Mufta at Leptis Magna. An awesome guy.

A guest post by Eric/@trimon29/Bubba-mon/My good looking husband/triathlete/world-traveling engineer/former GNC owner (and that’s a mouthful)

Eric's co-worker and Eric at Leptis Magna in Libya, 2010. Picture taken by Mufta.

Our tiny-attention-span world has already passed over what is happening in Libya in favor of what the Kardashians are doing this week. It makes me sad.
My work allowed me the opportunity to travel to Libya shortly before the recent events that have torn the country apart. I suspect that most would not have considered it a positive to have that “opportunity” and even I was a little skeptical when I got off the plane in Tripoli. It turned out to be an eye-opening experience that I will always treasure.
The Libya that I experienced was clean, progressive, and beautiful. The roadways, buildings, and cars were modern and well maintained. The hotel where I stayed in Tripoli was simply the nicest I have ever been in outside of the U.S., period.
After I left Tripoli, I traveled to and stayed for two weeks in a town named Ras Lanuf, which was the center of the fighting and news reporting of the first few weeks of the 2011 conflict. Once again, I was impressed with the facilities, airport, roadways, buildings, vehicles, and the refinery in which I worked.
My primary thoughts are not about buildings, though, but about people. Those that I met were friendly, intelligent, hard working, proud of their country, and eager to open its doors and show it off. They invited me into their homes, offered food, asked a million questions, and answered with pride and enthusiasm when I asked questions of them. They held not animosity but fascination for the US. I felt welcome.
My co-worker and I were assigned a driver whose name was Mufta. Mufta was married. He was a happy guy. He loved his life, his country, and was grateful for his job. Mufta was Muslim. We drove past incredible sights (at incredibly high speeds) while he tirelessly tried to communicate in our language. In the background his musical mixes of Britney Spears, the Eagles, and middle eastern music played in succession. Mufta got us through some interesting situations. He was absolutely fearless, and I would trust him with the life of my children.
On our last full day in the country, Mufta took us to an ancient Roman City known as Leptis Magna. Google it. It is the most incredible historical site that I have ever seen. It cost the equivalent of $2.50 for us to get in, and we were allowed to wander unescorted through this amazing place. At one point we stopped to sit in the upper seats of a fully intact coliseum, that was in such perfect condition it could have hosted an event on that day. Our view just beyond the columns was the blue Mediterranean.
As I now watch things unfold through the eyes of what we are told is “journalism”, I offer the following personal thoughts:
1. Media information available to the average citizen of our country is not always reliable.
2. Don’t assume that what’s happening the Middle East and Libya will automatically result in something better for their general population or for the world.
3. Don’t condemn the people of Libya for acts of their government. I suspect things done by the Libyan government would pale in comparison to some done by our own, and I love my country.
4. Good people are dying on both sides of this dispute.
5. Although my short stay does not truly qualify me to make this judgment, I do believe it is time for the Gaddafi regime to end. However,
6. I don’t believe the lives of our soldiers should be spent making that happen.
I honestly don’t know which “side” Mufta is on in this conflict, but I pray for Mufta and those Libyans like him, that this ends soon. I pray that the outcome is an improvement in his life. I hope that in the end this country is able to open its borders and invite the world to see its beauty and meet its amazing people.
If it does, I’ll be back.

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16 Responses to A Prayer for Mufta

  1. It’s really nice to get your insight on this. I’m with you on your points that you mentioned and it’s why I never watch the news. Some might call me ignorant, but I’ve lived a decent life without ever watching the news….I’m serious. It’s sad to see what is happening over there, and it’s nice to get real feedback from someone like you.

    Darryl
    Loving the Bike recently posted..No Longer a Volunteer Virgin

    • Pamela says:

      Darryl:

      “Some” (ie commenters to your recent blog) are jerks. And I am told by many how educated and informed I am. What a joke. I don’t watch the news either. I refuse to have someone else tell me what I should think, and when I watch the news, I feel manipulated.

  2. LBDDiaries says:

    I don’t think we’ve had “real” journalism anywhere (especially US) in years. It always seems to be slanted, usually by those with the money and power. A most excellent post and we will join you in prayers for Mufta – for his safety and protection (and that of his family).
    LBDDiaries recently posted..Not An Ordinary Love

    • Pamela says:

      My brother tells a story about watching the news on days when he was in Afghanistan and seeing the actions he was involved in reported inaccurately and how frustrating that was. I have never looked at “news” the same way since.

