Saturday, September 3, 2011

TGIF: Dictators Beware

It’s not just because Friday is the day Muslims attend the mosque that makes it important. It has taken on new significance: Friday is the day huge events happen. Minimally, strikes and protests increase in intensity on Fridays and recently, it has become the day of revolution in the Arab world. In Tunisia, Ben Ali fled after a general strike on Jan. 14th—a Friday. In Egypt, Mubarak stepped down on Feb. 25th—a Friday, and in Libya, Tripoli rose up on Aug. 19th—a Friday, and was liberated the next day.
         Needless to say, I have been glued to either the TV screen or the computer screen and sometimes both at the same time for the past several weeks. Because of Libya’s proximity to Tunisia and the effect the Libyan revolution has had on Tunisia at economic and humanitarian levels, I have closely followed the news from Libya for the last six months as the revolution gained steam. I do not mean to be trite when I say that this has played out like J.R.R. Tolkien’s (and Peter Jackson’s) Lord of the Rings, with battles of epic proportions and with good people, ordinary people, standing up against profound evil. Tolkien, after all, wrote the trilogy during a period of extreme world violence (WWII). However, the LOR analogy allows me to point out one major difference. Victory has not depended on one person or a small group of heroes.  The hero of the Libyan revolution is “the people,” and especially the Libyan youth.
         After 42 years, the Libyan people stood up and said “No! No more fear.” They have paid a terrible price, for what family has not been touched by tragedy? The number of deaths remains unknown—probably in the tens of thousands for a small population of six and a half million. Equally disturbing are the stories coming out about Gaddafi’s massive campaigns of arbitrary kidnapping, coercion, brutal torture, and executions. Unfortunately, an old torture was refined, which I will call “institutionalized gang rape.” Gaddafi’s dead soldiers were found again and again with Viagra in their pockets and POWs have confessed to being ordered to participate in such atrocities against girls and women. Once Libyans understood the punishment, villages and towns emptied as men sent their women and children to safer areas, especially to Tunisia, which took in approximately 900,000 refugees. And to give an idea of the magnitude of arbitrary punishment: An estimated 60,000 prisoners were held in death camps or disappeared in Tripoli, while the general population suffered electricity blackouts, shortages of water, food and fuel (no way to cook and nothing to eat anyway), and loss of property—all this when temperatures shot up over 100 F. (40 C.).
How can one not be affected? Already I have four pieces on the drawing board, or more accurately, boiling in my head. One I have finished.
Revolution 2011: Order and Disorder (41.5"x46", 105cmx117cm). I previously showed this as a work in progress (as in, a ten-year WIP), but I knew it had to be completed for the occasion of the liberation of Tripoli. To celebrate the victory of good over evil.  
The central panel is by hand, done with needle-turn appliqué. The  outer squares (top and right) represent an order that disintigrates into disorder, yet there is a flow, there is hope. However, the black borders represent rupture and the possibility of chaos. The green and blue fabrics of the arc behind the maze are frayed suggesting an unraveling of society, of stability, of things we take for granted.

Unfortunately, Gaddafi, wanted for crimes against humanity by the ICC (International Criminal Court), has not been caught yet. The power of his billions of dollars (stolen from the people of Libya) would allow him to cause further trouble and chaos in the region. We pray that he will soon be apprehended to face trial.

I salute the people of Libya for their courage, their sacrifices, and their steadfastness, and for their faith in God and humanity.

And say a prayer next Friday for all those battling tyranny.

23 comments:

Connie Rose said...

What an awesome piece, in all ways. Blessings to you!

Els said...

With aal of the story spread out (again) this piece gets a whole new meaning.
But, as before : I love it !!!

Have a good weekend Nadia

fiberchick said...

Extraordinary post on all counts...

aracne said...

Your work is a real piece of art not only for the skill and techniques used to make it, but also (even more) for the concept behind it.
Great post, thank you.

Robin Kent said...

Interesting how stress and sadness can be an inspiration for creativity. Love that trait about art. Your work is beautiful, even if I didn't know the back story.

susan christensen said...

Thank you for illuminating your part of the world for us, and yes, I will be praying continually. Your piece conveys revolutionary emotion.

MosaicMagpie said...

What a well written post. We often don't hear the whole story on our news reports. To read it from your point of view adds so much to the little we hear. Your 10 year work in progress speaks volumes, after reading this post. Your symbolism is expressed in such a great visual way. The needleturn appliqued part is beautiful.
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Deb

nandas said...

nadia, thank you for visiting and there by nudging me over here! i have been away from the computer for awhile. i am so glad i came. this story and art is so important. as the previous comment said, we don't get the details in our news. i am with you in praying that all goes well for "the people". your art though .... i wish it could be seen by more people. it is really stupendous. if you don't mind i will mention it on my blog.

quilteuseforever said...

Great post Nadia ! Please go here : http://quilteuseforever.wordpress.com/2011/09/04/orange-et-turquoise-expression-forte/

Hugs,
Katell

Norocel said...

Bonjour Nadia, Votre blog est magnifique! J'adore vos quilts , votre joli atelier et vos pots de fleurs en mosaïque "picassiette"!
Merci pour vos commentaires sur mon blog
Smaranda

Pat said...

This is a fabulous piece. I'm so glad to have found it and you!

Annie said...

Amazing quilt - inspired by passion

Exuberant Color said...

Your work is beautiful!

Joan said...

Hi Nadia
I love your quilt the colours a superb. Thank you for your kind words on my blog. Best Wishes Jona ((*_*))

karen said...

definitely hurray for the people of Libya....

Evy said...

In any dramatic event remains the hope and your creative symbolization is a wonderful illustration!
Prayers in all those who suffer on Earth

Bonne journée Nadia

K. Crane: Big Fat Art Cloth said...

Nadia the colors are beautiful and bright. I got your comment on the Big Fat Art Cloth blog so thanks! I agree with Evy's comments. K.

Quiltjane said...

Exquisit art quilt. I shall be praying on Friday (and Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday).

Kahna said...

Your youngest granddaughter says "Wow! C'est tres tres beau!" and I, your daughter, say aussi, tres tres beau, felicitations! I doubt if prayers will do much good, but forever still has faith in them achieving something, good for them! Perhaps what you have proven, is how destruction can give birth to reconstruction in a very artistic manner. Keep up the beautiful work! I have YET to put your quilt up in my office! Yikes!

Magpie Sue said...

I'm so glad *someone* can make speaking pieces of fiber art. I find I get so wrapped up in events like this that I'm unable to translate my feelings adequately into visual art. I pray nearly every night that Gaddafi will be caught and made to pay for his crimes - however inadequate that payment can be.

Mary Keasler said...

The people of Libya and Tunisia will continue to be in my positive thoughts on a daily basis. Thank you for sharing your story and life in your part of the world. Your art leaves me speechless. I thrilled that we have discovered one another. I am honored to "know" you and will continue to follow your journey.

Mary Zeran said...

Gorgeous quilt and thank you so much for explaining how things work. It is sometimes hard to understand all the details here in the US.

Out Of This World said...

Hello Nadia

This piece is wonderful, the amount of work you have put into this is stunning. Lovely to meet a fellow beekeeper, thanks for visiting my blog, I have really enjoyed reading yours.
Kindest Regards
Jacqui