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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