Sunday, August 05, 2007

Second generation Issue

Yesterday I had phone from my friend, who is living in Manchester, it was as usual about Libya, we had long debate on the phone about one hot issue related to the Libyan second generation who born and rise here in uk, my friend living here since 1990 and he has 3 children the eldest 11 and the youngest is 6, he is working as engineer in respected company, yesterday he phoned and told me I need your advice, his question was I need to go back Libya for good what is ur for advice me? I told him it's depend in his reasons and situation, which I was totally sure it's related to his children, which he replied and told me listen I need my children to be pure Libyan, I don’t want let them face conflict in the future about their identity, are they British or are they Libyan, to be honest all my friends here who have families they face this problem, all of them they suffer from this point, and all of them start to think to go back to Libya or to another Arabic country (most preferred country is Emartes).my friend told me the first problem I face is that children communicate to each other in his house by English not by Arabic, he told me he never speak English with them he just speak Arabic, but it seems the children find it easy to communicate by English, last few month I visited my friend in London who have two adorable children I think they were 5 and 7 and he faces the same problem the amazing thing is that when the father ask them to do any thing, he ask them by Arabic but the kids replay by English which I founded very strange, how can brain of small kid can understand the question by language and replayed the answer by another, also this friend start to think to leave uk to another country just to maintain the identity of his children, last month I went to a Libyan wedding in Birmingham with my friend and his two sons, which I know them very good, they both speak good Arabic, actually their father use his power and some times he punishes them if they speak English in their house and he do his best to let them remember all the Quran and read it every day in the mosque just to maintain their Arabic language, these kids I never hear them speak English , but that day, their father just left them with me for 5 minutes to speak to another friend and immediately the kids start speak English to each other, which I was completely surprised, I asked them what happen u just speaking Arabic before seconds , why u speak English now, they told me it takes long time from them to express what they think or what they want if they speak by Arabic but in English it so easy.

These examples and others from people who I know they lift Canada just to maintain the Libyan identity for their kids, it seems to be big problems for the families who live here, actually I can not feel this problem some times I told my friend you make problem from nothing, but in the other hand after these kids grow up I think they will find difficulties to answer this question am I Libyan or British, Canadian or American, to which part of this world they belong to.

Actually I face some thing similar to this problem now, my father who is from Albida 200km east Benghazi, ask my younger brothers and sisters to move from Benghazi to Albida to tack care of our land and house there and to be near our roots, but he faces a big opposition of them, they told him how we can move to another place completely different, as you see these guys refuse to move to another city even it is in the same country, same language, same law, what about these guys who born here after they grow up, will they find it easy to move to Libya with different environment, different prospective, I think it is very complicated issue. What you think?

30 comments:

mani said...

Wow braveheart I have to say you posed the questions very clearly and the problem is evident...

or is it?

is it really a problem? why are we afraid of the new identity forming for our children abroad?? is it because we cannot comprehend nor know how to deal with its impact on our children and loved ones?

what does this really say about real Libyan, or even muslim identity at that and what it means for our children.. and more importantly our own?

are our 'children' better off in Libya??. or is it we who are better off because society will do what the parents cannot??

What does that say about the Arabic language still? is it truly dysfunctional in a world seeming to function best in English? is Suliman's claim then more or less accurate that the language is 'dead'? or is dead a feature of those who have ceased to make it relevant for their lives?

or should we just get them all to forget using the thinking faculty of the brain and just get the hell back home cause now they can get better paid jobs and live comfortably in Libya??

mani said...

I actually wanted to add a gender comment in there too. I have preceived a trend. Girls still living in families don't wanna go to libya 'forever' and especially girls that have the freedom of movement and work..

Libya will always remain some form of holiday home for them.. cause they know they cant realise a potential there..how can they when in a society where majority of graduates and hardworking students are the girls, yet the redundant and uneducated 'man' is domninant?

More importantly still perhaps.. is the issue of finding an appropriate husband that can at least accommodate the woman's well earned contribution to her family and community and support her rather than thwart her? the question of marriage is of major significance now.

salam

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Brave Heart,

Wow - nice post. Truly one to ponder and think on.

I have to wonder of these friends that pose the questions about what they should do-----should they move back to Libya. My thought would be “why did they leave Libya in the first place? What was their motive? What can they offer their children now? What are they ultimately afraid of? Are they afraid of losing their children? Are they afraid of not being unable to relate to them?” All real possibilities as was as probabilities because it's a natural progression of life for children to eventually break away from their parents to establish their own lives. This does not ultimately destroy the family or estrange it forever, but rather helps the children to move forward and establish their own identity, which is the way it is, suppose to be. I’m not certain why we tend to hold so strongly to labels as identities (i.e., Libyan, American, whatever a person’s job title, etc.). If we must label wouldn’t it be safe to say we are all God’s creations living on this planet?

