Sunday, March 12, 2006

Happy Birthday, Suliman!

Born in Mesrata, Libya, March 12 (not really,) 1960.

Happy Birthday!


  1. Happy Birthday, man! Hanu, back home, the 12th. of March was a big to-do. It may have been before your time, but it was a special day on the calendar. All I can remember now is the candy and fireworks display...Suliman doesn't look a day over 35, eh? Nikki & Nick wish you had a fantastic Birth day, many more to come.

  2. Thanks, Tipoline, Nikki and Nick.

    The 12th of March was the B-day of King Idris, and that might explain how I got that b-day. I was not registered at birth, and in fact remained unregistered till 6th grade. I had started school at 4 1/2 years with nothing more than my grandfather's word that I was ready (grandpa Suliman was the Imam of Ras Ali tribe, so his word constituted an affidavit.) I still remember first day of school at the Western Yiddir Elementary School (Yiddir was the tribe neighboring Ras Ali.) I went with my grandfather, sister Amna, and two borthers. One of the teachers decided to mess with my head by telling me they had to measure my arm against the Reading book of first grade, and if my arm was as long as the book, then I would be accepted. The edge of the book reached just a hair past my wrist, but I was in and thrilled to be accepted!

    At 6th grade, in my time, we had national final exams, and you had to register for those with birth certificates and pictures and various other documents. When Dad went to Misrata to get my birth certificate, he discovered that there was no record of my birth! When he told them when I was born, they simply refused the notion that I could be so young and in 6th grade. So, they decided to write me up as a 1959 birth, and they picked the King's B-day so no one would ask any questions, I guess. Strangely enough, I never got squat for that birthday from the government. But, after the king was ousted in 1969, we continued to get notebooks at school with the (defunct) Kingdom's holidays printed on the back cover. I used to cross out the name of King Idris and write mine in its place. That was the extent of my perks. It is funny, but sixt grade was a year of change in my class. At least two of my classmates changed their last name that year, I suppose because of similar discoveries when their parents went for their birth records. Khaled Abubaker Sabra became Khaled al-Sahli, and Ali Ramadan al-Forjani became Ali bin Tahir, and they stayed that way all through high school.

    In 1993, I went to Ras Ali and researched the date of my birth. I had alwys been told that my birth party (قصعة‮ ‬الحفرة) was held at the same time as a neighbor's week-old party, and that he was actually 7-10 days old. I got his papers, and he was born April 17th, 1960. Also, I was told when my oldest sister got married, I was 1 year and 8 months old. I checked the records, and she was married in Dec. 1961. It all checks. My REAL birthdate was somewhere between 24 and 27 April, 1960. But we go with my royal date because it is "official".

    By the way, you're absolutely right when you say I don't look a day over 35. That picture is about 10 years old! lol lol lol

  3. Happy B'day!!
    Classic Libyan Passport Photo - LoL.


  4. Hey, thanks, Moody. Yes, it is a pretty official looking picture, taken for (and at) work, in fact.

  5. Ok, now that Nikki & I stopped laughing; your story reminded me of another one, very similar, but with almost dire consequences for my friend, Jamal.

    Jamal looked way too young for his age. Four years before he was born, his mother had given birth to a baby boy, they named Jamal, who perished only two weeks after he had been registered. When my friend Jamal was born, four years later, he didn't get registered. Well, since the father never bothered to register his other son's death, to begin with, he figured that he could save himself the trip to the registry office of Zouara by calling this newborn, Jamal!

    Everything went fine from then on, until the army draft kicked-in and the very young Jamal found himself on the list of draftees, then shortly after, on the list of draft dodgers! He said that it took him 3 years to prove his age and to explain the mix up to the draft office, but by then, he was old enough to be drafted.