Ma`a as-salaamah Mohammad….. May Allah protect you!

Franklin Lamb, Tripoli

My roommate left our hotel and hopefully Libya last night for his village near Arlit, Niger thanks to the assistance of one of Tripoli’s Christian Churches.  I shallmiss him a lot.

It was a recently formed human rights group from the Coptic Orthodox (Egyptian) Church in Tripoli, working to protect blacks from the still lawless Tripoli streets that enabled my roommate to depart this hotel.  The Coptic Church, according to their Prelate here, has the largest Christian communion in Libya with normally 60,000 parishioners and has roots in Libya going back hundreds of years before the Arabs spread westward from Egypt.

 Mohammad departed none too soon since “security personnel” arrived at the Corinthia Hotel close to 1 p.m. this afternoon (8/28/11) with gunmen and two “Generals”in fine new uniforms complete with epaulets. Their surprise visit was to check the hotel rooms for Kaddafi supporters. They claimed they had received “reports.”

The Copts did a good job in getting Mohammad to safety.  Most observers here agree that for the immediate future there will be a whirlwind of wild speculation, accusationsand even some serious examination of Moammar Kaddafi’s leadership of Libya these past four decades. One fact however is incontrovertible to this observer and it is that under Kaddafi, Christians, whether Roman Catholic, Anglican Catholic,Russian Orthodox, Serbian Orthodox or Greek Orthodox, the main Christian sectshere, have been well treated and allowed virtually complete freedom to practice their beliefs and to celebrate their traditions with some restrictions placed on campaigns to proselytize Muslims of which they have not been any since the Mormons and the “Way of the Cross” evangelicals  leftsome years back.

Most of the churches here currently havevolunteers working to help their Muslim sisters and brothers during this cataclysmic period. My friend Mohammad is one whose life they may have saved.

Mohammad and I have been secretly sharing my room for more than a week since I accidently discovered him hiding and trembling in the hotel’s garden bushes shortly after the rebel entrance into Tripoli.  It was easy to calm Mohammad down and I brought him a shirt from my room, as his was filthy. 

Mohammad is a black African, devout Muslim and one fine man. When I saw him looking up at me and trembling my thoughts instantly turned to 21-year-old black Mississippian, James Chaney, and the date could have been June 21, 1964. That was when Neshoba County’s law enforcement and the Ku Klux Klan hunted blacks to kill and did kill James and his white companions Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner

The reason Mohammad was hiding outside the Corinthia hotel is that he feared for his life as so many, if not most, black Africans and black Libyans (roughly one third of Libya’s population) do these days.Bands of young rebel “freedom fighters” are still roaming some of Tripoli’s streets, itching it seems, to kill some “African mercenaries”, meaning, it appears, any black man they can find. Although the apparently politically-contrived rumors of African mercenaries raping Libyan women which helped NATO get the UN Security Council to green light its bombing and regime change campaign, have been debunked as fake by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and a UN fact finding group, some of the macho young rebels in Libya still insist the smear campaign is true.

Mohammad explained to me that he was never a fighter for anyone in Libya but rather that his employment background, like his father, uncles and brothers, was in Niger’s uranium mines which only the past few years have begun to recover from the late 1980’s collapse. Mohammad’s brother Said was killed in the Tuareg Rebellion of the 1990’s and his father sent Mohammad to Libya to work in construction.

I agreed with Mohammad that he could stay secretly with me until we could get him into safe hands. The hotel has never been the wiser to my knowledge although my friend Ismail,who works behind the front desk when he is not doing a dozen other jobs during his frequent 16 hour shifts, probably suspected something was going on because he would give me knowing glances as I disappeared toward the elevator with atable cloth covering a big plate of food and contrary to hotel rules of no hotel kitchen food in the rooms.  Luckily Ismail is a black Libyan and, if he knew, he did not rat us out.

