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FRANK SINATRA BRICK AUTHENTICATED BY METRO ONE UNCLE WHO WAS IN SINATRAS FIRST BAND CALLED THE HOBOKEN 4
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Sometimes a Picture Has Nothing to Do with the Story
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So today on my way to the gym during my lunch break, I saw a 1974, Datsun Sunny, crawling on the roads of Tripoli, Libya. With the new changes in the country, you see the number of status symbols, like Hummers and Cayennes increasing day by day. Its an oil rich country with only 3.5 millions of local population, 1.5 million foreigners and a land area that spreads around 2 million sqkms, 90 percent of which is part of the great Sahara desert. Owning a car is not a big problem with soft bank loans and running it is even easier, with the price of gas at 15 litres to a dollar in 2007.
But that's just a distraction from what I wanted to say. I wanted to explain the reason behind the longest smile of my day. This car was badly beaten. Had no bumpers. The lights were non existent. And I could not tell which color it was, as the rust had taken over most of the metal. In it, there was a black man on the driving seat. Four black children continuously kept jumping from seat to seat, demonstrating a scene of extreme happiness. The driver managing to keep the car going at a pace half the speed of other cars on the road, was continuously yelling and laughing at the children. I could see a lot of teeth being exhibited. The car had a registration plate with a blue tag, showing that he belonged to some other country and was not a Libyan. Many poor neighboring countries came to my mind, Bolivia, Sudan, Sierra Leone, Mali, Niger, Chad, Ghana, Burkina Faso, Togo, Somalia, Ethiopia, Benin. I didnt know most of these names till I came to Libya. To the rest of the world, they were not as important as the United States, or the United Kingdom or France or Germany.
I wondered how he got here. Many of them cross the burning desert illegally to enter the oil rich country in search of a better livelihood. In Latin, aprica means sunny and in Greek, aphrike means without cold and horror. Afryka is the continent longest inhabited by humans and probably all humans started from somewhere in the south of the Sahara. Evidence of human occupation is believed to exist 7 million years ago. I say, we owe a lot to these migrations. We should be thankful, isnt it. I wonder when will the world learn and stop calling a migration, any migration, illegal.
I guess I have started complaining again. I do not want to complain in this story. I want to believe that there is nothing to complain anymore. All the kids had clean braided hair, were neatly dressed, and had very shiny skins. They must have been prepared for this ride. Two four year olds were continuously kissing and hugging each other in the back seat. The kid on the front seat was in the state of a shock, wide eyes, stiff neck, clutching the seat with both hands. Fourth one had his arms around the man's neck. In a world, where car is the foremost item of desire after a cell phone, this man really seemed extremely poor. He could not afford to own "a" car. He could not afford "this" car even. A car like his was of no value in many areas of the world. It would actually be a burden to keep it running. Its maintenance would be more expensive than of a new car. The rules and regulations would want you to drive it to the nearest junk yard or call a tow truck and pay for getting rid of it. Just passing by his car at a speed more than double his pace, I could not help noticing this "black man's car", and a glance brought a smile on my face and I kept smiling till I got home, six minutes later. The sweet happiness that was emanating from that rusty junk had touched me also.
That was a long smile, considering how rare smiles are now a days.
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little ukraine: 1st Aug 2007 - 13:46 GMT
"Many of them cross the burning desert illegally to enter the [oil] rich country in search of a better livelihood."
it really is amazing how this statement (particularly if you remove the word 'oil')could apply to so many places, at so many times. the plight of the immigrant hasn't changed in centuries, and people continue to act as if it is a new phenomenon. Maybe that is how they justify their behavior, maybe it is their ignorance. thanks for the story.
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