25 Jul 2011

"Maash Nibbouh" !

Pronounced "Ma'ash Nibbouh" in Libyan dialect, this is actually the phrase you will hear the most on Benghazi's streets every single day. It literally translates as: "We don't want him any more" ! And it refers to... Gaddafi. (In Arabic it is: معش نبوه .. it comes from ما عادش )

Kids as young as 3 might not be able to say a full sentence or tell you a story, but they know how to say that phrase.

They also know how to say : "Muammar itlaa barra.. tawwa" , which means : Muammar leave.. now !

Children, women, men, old, young, middle-aged .. everyone repeats those phrases with such passion and such determination.

I asked one middle-aged lady: "So does that mean you wanted him before?" She explained to me that although he had killed, tortured and imprisoned anyone who would criticise him, they did not mind him so much, up to the point when the first demos kicked off in Eastern Libya and were brutally crushed. She said that the turning point for her was when she saw what she describes as "foreign mercenaries" spreading fear in Benghazi's streets. She said she was shivering in her home as she saw them coming down the street, armed. "My brother who used to be with Gaddafi and a member of his popular committees, had to go downstairs with others to the building's entrance to protect the women and children from any harm", she said. Then she continued with clear anger and pain: "Honestly when the rape started, that was already way too much for us to take. We can take the killing and opression, but we can't take anything that touches our family honour, our women, our girls."

And finally she had to repeat to me : "Ma'ash nibbouh, ma'ash nibbouh" !

Many people have told me that their rejection of Gaddafi is not because of them being hungry or poor. "This revolution is about our dignity. It is not a hunger or poverty revolution", a 70-year-old man explained to me. He lost one of his sons in recent fighting outside Ajdabia, on the road to Brega. "I am proud of my son. He will be a martyr and will go to heaven. We will give anything for our dignity, anything, even our sons."

He, too, finished the conversation by saying : "Ma'ash nibbouh Muammar, ma'ash nibbouh" !

My day ended in the evening in a home without power. Power cuts are now more frequent since the revolution started. Many neighbourhoods are dark at night. I wanted to find out the impact of the problem on people's lives. I expected people to complain about it as I saw them sitting in the dark in a living room lit by a small battery-operated lamp. But a 60-year-old woman whose 2 sons are fighting with the rebels surprised me by saying: "I don't want electricity or water or food from the government. I just want him out. Ma'ash nibbouh!"

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Anonymous said...

Honestly there are many reasons why we don't want him and why revolution Feb17 was launched of course including the ones you have posted. Libya is an oil rich country with a low population but haven't you noticed how undeveloped it is? I mean Benghazi being the 2nd largest city across Libya is a MESS! Where did all the money go? Why hasn't it been used to construct the country in a better way for future generations? So many questions unanswered. In the end "Mamaar Ma'ash Nebou!"

Dima Khatib said...

Thank you for your comment. I agree and I did notice that Benghazi is so underdevelopped. But people don't mention this when I ask them about why they don't want Gaddafi any more ! I guess they are so focused on the other issues that touch their dignity right now..

I will write about this though. I should. thank you

Anonymous said...

The old regime has done so much to Libyans that when we get the opportunity to sit around the table to discuss our issues we sometimes don't know where to start! Once you unseal one case another branches it self right out! And I assure the stories you have heard in Benghazi don't even reach half a book. Just wait till you hear the rest of Libya! But of course our main motive for now is getting rid of him and eventually everything else will hopefully be carefully dealt with.