Reading groups and examine communities

Examining life at the slow shutter speed.
Coffee -Mediterranean charms, Regilla in Tripoli

Examining communities first hand opens many horizons and connections.

The first hand interaction with peoples and ideas of different nationalities and regions when living in a cosmopolitan city like Tripoli adds a richness to life.
How work, faith and migration shape identity were aspects that formed part of the connections which we explore.

While the Indian Hindus celebrate Diwali,there are Christians who are now observing the 40 day fast before Christmas and recently Muslims celebrated Eid.

Then there are Christians of different schools-Orthodox Christians from Central-Eastern Europe.

Here is where I also met a person who does not go into a Church having been brought up as an atheist and practicing a more strict brand than some from India who still go into religious places, looking for cultural connections. The philosophy which develops from these made me re-examine Proust’s words “In Search of Lost Time” in a different manner.

Reading groups

One of my readers queried and asked me to expand further about how much difference there was between “Bhajan” and “Bhojan” in the Friday group. That I will leave to the conscience of the people who participated to answer to each one of themselves.

There was another interesting regular group which we had in Tripoli before the 2011 uprisings which we are continuing in some forms now…This was the informal “Tripoli Reading Group” an attempt to form a “Consciousness-Raising” forum.

Friday evening on the terrace

Many were the pleasant evenings we spent discussing how interpretations of different thought currents evolved. Some of the professors raised our level.

“We have to learn from the Frankfurt school, thank them for opening these issues, but also move ahead,” one veteran told on one pleasant evening in Tripoli, sitting on the back terrace.

Oral History …some conversations in faith and marriage

How did cross cultural, inter-faith marriages affect your life?

This was an interesting line of inquiry as we engaged in life-story interviews with some Libyans who have spent a long time in the West but have returned to participate in re-building their country.

I let my wife find her own equation with Islam” one friend who married a lady from Panama once told me. “She did declare her Islam, but I did not force her,” the firebrand thinker-citizen who also talked about lack of political tradition, Republicanism or established legitimate structures in Libyan society and the strong tribalism and tendency to settle disputes in extra-constitutional ways told me.

“For me it was important that I give all that I have to my wife and children,” another veteran who left all his savings of over 2 decades of work in UK to his family, divorced and returned to his homeland told about how Islam made him give up all for his wife and children.

He is nowadays trying to find out the different levels of curriculum and learning in young students of English so that he can orient his tuitions accordingly.

Webs ..remembering an afternoon at Funduq Kabir

As people rise to re-claim their stolen destinies, our “Reading Group” re-examined the meaning of Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” as applied to faith, work, migration in the context of post-revolutionary Libya.

It all started one quiet afternoon when three of us met for coffee at Grand Hotel-Funduq Kabir and started our discussions.

“Keep it informal, as otherwise other politics of organizational culture, who will be the President or Secretary start taking precedence,” the veteran of such groups over three decades told. Many were the interesting webs we wove in these discussions, from “thanking Frankfurt School” to searching for meaning and faith in tribalism, identity and the exploration of indigenous people. The webs which we wove were rich and intricate….it is through these connections that we came to hear…

“ Yes we are Muslims, but we are not Arabs. We are the original inhabitants of this land…we are the Berbers.”

Examining communities first hand opens many horizons and connections.


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 :
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