Who am I ?

My name is Zainab, and I’m from Libya, from Gharian, to be exact. After some years of living abroad, my family returned home in 1985 to our house in Tripoli. I was unable -for various reasons, one being a crippling shyness- to complete my education after high school. Pushing myself to overcome my shyness, and to escape relatives’ criticism: “ in Libya, no-one will like you if you’re not social, if you don’t chat”, I applied for a job in 1987 that was very unambitious, but interesting, and worked for nine years. This was at a state establishment where I met many Libyans from all over Libya -as well as foreigners. During those years, I gained a closer look, and deeper knowledge of my country and countrymen, as well as a good measure of self-confidence. Whatever I knew before that, was from childhood experiences during visits home, and from my parents’ pool of knowledge.
After my marriage in 1996, I lived in my husband’s small apartment in Tripoli for nine years. I hated that apartment, as much as I hated Tripoli’s suffocating humidity in summer, and I never thought of it as my home. My husband -the strong and silent type (yes, really)- had to put up with some difficult times between us because I felt oppressed and depressed within that tiny space. My two children were born in Tripoli, and their presence in my life is a great joy. (to be continued)


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