Evacuations in Tripoli-Touch and Go

Finding myself in a minority again, as I saw people pack their bags to leave,

some even demanding their money while the country where they had come

to ‘serve’ faces it’s worst crises in over a generation I thought of the many

motivations which people have and remembered the following words of

Studs Terkel’s Memoir “Touch and Go”.

“ Miss Addams understood why each person had become what he was.

She didn’t condemn because she understood what life does to  people

To those of us who have everything and those of us who have nothing.”

Does a medical worker behave or react differently? Should he react differently?

Won’t sick people require you even more in these dire circumstances?

Or is it just..Go with the flow

Though in a minority, I was not alone in staying behind..Come what may.

One friend stood by..I shook his hands warmly and said,

I am proud to have known him for over a quarter of a century.

We then read out the following words of Brecht

Who built the Seven Gates of Thebes…?

When the Chinese Wall was built, where did the masons go for lunch?

When Caesar conquered Gaul, was there not even a cook in the army

When the Armada sank, we read that King Philip wept.

Were there no other tears?

We are staying behind with these people, and face the consequences.

May they have courage and sense to solve their differences and issues

as decently as possible.

One of my friends asked –

The Embassy is going to close in 10 days, what will you do then?

I just kept quiet.

It is each man up to his or her own calculations and convictions.

Another friend from the University rang up and asked.

What does one do if the contracts are not renewed or honored?

There is news that banks in Benghazi are not releasing the money of foreigners.

To them one can ask-

What can one do if electronic items, cellphones and money is stolen away

while one is fleeing?

And where is the violence which is being shown in the video clips?

Or is it just in the video clips and archives of some channels?

While this is not a normal situation, definitely there is some degree of

dramatization and exaggeration on the part of some , for various reasons.

At present, I think one should try to keep low, and wait and watch

While doing some reading, in these troubled times….

the words of August Spies echoed back through time…

“The Time will come when our silence will be more powerful

than the voices you strangle today”

(Death in the Haymarket-1886)

Any suggestions, comments,criticisms are welcome


These are the links to articles-thoughts-interviews on Arab Spring in Libya

Did militarism overshadow other aspects of the movement?

Will the women pay a heavier price of this than the children?

I stayed in Libya throughout the period of the Civil War , witnessed firsthand the buildup to the revolt and the  Failed February Uprising of Tripoli (see articles http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/feb2011/lett-f22.shtml)  and the Successful August Uprising of Tripoli and the storming of Bab-Aziziya compound of Gaddafi.










About prashant bhatt

A psychologist, interested in mindfulness practices. I practiced medicine as a radiologist for 23 years in India and Libya as a radiologist before shifting to Canada. A regular diarist, journaling since 1983 Reading journal : gracereadings.com
This entry was posted in Arab Spring-Libya, Learning, life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to Evacuations in Tripoli-Touch and Go

  1. Rahul says:

    Prashant, I thought you would be riding on yesterday’s flight by Indian Govt. but it doesnt seem in that way..

    I dont think these are right words at this right time – but my gut feeling tells me everything going to be alright. —

    ‘Hold on friend there’s a new dawn coming
    And a big bird to sweep you away
    Keep on dreaming soon there’ll be a reason’ –

    Follow your instinct and take right decision. Dont forget we are all here for you..

  2. Barbara says:

    Congratulations Prashant for having the courage to stand by your convictions – to be there when you are needed and not just to take. But do keep a low profile and stay out of troubled spots unless you have to be of service. Don’t get involved in others people’s quarrels. In case the banks are not releasing money I hope you have enough ready money to fall back on till this crisis blows over. Take care and God bless and protect you. With love and best wishes

    • prashantbhatt says:

      Thanks for your encouragement.
      I am just doing my job, looking after patients.
      No one is disturbing us here.
      Things on ground are not as bad as is being portrayed

  3. one who stayed back says:

    can’t agree more. not all medics are motivated by the satisfaction of being there when needed, but I can see where the motivations of those leaving are coming from; “each one to his own”;
    To be honest, strangely as it may seem, I feel no fear or even apprehension but an anticipation of “action” of being potentially able to make a difference when it is needed most; a sense of loyalty plays only a minor part; Equally, I hope that we will not be needed but everything passes off peacefully to whatever end it is destined to be…

  4. prashantbhatt says:

    Thanks ..To The One Who Stayed Back-For everything.

    In coming days our “Reading Group” will probably go through the relations between Camille Pissaro and Blanqui and the Paris of 1871.

    One friend went back a bit further-1789, and while he talked about Chaos, I quoted to him a passage of that Glorious fighter Red Rosa …who summed it up so beautifully

    On January 26, 1917, Rosa Luxemburg wrote to a woman friend from prison:

    “This losing oneself completely in the banalities of daily life is something that I generally cannot understand or endure. See, for example, how Goethe rose above material things with a calm superiority. Just think of what he had to live through: the great French Revolution, which at near range must have seemed a bloody and utterly aimless farce, and then from 1793 to 1815, a continuous sequence of wars. I do not demand that you write poetry as Goethe did, but his view of life, the universality of his interests, the inner harmony of the man, every one can create for himself or at least strive for. And should you say that Goethe was not a political fighter, I maintain that it is precisely the fighter who must try to be above things, or else he will get his nose stuck in all sorts of rubbish – of course, in this case, I am thinking of a fighter in the grand style …”

    Hope you go through the Art books and develop this taste further.

    Welcome to the Reading Group.

  5. dr sen says:

    You see these are managed by god.All play.
    belive on this you canot do any thing-some body say
    patabhi nahi hil sakate he without god wish
    so this time be calm do your work as we are not belonging to this country.we come for work only. as in crowd it may be more damaging.Dr prasad has good understanding and adjustment

  6. Alok Varshney says:

    Dear Prashant,

    These are testing times, my friend, and people with courage borne out of conviction are tested more than the others. Kudos to you for staying back to help the people.

    Sometime back I had asked you a question, which you had replied quoting Barthes’ Chaplin-man. Such eloquence of words is often wasted on simpletons like me, but I finally had my answer through your action.

    Be safe..

    • prashantbhatt says:

      Hi Alok
      Thanks for encouraging and inspiring me.
      At the “Tripoli Reading Group”..we discussed Gorgias in which Socrates calls his activity “Political art” (politike techne).

      Could he practice the political art and truly care for others’ souls yet not pursue the truth with them and try to impart the truth to them?

      One of my friends ventured-while inviting me to dinner (refused for various reasons)..that maybe these voices may reach the concerned parties.

      …We parted ways

      Gorgias agrees that those who teach most of all persuade, and from that it follows that he must say he too can teach in order to maintain his claims about his power. I cannot fill out the argument now.

      Obviously, the question of whether justice can be taught is relevant to Socrates too.
      If he does something to others, cares for their souls, does he do so by imparting knowledge?

      …..we will continue our discussions…..
      The city cares for the soul of citizens…The City is teaching ..The city of Tripoli

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