I’ve had something similar happen in my own family, which I find extremely perplexing. My sister-in-law is originally from Mexico, and she and my brother have a son. My sister-in-law wanted my nephew to learn Spanish as well as English so she spoke/speaks to him in Spanish. When around others he’ll answer his mom in English, but when alone he’ll respond in Spanish (because he feels less shy to speak Spanish in private). Anyway, my mom had the biggest problem with this whole language scenario because she just knew my nephew was going to have problems in school because of all the “Spanish” speaking, which of course is absolutely not true. However, for the longest time it was hard to convince my mom’s fear otherwise. Personally, I think she was afraid that her own grandson and her wouldn’t be able to interact with one another if he didn’t speak English. Never thinking that perhaps she could learn Spanish to communicate with him, but I digress.

Unfortunately our own insecurities and fears are often subjected to the hands of our little ones which instills unwarranted fears into them. God helps us from continuing to do this. God help us to recognize these failings in ourselves that we can make a better example and life for our children.

EXCELLENT OBSERVATION BRAVE HEART – “I told my friend you make problem from nothing”. Moreover, their forcing could also cause a wedge between them and their children, which could in the end be a problem for them.

BTW – excellent points Mani. Dear brother I miss your writings terribly. Actually feel like a wilting flower from the lack of writings. (Is the guilt working?)

ibeebarbie said...

Salam Brave Heart,
Anything I can do with regards to your last of post regarding "desepration"?

Happymoi said...

we are influnced by the places we live in,they cant expect their kids to be pure libyans. I dont believe there exists such a thing even amongst libyans born and raised in libya let alone a libyan born and raised abroad. When we used to live abroad, the language we spoke was English at home that is and that was because my little siblings were not able to speak in arabic although they understood it relatively well. My parents although tried to speak in arabic they found it easier to speak in English as they would have to do lots of explanations if they didnt. The arabic language is not dead, it is just that when you are continuously surrounded by one language it is easier for you to use it, and express urself using it. Now its been three years since we have moved to Libya, and the whole family is speaking arabic, with a bit of English here and there, but arabic is used alot more then we used to speak it before, which just about proves the surrounding do affect you in more ways then one,esepcially ur langauge. I think an ideal thing wouldnt be protecing your kid's libyan identity, i think its more important to keep their faith, and that was my parents main concern all the time, and they mannaged to raise us that regardless where we move that faith is the most important thing in our life..so the question was always are we allowed to do this in Islam..rather then are we allowed to do this according to libyan rules...i think this way, the, their kids and etc will be the winners:)

dusk till dawn said...

hello Brave heart,
well done very very goods topic,when the parents are born in libya,lets just talk abt our back grounds,its become a great challenge for the them to how to control and raise the family kids as faith, lingo.to protected them known its a dark shadows out side the house and how they conect with freinds at school , and the effect on them frm the out side,kids some times feel very left behind and trying to break the rules,its difficult to make the rite decisions.u made apoint of ur grown up brothers how they live in benghazi,how the refused to move back.the b bottom line is is how u win their love and respect,motivate them and be there for them.do not apply presuure in a strange land, as u might lose them.be a parent and a freind in the same time .guide them as much as u can.i know its hard , i got freinds who face the same path,i think the best way is to send them to libya every summer holiday to find their roots,and be close to the same age as they are,the media here over shadows the facts,

Brave Heart said...

mani
i think u one of these guys, and u can explain to us more.
about girls need to get right person, i'm free and i can married 4, i think that is fair enough :-P
btw i didn't mean arabic is dead as suliman argued but my point exactly the same Happymoi explanation

Ibee
yea that exactly the same with parents here, they scar they wont communicated with their children in the future.
thanks for offering help

Happymoi
u r talent girl, u point the most important issue the surrounding does effect our language,habits and every thing. the main important thing is the faith u r right, i think u stole some from my wisdom :-P

dusk till dawn
welcome to my blog bro, the problem as u said is the communication with children is important, most of parents here they still thing by manging by power and the old style of relation between parents and children

Mr: Madi said...

Brave Heart

I like what you wrote about the identity of the children who born and grow up in Europe or North America, your topic deserve to discuss , you put your hand on most important issues that faces the Libyan immigrant and how they can make their kids able to come back to Libya again when the things be better than now.

I wrote something similar in my blog

Anonymous said...

Hi,
It's funny, I'm an Indian immigrant living in Canada and actually I work for a radio show that deals with exactly these sorts of issues. i.e. what happens when various cultures and cultural identities clash. I was wondering if you knew people here in Canada where the parents are unhappy with the kids' decision to speak English. Or where the parents want to take their kids back to their country of origin to spare them the problems of a mixed identity.
You can contact me via email geeta.nadkarni@cbc.ca
The only thing is that they have to be in Canada right now and of course, willing to talk to us in English.
Thanks so much. And thanks for raising such an important issue.

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