
When Mohammed came to harvest olives in Tripoli he just assumed we were his host and he'd sleep on the floor of our apartment for the week or so required for the harvest. Selma swore he was going to cut our throats as we slept and at night you could hear her moving furniture in her room to block the door.
I had a marvelous childhood. I thought all kids lived in the North Africa desert and hung around with the Foreign Legionnaires!!
Mom and I at the ampitheater of Sabratha.
I mourn for Libya and it’s people. It was a magic place to grown up in and exciting to a book worm kid who loved reading about desert adventures, plus, I was convinced that Tarzan’s jungle was only a few miles that way. I played in the Roman ruins of Sabratha and Leptis Magna.
I've always wanted to take the MRHYN to Libya for a visit and I'd hoped that eventually there would be a peaceful transition to a government more amenable to the U.S. and I could get tourist visas. Alas, that now seems to be a forlorn hope.