  3. Eric Hutchins says:

    Darryl,
    I know you are a little wary of political conversations 🙂 and I totally understand.

    My experience there was just such and eye opener for me. I went in to the country expecting to feel one way based on everything that I had heard (news, schools etc) and I left feeling something completely different.

    In the end its just about people, and most people really just want the same thing. Peace, to be allowed to live their lives, and opportunity to provide the basics for themselves and there families and possibly leave a mark, provide for a better life or opportunity for their children.

    Mufta was just a good human being, and there are a lot of Muftas out there.

  4. Eric Hutchins says:

    LBD,

    Yeah, its so easy to slip into believing what is reported to us by various agency’s as factual, and it is really eyeopening to learn that most of those information sources aren’t necessarily too concerned about the truth.

    I am not naive,and I did not just learn this, however, it was reinforced by my trip to Libya.

  5. Ally says:

    What a great post. If our media could be so open minded, we’d all be better off. I think when all we hear is the media coverage of any conflicts, incidents or wars, we (and I say ‘we’ as a term of the typical member of our society) forget to remember that we are talking about really people. People like us, that simply want a good life with their families in the homelands that they know and love.
    Ally recently posted..I Owe The Boy Some Orange Chicken

    • Pamela says:

      When Eric was in Libya, the people he worked with invited him into their homes, fed him, and gave him parting gifts. This has NEVER happened in the US.

  6. Eric Hutchins says:

    Ally,
    EXACTLY, I am often guilty of it too. There is this tendency for us to just lump everyone together in a category and assume that they all feel exactly the way that their governments policy “speaks”. We forget that in our own country we are far from unified on basic issues.

    But even more important (as you said) that these are just people, like us, they dont spend all their time thinking about world politics and where they stand on one issue or another. They are working, listening to music, doing things for the family’s, friends, and neighbors and wondering what they are going to have for dinner.

  7. Michael McKee says:

    Your views on the people of Libya and the fighting that is ongoing is truly noteworthy. Of that I do appreciate what you wrote. I probably disagree only with when you say, “Don’t blame the people of Libya for acts of their government.” It is the responsibility of all people of any nation to be accountable for the acts of their government. There are so many instances in which people rise up to address (or in some cases, perish trying) the actions of their government.

    Our own country’s civil war has roots in such an effort. The French Revolution, the failure of the German nation in World War II, the atrocities in Bosnia’s ethnic cleansing all represent this action and failure.

    I am not naive to think that NATO’s and our government’s action is a moral crusade. It is not.

    Your final point is what I support TOTALLY: I am tired of our young men and women dying in these wars.

    Kudos to you for raising such a thought provoking topic. I don’t have the cahones to go over to Libya !

  8. Pamela says:

    Eric, thank you for writing this, and being brave enough to tackle issues that many people shy away from. You are a very open and wonderful person. I love you and I am proud of you. And these comments represent just a fraction of the feedback on this subject, as most subscribers chose to comment directly by email to me. This is not the kind of topic that results in much public commenting, and I understand why. Thank you for those of you that did choose to make your support public.

  9. Eric Hutchins says:

    Mike you are right, and I think I rushed the wording on that. Its more accurate to say that one should not assume that the actions of ones government necessarily reflect the views of its citizens at the time. This is particularly true in autocratic societies where fear is one of the means used by the government to control behavior.

    Still not sure if that even “gets it” exactly, however, just wanted to say that it is not simply a country full of Gaddafis, shaking their fists at the rest of the world.

    And I agree with you that the citizens of a country have a responsibility to rise up and clean their own house if necessary.

    Take care, and thanks for the kind words.

  10. Excellent post. Good to be reminded that things are not always hunky-dorey for everyone in the world. Perspective. Makes you think. Thanks for sharing this Eric. My thoughts are with Mufta and his family.
    T
    Theresa Sonoda recently posted..Homework and Housework Avoidance Training

  11. charlotte says:

    Hi Eric,
    Thanks a lot for this post…I have laearned something about this topic…
    charlotte recently posted..Grand Bornand Accommodation

  12. Eric Hutchins says:

    Thanks Teresa and Charlotte. It was such an incredibly eye opening trip for me. I hope someday to be able to go back there with Pamela and spend more time but who knows if and when that would be possible.

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