 With no security at our hotel until the day before yesterday and now packed with journalists,Mohammad took extra precautions and never left room # 1185 except for one night when someone from the Coptic Church came to meet with him in another room and I gave his floor spot to a French activist from Beirut whose boat to Alexandria was delayed again.

 Housekeeping no longer exists at this hotel,and so no one has entered my room for almost two weeks since the staff fled.  In any case Mohammad and I had a good cover story ready in case events demanded one.  Mohammad, we would explain if caught, was a driver for the Italian Embassy before the Italians temporarily pulled up stakes back in March.

I got pretty good at fixing plates of food for Mohammad from the nightly “Iftar buffet.” Because we are both fasting for Ramadan, smuggling Mohammad food only once a day was easy enough, especially as some of the new hotel guests, being journalists from the Rixos Hotel or rushing here to cover the “Fall of Tripoli” from around Libya, are now in the habit of fixing their dinner plates and sitting around the abandoned hotel restaurants.This way they have more space and privacy from the cramped conditions in the rapidly deteriorating “dining room” or their working area. 

Personally, this Ramadan, the Iftar feast no longer has appeal for me because we have the very same food every Iftar which now comes almost entirely from cans. At noon today, the Hotel Front Desk posted the most recent Dear Guest Notice. It reads:  “Dear Guests: Please be advised that there will be no lunch today due to absence of water supply in the Hotel.  We hope for a water delivery this afternoon and hope to serve dinner tonight at 18:30.  Thank you.  The Corinthia Hotel Management.”  No water arrived and when I and an American lady who works for the Sunday Times returned from driving thru Tripoli’s center  at 7:50 p.m. just in time for Iftar, mine consisted of walking through the dining area picking leftover foodbits from  plates where diners had eaten and left.

 Before Mohammad left, he helped me with my infected leg and told me about a nearby Dr. which made me happy since no others have been available this past week.  But as dear reader may come to understand, I soon became reluctant to seek treatment from the Dr. who Mohammad recommended, although by very great coincidence I have known her wonderful granddaughter, an Arabic-English language interpreter named Aya, for several weeks.

My most recent best bet for immediate medical assistance was my new friend Dr. XX, “Consultant Urological Surgeon” from the British Medical Center here in Tripoli (formerly the Swiss Medical Center until Hannibal Kaddafi had that unfortunate problem with Swiss authorities last winter and his Dad wanted to abolish Switzerland and all things Swiss), hence the fast name change on the Clinic building.  Dr. XX is from New Delhi but studied in England and now normally resides in Sheffield, England.  He spent the past year working here in Libya,loves the people and the country and was most willing to help me.  The problem was that he had to rush to catch the boat out of here for Malta yesterday. Anyhow, he said I had a couple of days left before I would possibly have major leg problems and he  gave me the phone numbers of two of his colleagues, one an Indian dentist.  So far the phones still don’t work well in Tripoli.

Just a word of background about  Dr. Fatima, recommended by Mohammad now that I am resigned to get treatment late today, come what may, following my brief meeting  with the good Dr. this morning.

Dr.  Fatima is very thin, quite tall, has an unusually large head and a red scarf covers part of her face which is stained blue.  Aya explained that while Dr. Fatima is by background Muslim, her Saharan tribe retains some pre-Islamic rites and customs and is genealogically connected with the Delvar Nar. Yet  Aya also told me that Fatma’s tribe claims that they are linked with the Angels mentioned in Luke 24:4 where Christ’s apostle  describes the scene at Jesus’s tomb when two angels appeared to Mary. Anyhow….

Aya says Dr.  Fatima is capable of teleportation, telekinesis and ESP and while I don’t need any of that stuff just now, but could later, Dr.Fatima fortunately is also expert in Saharan medicine including leg infections. So the good news is that I am very soon to be in experienced medical hands. I have no doubt about that and I shall always be grateful to my friend Mohammad for the referral.

