The message of Evans Pritchard- was that
the so-called simple societies , just like Western Ones , are shaped
by powerful historical forces and must therefore by studied in the
widest political and economic context.

As part of efforts to note Everyday history I present a collection of narratives


You can download the book here  Shafshoofa Maleshi

Collection of narratives in different phases of the Libyan
revolution. As the history of this region takes a decisive turn, I spent
some time looking into narratives of common people long suppressed
to examine how they have been affected by the upheaval and its

Guided by the dictum conveyed by Greenspan in

“Listening to Holocast Survivors” that a good interview is a
process in which two people work hard to understand the views
and experiences of one person: the interviewee, I have tried to
get through the different layers and meanings of the on-going
processes of change in Libya.

How did Italian colonialism affect the lives of common Libyans?
What were the opportunities brought about by independence?
What meanings did Arab nationalism have to different people?
How does the 2011 liberation war open new horizons to veterans
and youngsters?
These, and many other questions, are examined through
oral history narratives of native Arabs, Berbers, and
immigrant worker narratives.

Social change will take time, but it is certain that the
feared and hated dictator is not returning.

So the streets resound with cries of “Shafshoofa Maleshi,”

shafshoofa referring to Gaddafi’s long hair, which some
say was full of lice, and maleshi – meaning “sorry.”


You can download the book here  IN TRANSIT AT DUBAI INTERNATIONAL

If you want to see the working world on the move, one of
the places where you get this feeling is the Dubai international
airport. Here one finds persons of different cultures, races,
backgrounds on the move.

One thing that binds the millions who transit this airport
is that they are all workers.

These true-life narratives give a window into the world of
immigrants working in the Arab world.

They capture the immigrant worker’s quest for survival, growth,
meaning and dignity for oneself and one’s family.

“Who are my family ?” a long term immigrant worker asked one night.

“My long term colleagues who are in similar situations?
My sisters back home? Each one understands things in a different way,
but no one is able to or even tries to see my whole story from my perspective.”


9 Responses to Books

  1. Dcde says:

    I like it


  2. Chiramel Paul Jose says:

    Book review on:
    In Transit at Dubai International
    Prashant Bhatt
    Published on: February 26, 2013-03-14
    Pages: 39
    Kindle Edition

    Prashant Bhatt’s book or rather booklet entitled In Transit at Dubai International: Narratives of Expatriate Life in the Arab World is indeed threaded with various literary genres like travelogue (physical as well as psychological), anecdotes and narration of daily experiences and work experiences.

    It is a piece of fine small and catchy work legible in the span of about half an hour.

    The title itself seems to be symbolic, as the agonies and strife of any expatriate worker from the eastern part of the world for that matter, literally start from the ‘transit sojourn’ in the posh looking Dubai International Airport itself. In spite of its gaudiness in appearance and size, it is very much unlike the biggest Airports in the Western World like Leonardo da Vinci at Rome, Frankfurt am Main, London Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle at Paris, or JFK New York in the trans Atlantic west, with regard to the conveniences offered for the transit passengers doomed to while away their time there. In the bustle for amassing wealth through commercial business by making the Dubai Airport similar to a microcosm of the business world, the maximum convenience that Dubai International proudly offers to its ‘Transit Victims’ is the “Quiet Space” with a some leaning couches. At peak days one may not get a calm space even to lie down despite having to wait there for more than 16 or 18 hours. No expatriate worker can dare to argue with the Airport authorities about the International passengers’ rights approved by the IATA according to the Geneva Convention. They would simply wash their hands saying it is not their responsibility, but that of the Airways which carry you. But when they allow such Airways to operate through Dubai International washing their hands alone does not become an excuse, as they should insist on the Airlines strictly following the guidelines for the comfortable transit halt of the international passengers. In the run for accumulating the daily number of passengers and making it something like a World Trade Centre, Dubai International conveniently close the eyes and put the expatriate worker in real trouble, right from the beginning.

    Saying this, it does not mean that Dubai International Airport is not a good place, it is an amazing work, and one can walk and walk and enjoy the various sights inside the Airport, whereas, most of the expatriate workers may not be willing to empty their purses lured by the vanity of the glorious shopping outlets there. The ones who are socially open will naturally open up and meet with people of the same intention of working abroad and with almost similar aspirations of earning better and making their family’s life more prospective, but at the same time stemming from various countries in the Asian region. Probably that ‘the transit friendships and acquaintances’ will be the greatest thing that can happen during the ‘Transit Sojourn’ at Dubai International, which is efficiently highlighted in Chapter 1.

