For some reason -which could simply be that it’s nine in the morning and I have not slept yet-, I decided to share on my blog some lines of an email I wrote to a friend to answer the question:
What is my culture to my life?
Folk arts, traditional food that’s very nicely made, fascinating colorful clothes, remnants of the old city that’s now abandoned and only visited during an annual festival, bittersweet stories about the war Libyan Mujahids took against the Italian invasion until Libya’s independence was announced in December 1952, amusing songs little girls used to sing and lovable games played such as Om Al-Bel and Neggeza. Overall, a beautifully imagined past that I’ll never happen to be a part of so I cling on what remained of it, wishing I believed in all the fables I was told.
It’s really nice and humane to be connected to your past, to acknowledge your roots and make sense of your history!
But what is it like to be bonded to and burdened with that?
To be awakened to the fact that the past you once thought was perfect was actually as unbearable as your present is, to know that the little girls who sang beautiful songs back then were trying to kill time as they were not allowed to go to schools and get educated, and you see the fascinatingly colorful clothes hid under black sheets, and when you see death is real and is all around you, you realize that Jihad is a sugarcoated word that means Murder.
Maybe that’s one reason why I love traditional Libyan food so much, it still tastes as good as it has always did since I was a little child! Sometimes I come to think that I am a happy miserable person because my misery inspires me greatly. For example, I’ve made this painting a while ago in which I tried to describe my relationship with my culture, I named it “I levitate above everything and I see myself*”.
I think I should not publish posts on here without sleeping, but oh well…
*Quoted from The Saudi artist Tagreed Albagshi.