The down side may be what Aya told me about what her grandmother must do to make me well. This may be the tough part for someone who nearly collapses if some nurse even hints that she wants to stick a needle in me.  Aspirin is about the only medicine I have ever taken because my half German sainted Mother did not believe in her large brood getting sick and we all minded her over the years.

Dr. Fatima’s “clinic” is in the Medina not far from my hotel and the area is coming back to life as some citizens are beginning to peak out and emerge from their homes.   Hundreds of shops and outdoor tables with all kinds of new and used goods have been closed for more than a week. Even the lovely Chadian hospitality ladies who I have good reason to believe rent themselves from dirt floor rooms off the ancient streets of the medina for ten Libyan dinars an hour (about $8) or 16 dinar ($ 12.80)  for two hostesses, (three additional dinars per hour for air conditioning in the room –highly recommended!) have vanished.   This sad fact alone, according to one of the guys from the UN delegation that ten days ago gotp ermission from NATO to fly from Tripoli airport to Tunis for R & R and to assess their “findings,” is reason enough for the UNSC to immediately end NATO’s carnage in Libya. 

 I admit to being a little apprehensive because Aya told me one of the Chadian ladies, who recently returned and works as a nurse for Dr. Fatima, must first slice my wound in narrow lines and then rub and wash it thoroughly with Saharan sand and some nasty looking green paste of Sarahan vegetation and insect fluids.

While I sat thinking how that is going to feel, Aya seems to have read my expression and assures me that everything will be ok because her granny also makes a strong alcoholic drink out of Saharan cactus and I will drink some and feel fine.

 “Well, why not we just use that drink rather than sand to cleanse the wound”? I ask.

  Aya gave me one of her, “You stupid American!” glances that communicates, “Please don’t bother to question we who know what’s best for you!”

Aya also promises me that after my “treatment” the now returning Chadian ladies will take care of me for the expected three day recovery period. I immediately feel better.

 If fate rules that these next few days in fact comprise my last chapter, and never having had much interest in being with virgins, the company of these angels will certainly be as close to Heaven as this hayseed from rural Oregon will likely get.

  1. #1 by Matt on 08/29/2011 - 9:34

    Yes HEdoes!

  2. #2 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 08/30/2011 - 9:34


    This is a Biblical fact.


    This is a Quranic fact.

    The confrontations of Christians and Muslims are absurd and engineered by those YOU KNOW WHO who hate both Christians and Muslims, Christianity and Islam!


  3. #3 by Frederick Rhodes on 08/30/2011 - 9:34

    It is fact that Jesus loves Muslims, as it is also a fact that His followers prophecied that a false prophet will come into power 666 years after Jesus’ sacrifice and go against the teaching of Jesus and start a bunch of myths promoting the Jewish covenant law that infant circumcision is benefitial which is exactly why Jesus had to sacrifice His life to make that false covenant law unnecessary, attempting to make a mockery out of Jesus, and leading the world into WW3(Armigedon), then at the end of the war we will all join together and pass laws protecting the least of our brothers and sisters from genetal mutilation in the name of false prophets and false gods, this leading humanity to a thousand years of peace, until the beast of this Apocalypse(= infant circumcision) starts his procirc lie campaign again. If Muslims can figure out a way to stop allowing their sons and daughters to become circumcised, according to Islamic laws on human rights and not mutilating what Allah created, then this would put an end of the Jewish plot to cause war between Christians and Muslims. Those Jews practice diseption and may have been involved with writing parts of the Quran.

  4. #4 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 08/30/2011 - 9:34

    Frederick Rhodes says:
    August 30, 2011 at 3:54 pm
    “It is fact that Jesus loves Muslims, …”

    Maybe we are not talking of the same thing.

    Can you, please, quote the verse in the Gospel according to whoever where JESUS BANNED MALE CIRCUMCISION?

