Monday, July 4, 2011


My father was twelve years old on September 1st, 1969. He woke up and turned on the radio to hear military music. My father asked his own father what was wrong.

He doesn't say this when he tells the story, but I imagine my grandfather's spine straightening under the weight of heavy future. I imagine the room being thick with cigarette smoke and morning light, the remnants of breakfast, olive pits and scraps of bread, strewn at their feet. I imagine my father, younger than my brain can fathom, looking up to his own father for guidance, explanation. I imagine my grandfather's eyes as heavy, tired things.

This is the scene I set in my mind when my father tells the story. When he gets to the part where my grandfather says, "The government has been overthrown. Libya will never see the light again."