Double Shafra Culture


I’ve chosen to reblog the below article written by an aspiring leader from Benghazi. The young Libyan writer, who is currently prevented from graduating because her university is a ‘smoldering pile of ash’, writes about the differences between ‘double shafras’ and ‘single shafras’, that is, Libyan’s who have returned to their country from abroad and those who never left.

I live in Vietnam where similar differences can be experienced between the local Vietnamese and the Việt Kiều (or ‘returned Vietnamese’). As a Westerner living in Vietnam and being neither Việt Kiều nor Vietnamese I can see how, like the Libyan shafras and double shafras, each tends to get on the others nerves and blame games can commence. I hope you find the post as informative as I have.

photo credit: HTC Desire 825 via photopin (license)

Brave New Libya

Double Shafra (arabic: دبل شفرة, translation: two cards| (noun) 

1. A cell-phone that can hold two sim cards

2. A Libyan with a second passport

There is a large Libyan diaspora community, disproportionately sizable compared to our national population. Many people were forced to flee under the Gadhafi regime, many who left for a chance at a better life, many who went on a scholarship program and many who, recently, had to leave the country due to the latest circumstances of the war.

There’s never been a very amiable relationship between regular, or ‘single shafra’ Libyans and double shafras. Before the revolution, this was due to the inherent cultural differences between the two. Double shafras are third culture kids, who grew up between places and don’t really fit in anywhere. Some would vacation in Libya while others had never seen the country before, and Libyan culture and Libyan…

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