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By Fokkelien Spaander

The recurring problem of what to write about in the editorial now has another constraint upon it: what to write about so we don’t offend anybody. A few weeks ago, Tony’s editorial on language barriers was misunderstood by some and led to a few nasty comments on our Facebook page and last week’s editorial from Emma was criticised on the Expat Blog Forum.

Everyone is entitled to his/her own opinion and we welcome comments, positive as well as negative, but some comments have left me puzzled. If I understood the comments on the Expat Blog Forum correctly (and I was unsure what some of them really meant) our editorials give the impression that we are some kind of ‘super expats’ who are overly positive and view our life in Libya as one big cultural experience.

According to our friend on the Expat Blog Forum we ‘delude ourselves into thinking that it actually is wonderful living and working in Libya’ while he feels life here ‘sucks’.  Believe me, we are aware that sometimes we may sound a bit too positive for everyone’s liking, but we are guests in this country and don’t want to be rude or too judgmental to our hosts. Sure enough there are days when we all get fed up, but I have had plenty of those in my home country too. Should I write about the bad days in the editorial? No, because there are more days on which I think life in Libya is good.

Not writing explicitly about the negative aspects doesn’t imply they don’t exist and has nothing to do with ‘mishandling’ the problems or ensuring our weak and sheltered psyche doesn't have to wrestle with the reality’. Our mission is to help expats make the most of their time in Libya; it cannot aspire to more than that. We have chosen to be polite to our hosts and to highlight the positive aspects of living and working in Libya. I’m sorry if that is seen as ‘wasteful’ by some, but personally I think it is more wasteful to be negative.

So ending on a positive note (sorry!), we are happy that our website seems to be looked upon favourably by most people. I think what we should do now is take some advice from our friend and ‘flaunt about it over Martinis and bacon-wrapped pastries’.  Or shall I rewrite this editorial to rant and rave about how terrible it is that alcohol and bacon are not allowed in Libya? No, I won’t. I will take the lack of alcohol and pork meat in my stride as part of the cultural experience of living in Libya.

Have a nice week,




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Sunday 30th January 2011