Friday, March 09, 2007

we still had around a week left in Mecca before we hit the road to madina, one whole week.

we spent that time doing more umrah's, visiting different mosques and sights like mount nur and mount thawr as well as going back to araft to see the mount of mercy.

some of us had fallin ill with some sort of flu, i had lost my voice and was coughing my internal organs out but aside from that i was fine, most people came down with temperature, shivers, cough, dizziness, the girls in my room where not very well, but alhamdullilah they soon recovered.

my mum managed to see her cousin (her aunts daughter) whom she hadn't seen in 25 years and who was one of her best friends, coincidentally she was to do hajj this year and they planned to meet in Mecca. we where waiting opposite the haram on some steps, my mum was so anxious and nervous, excited all different emotions and she wouldn't stay still, and she wasn't sure whether she would recognise her cousin as it;s been 25 years, it was a very emotional time for my mum because her mother had passed away 2 years ago and this was to be the first relative she will see since then, so memories where being played back.

even before my mums cousin turned up, my mum started crying bless and people around us where curious as to what was happening, some even asked my father to which he told them that we where waiting for some one we haven't seen in many a year, so by the time my mums cousin had come, there was a big audience, and when they noticed each other, they ran up to one another and hugged each other like there was no tomorrow, crying and what not, it really was emotional, some of the ladies watching where crying and i have to say that i did shed some tears.

that day we spent the whole time with her, i love seeing my family from Libya, for those who are constantly among their extended family, you are extremely lucky to have grown up with that, i know family can be annoying especially when they get involved in personal stuff and how every member has an opinion on your life, but still to grow up amongst cousins, uncles, aunts, grandparents even the neighbours is something i never had the chance to experience, that's why when i went to visit Libya for the first time in 22 years it was amazing but extremely difficult as i didn't know my own family, isn't that sad?

so when ever i see family members visiting my heart is full of happiness and all i want is to catch up on those years missed out. getting to know your own family from scratch is definitely a disadvantage of being in the 'ghurba'(away from home), although i don't really consider Britain as ghurba as to me its home. i guess its a home away from home :)

we also met my mums niece who lives in Dubai and who often visits the UK, so we where lucky in having 2 members of our large family to spend time with.

now i am going to go into a rant, going to hajj opened my eyes up to more than one thing, some good some bad, what i came to realise is that allot of people get taken advantage of in a big way, in a sickening way, and some of these people are the Libyan hijjaj, some save up all their life to be able to one day perform hajj, its around nearly 4,000 Libyan dinar and on top of all that they must wait until there name is pulled out announcing that they can perform this year, that's fine, its a system that many countries adopt as quotas have been placed on the number of pilgrims from each country, and in some cases on the number of times any one individual can perform the pilgrimage within a certain number of years.

now there was a time when Libya was famous for its treatment of the hijjaj, putting them in good hotels, very good treatment, seriously, the murshideen (those who guide the hajjis) where good, i.e it was value for money or even more.

what i saw and was told this year is horrendous and down right shameful and those responsible should be made accountable for, in my opinion and many others it was day light robbery.

All potential pilgrims must apply for a Hajj visa through a qualified travel agent in their home country. The Saudi embassies will not issue Hajj visas to individuals travelling alone, fair enough, but do these so called travel agents fulfil their obligations, i can honestly say a big no when it comes to those who cater for Libyan hajjis as well as some other countries.

All foreign travel agents must be pre-approved by the Ministry of Hajj and have a partnership contract with a local (Saudi) Hajj provider, but the problem is that the ministry of hajj are either not doing their jobs correctly or are un aware of what is happening in some hajj travel agents.