    It seems to me that I (or Ghyslaine) already asked you (or somebody looking like you) this question here or on facebook, but we never obtained any reply! As a cosmologist and probably also as a Mother Earthologist, according to your own profile, I fail to see how you are qualified to TEACH Christian Doctrine!

    When you come up with such outrageous statements, you qualify more as a dreamologist or a fairy tale teller!

    “…false covenant…false prophets…false gods… allowing their sons and daughters to become circumcised, according to Islamic laws on human rights and not mutilating what Allah created… Those Jews practice deception and may have been involved with writing parts of the Quran…”
    I will loose my precious time trying to convince you of anything! I prefer to concentrate on the issues raised here and not on your “false” Gospel thumping!

    “Franklin Lamb, Tripoli

    My roommate left our hotel and hopefully Libya last night for his village near Arlit, Niger thanks to the assistance of one of Tripoli’s Christian Churches. I shall miss him a lot.”
    I am sure Jesus, peace and blessings be upon him, will guide you to where you rightly belong.

    Jesus loves you for telling the truth and not lies


  5. #6 by B.A.Frémaux-Soormally on 08/31/2011 - 9:34

    Frederick Rhodes says:
    August 31, 2011 at 11:23 am

    “Sorry BAFS, I can only lead the horse to water, but I cannot make him drink.”

    DAMN IT, why don’t you reply instead of flooding us with your links? So, you ran away once and you keep running away!

    I repeat: “Can you, please, quote the verse in the Gospel according to whoever where JESUS BANNED MALE CIRCUMCISION” if you do not want to be called a liar?


  6. #7 by Frederick Rhodes on 09/01/2011 - 9:34

    Sorry BAFS, I cannot quote the words of Jesus and the Apostles in the New testiment, I can only paraphrase them because quoting would be like rewriting the whole collection of messages written by all the writers including writings from Jewish historians. Besides I never said ” Jesus banned circumcision”. Those are your words. Jesus only made it unnecessary to commit the covenant law on infants to become circumcised in order to go to heaven. We understand them to be teaching us that; Because the Jewish Pharisees wrote down laws and claimed them to be from God in the Old Testiment, and claimed that their laws could not be changed by any man unless he was concieved by a virgin and allowed His own life to be sacrificed, this and other false laws caused the Jews to rebel and split off Judaism and form into Christianity. The 2 main bad laws the Pharisees made up were first; Pari’ah circumcision, because after the wandering Jews re united, some of the Rabbis, Pharisees, and Mohels were pissed off because the Greeks had taught some of the Jews how to restore their shortened foreskins with stretching devices. Second bad law;, when the victims who survived this new, more traumatic, distructive form of infant circumcision, had grown up and replaced the old Pharisees, they passed laws making it legal to stone unwed pregnant virgins to death, to keep their religious race pure. This accidently made rape and murder legal under Jewish law. This pissed off the Jewess Kabala witches who thought they had control of their men, so they started performing the curse of “the ultimate rippoff; getting pregnant without sex” ritual, by covering the vagina of chozen virgins with the spirit/semen knowing that this was the only way to reproduce their prophecide Savior/ Messiah/ Son of God/ King of the Jews. This produced Jesus who was circumcised by the covenant law. As Jesus grew up, he was taught all the prophecies in Jewish scriptures and figured out that in order to undue the bad laws that He would have to allow His life to be sacrificed.

    Now, because Jesus had “fullfilled the covenant law” “…it is no longer necessary to become circumcised in order to reach the Kingdom of Heaven…” and “…if you allow yourselves to become circumcised then Jesus will loose value…”, or “…profit you nothing…” At present many Christians who have started allowing themselves to become circumcised, againt, have lost the meaning of their own messiah’ sacrifice. This is where the prophecies in the book of the Apocalypse start to be fulfilled. These prophecies state that they will not be able to be understood until the end days when the true meaning of the word Apocalypse will be reveled. Then the revelations of the apocalypse will lead to Armegiddon (world war 3)

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