    In chapter 2, the aspirations of a Nigerian youngster by name Carl is poignantly depicted by the author shedding light on the ways of double dealings which any expatriate worker has to face with in any land, and probably hints that this youngster might not ever achieve his aspiration. It also describes the pathetic story of a black Libyan whose life is replete with problems, but keeps always a smiling face and renders help to anybody in need, or rather any expatriate who needs his services.

    Chapter 3 is narrating the reminiscences of a long time expatriate worker from India, in course of which the total indifference and lack of support from the highly official dignitaries of any country whose people are working in another country are thrown light into. More than the comfort and conveniences for the people earn and send lots and lots foreign exchange money to the concerned country, is simply forgotten by such officials who never turns a hand in order to provide their community with a good school with qualified staff etc.

    Chapter 4 describes the indomitable courage and faith shown by one patient and another patient’s family, without ever complaining or challenging the ways of Allah or the Supreme God, whatever be the name we call him.

    Chapter 5 delineates the bliss that an Indian father enjoys every month after transferring the major part of his earning for the studies of his son in India. Isn’t every expatriate worker in any part of the world prone to be ecstatic when that month’s savings are smoothly transferred to the account in the mother country, for the welfare of the family? Any expatriate parent is ready to suffer anything and everything, including the exploitation by the employer on the ground that he might stay even if he is underpaid and the total indifference from the ‘official dignitaries’ to interfere and try to rectify such breach of contracts, simply for the sake of getting some easy money through his sweating it out at the work place.

    Chapter 6 vividly tells us the story of a Philippino Nurse who fell in love with and married a Libyan by name Muneer, but who died suddenly when their son Robert was still a child. The intricacies she had to face with in a foreign culture, all isolated and separated from her husband’s family members but her holding on to those relations as vital due to their son’s connection with them, are described in a very touchy way.

    In fine, the book sheds light on some of the basic common bonds which hold together all the expatriate workers from any part of the world and the most important one is the better prospects for the family at home. One doesn’t bother about tolerating any ignominies for the sake of this simple noble purpose of bettering the future at home. The book does provide with ample material for mental pabulum.

    Dr.Chiramel Paul Jose, PhD
    Department of English

    Saudi Arabia/March 15, 2013.

  3. Dear Jose,

    Thanks for your detailed review and synopsis of -In Transit at Dubai
    international–a window into the world of immigrant workers

    It will help readers gain further perspective.



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  6. Mohandas CB says:


    Prashant Bhatt has an eye for the revealing detail.

    This concern for particulars which mark the situations in which he finds himself, and the deep feeling he has for the humans he comes across, make this short work an engaging read. Five of the six essays that make up the volume are mostly about expatriate workers in the Arab North Africa; there are touching accounts of or references to North Africans like Hemmali El Bribash and Attabib Hesham as well, which are no less interesting.

    The opening essay introduces the terrain, setting the scene at the Dubai International Airport, a space that is crossed over by many expatriate workers. The author regards it as a learning zone, a realm where workers from different milieus can meet and chat casually, and understand things about themselves and others. In the apparently callous waiting areas of the airport, Bhatt listens to snippets of conversation, which point to tales of suffering, hope and also vanity.

    The second essay, “The Road to Misrata,” perhaps the most poignant one in the collection, revolves around Carl, an unknown Nigerian football player looking for a place in an advanced football league. The focus however, is not on Carl the footballer, but on Carl the humanitarian activist. The essay also touches on a different kind of migrant worker when it refers to names inscribed on stones in the war cemetery at Tripoli, names of soldiers who lost their lives in Libya in World War II, such as F Appleton, Kishan Dayal, and Sher Zaman. Gravestones, one is forced to note, are somewhat indifferent to colonial protocols.

    Emily, the healthcare professional who is the focus of the essay “Love at Shara Zawia” is different from all these: she is a Filipino who married Muneer, a Libyan Air Force pilot. Muneer died a few years after the marriage, leaving her virtually alone in the struggle, as their son, Robert was very young when it happened. At the time of writing Robert was studying in Manila. Like most expatriate workers, one of her major concerns was to support him.

    Even though the focus of the essays collected here is the expatriate worker, it is not confined to the area: the heroic faith in life that defines the characters of Hemmali and Attabib for instance, extends the theme of the book to a deeper dimension.

    It is not a heroism that is remarkable for its proportions, nor does it usually get written down in history. These little acts and stances are heroic nevertheless.

    Dr.Mohandas, Phd (English)

  7. Thanks Mohandas for your comments and also bringing out the point regarding the other type of Migrant- the soldiers who lost their lives in Libya in the service of Imperial war of World War II.

    They will live on in memories.

    Your inputs have been vital in shaping my perspectives regarding Subalterns. Their Heroism teaches us many things.

    Thanks for everything

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