All qualified travel agents and their Saudi partners are responsible for providing their Hajj group with travel documents, transportation and housing throughout the Hajj experience, but in the case of our Libyan hijjaj they get provided with miserable accommodation, in Mecca they where placed in a hotel of some sort that had cockroaches and bubrais (lizards), unhygienic and cramped, although it was near the haram. each hajji had payed enough money to be given decent accommodation, where there money goes on Allah knows, unless you have contact with 'the powers that be', then if your a Libyan hajji coming with Libyan 'approved' hajj travel, then don't expect much, actually expect nothing. many Libyans who are able to afford it choose to perform hajj with other travel groups from a different country, my grandmother and uncle attached themselves to an Egyptian group, my cousin traveled with a khaliji group.

for those who cant afford it, have no options, and for them it really is a test of their patience, in madina the accommodation was far worse than in mecca, the woman where in one room (similar to the tents in mina) and the same for the men, the rooms where opposite each other so the ladies never had the chance to relax properly with the fear of the men looking into the room as the door would constantly be open, my mums cousin had to tell a particular man off as he had a habit of walking into their room without so much as a knock on the door to announce his presence, claiming to be looking for his wife, there would be a rush of putting on their scarfs.

the kitchen and toilet situation was a disgrace, food was a do it yourself, nothing comes with the 'hajj package', in mina they where not given any blankets, sleeping bags etc.. so many went expecting such things to be provided, but in fact that was not the case.

we had such luxury in mina compared to other such groups, my friends mother in law, nearly froze to death, majority of the Libyan hijjaj are of a certain age, i.e over 40, many couldn't bare the cold and became ill, the tents in mina that we stayed in had extra cover on the floor, that is besides the pillow and sleeping bag, my fellow Libyan hijjaj did not have even a floor covering that they could feel the sand and many had an un comfortable nights sleep due to the rocks that where sticking into there sides and backs.

it makes me so angry to the verge of tears to think that they can be taken advantage of like that, and when i think of the so called murisheeden (guides) that are sent with them then my blood boils even more, so called guides who don't know the first thing about hajj, who have never performed umrah never mind hajj and who spent most of their time playing carta (cards) than guide the Libyan hijjaj, guiding was definitely something that they did not do, many of the hajjis, particularly the older, got lost not just for hours but for days as no one guided them or explained to them anything.

7,000 Libyan hijjaj performed hajj this year, of the 7,000, 1,000 of them where mukhabarat (spy's), how interesting is that?

it saddens me that for such a rich country to treat its citizens in this manner is down right shameful, recently i read that the kernel himself asked for a loan, a loan!!!! according to him that is, what does he take his people for, utter buffoons!!!

one of the most saddest thing is to watch this and to see the pain and despair in their eyes yet know that not a single one of them utters a word of complaint, by the time hajj ends, they truly are hajjis and for that i salute them...

i really do want to research this and delve deeper into this topic, and find out exactly what's going on, i swear if i am ever given the chance to perform hajj again then i am so taking my camera with me and taking pictures of the conditions over there.

its not just a Libyan problem, many other countries are experiencing bogus travel operators, even here in England, recently i found out that a company in Leicester ran off with the money that was meant for hajj!!!!


Brave Heart said...

did u mean ,u didn't go to libya 22 years ,it's long time,how did u feel when u went there,did u find urself able to live there?
long time i didn't hear about mukhabart, i think u were wrong 6000 are mukhabart and the others is normal people
anything orgainzed by libyan gov will fail, believe me.

AngloLibyan said...

I am glad your mother got to meet some of her family.

I am sick of the way our people are used abused & taking advantage of, we used to be respected all over the world, now look at how Libyans are treated, even Yemen kicked out a girl who has Aids just because they have a problem with the Libyan government.
I agree that the Libyan rotten system is to blame for everything that happened to our people, its this system that made us the laughing stock where ever we go.
Thank you for highlighting this.

white african said...

brave i really was strange going the first time, i loved it. the first time i went i went with my brother for 28 days, i split myself in 3 places, i have family in trablis, benghazi and misrata and that was a real holiday, and meeting family for the first time was amazing.

the second time i went, i went for 2 and half months, and on my own, that was hard, i didnt want the facade of holdiay life i wanted to really get to know my family and my country as well, and i achived that.

in its current state i would say it is extremely difficult to live their.

anglo i totaly agree, we have such a reputation world wide and its because of certain individuals, what are our achievemnts? or maybe i should say our 'goverments' achievemnts?

Brave Heart said...

that what i expect it, cos i just stay here 18 months and i went back,to do some thing for three months,i found it difficult to deal with any thing,here the day is 10 hours, there the day is one week and u cannot do any thing just waste the time,thats why i asked u ,i thought i was wrong for my feeling toward the situation there.

Lebeeya said...

Its nice to know your mom got to meet her relatives :) Kinda reminded me when we first went to Libya in 2003, it was my first time to visit and my parents first time back after being away for 28 years. The whole airport was crying!

I feel the same way as you do. The first time I visited Libya was when I was 19 years old. I envy people that grew up in libya surrounded by their family and relatives. They are so lucky and dont know it! I have been living in the ghurba all my life, I have lived in so many countries, I've lived in America (in 5 different states), Canada, Germany, Jordan, UAE and now Oman. and none of them I can call "home". I dont even have a home away from home :(

I always wish I was born in Libya, grew up there, lived there, married wild el jiran, and died there!

White african, if I may ask, how old are you? :)

white african said...

lebeeya im 25 although i try to forget that :)

mashallah you really have travlled the world, you ever know what the future holds for you, you may end up living in Libya?

i always think to myslef would i be the same person if i was brought up over their instead of here? i always come to the conclusion of no, i would have been totaly different.

Chatalaine / شاتالاين said...

It is so sad that people will abuse good God fearing souls that just want to do the right thing.
Can anything be done about it?

I hope that the people that got taken advantage of can find peace in knowing that God was watching the whole time and they will each get the reward that God sees fit. Surely God will make those evil people suffer for their sins agains His own children.

NM said...

The poor loves, thats shameful its hajj for goodness sake!!

Brave Heart said...

excuse me WA: may i comment to leebya:
what if wild aljeran حول وهتش

this 4 both of u

I feel that lebeeya is more lebiyah than white african,i feel WA is more global more than Libyan.

this 4 WA:
why u think u'll grown different,i'm totally agree for that ,but i need to know ur reason

white african said...

chatalaine what makes us continue living in hope is having that faith.

every one wil be given what they deserve.

yep nm, hajj, but not every one views hajj in the same way, clearly these people who mistreat the hajis have a distorted image.

brave this topic needs a whole new blog :0)

your observation is interesting, i do classify myself as a libyan, but not in the whole sense, i gues sits something to think and ponder about, me being global hmmmm, interesting.

interms of being different if a was brought up in libya instead of britain, well my reasons are simply that your surroundings have an impact on you, people, culture, what is expected what is not expected can mould and make you the person you are.

its an interesting subject and i'm going to think some moreof it and then dedicate a blog about it.

Anonymous said...

Well if I'm right during your first visit you attended a family wedding, but I won't say where.

Can you email me please here:

or if that is too much at least get your father or the eldest of your brothers to email me.

Send my regards to your father and mother.

I'll check back later .

cofman said...

hi White A

I came twice or 3 times to your page recently, and couldn’t honestly read more than a few lines because, I felt, it just added to my pain
This hour I came again, and went as far as these words, and decided I better stop

Here “ i know family can be annoying .. but still to grow up amongst cousins .. even the neighbours is something i never had the chance to experience, ..i went to visit Libya for the first time in 22 years .. isn't that sad? ”

You know something? I am glad I didn’t discover your page long time ago, it just makes me feel …. I don’t know

I really have nothing to say, I don’t know, maybe if I say I also feel the same might make the burden a little lighter – I mean I know we all sometimes try to encourage and support one another, but I have a feeling things will soon brighten up
Whenever I feel down, or remember those I love to death, or remember those who felt for me - even if they didn’t show it - somehow things get better quickly and unexpectedly
It is a habit now I have, whenever I am down I quickly remind myself saying: it happened many times before, and it will happen again: things will get better soon

Actually, all the sufferings if positively directed could help build a strong character, and wealth of experience

( frankly, I don’t know what I am talking about )

I might come again to finish reading your piece

white african said...

annon clearly you know who i am hmmmmmm,

it's a bit difficult giving your sallam to my parents when i dont know who you are lol.

cofman hope your well and welcome :)

i just wrote what is reality for me, my perspective on certain matters, it does help to write things down, its not an easy thing your right but its a way of coping i guess.

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