Libya, Not Always ‘Miya Miya’

October 7, 2011

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. dictatorship (n.) [dik-tey-ter-ship, dik-tey-] –the form of government in which absolute power is exercised by a single leader called a dictator
Example: People do not feel free to express their opinions under a dictatorship.
2. correspondent (n.) [kawr-uh-spon-duhnt, kor-] – a person employed by a news agency, periodical, or television network who regularly gathers, reports, or contribute news articles from a distant place
Example: The correspondent was assigned to report news about what’s happening in Egypt.
3. besieged (adj.) [bih-seej] – to be surrounded usually with military or armed forces
Example: The besieged town was no longer safe for the residents.

4. civilian (n.) [si-vil-yuhn] – a person who is not in the military
Example: The soldiers made sure that no civilians were harmed during the battle.

5. flee (v.) [flee] – to run away from something (usually from danger)
Example: The robbers flee before the police can catch them.

Read the text below.

The expression "miya miya" in Libya literally means "100%, 100%" or “things are okay, fine, great or cool."

However, after the recent revolution to overthrow Muammar Gadhafi's dictatorship in the country, journalists find the situation in Libya quite the opposite of "miya miya." But according to CNN correspondent Jill Dougherty, even when things are not exactly "fine," many Libyans still use the phrase “miya miya.”

Dougherty personally experienced how Libyans downplay this term. In the besieged town of Bani Walid, Dougherty and other journalists met civilians in private cars passing through the checkpoint to flee the fighting. When the journalists asked how the situation was, they responded "miya miya."

Yet their eyes showed the opposite, says Dougherty. With food and water shortage, no electricity, and shells of explosives falling on their houses, things cannot possibly be "miya miya."

Meanwhile, CNN producer Raja Razek encountered the expression as soon as the rebels entered Tripoli, the Libyan capital. At this time, Gadhafi's supporters were retreating to regroup. When Razek's crew asked a rebel about the situation ahead, the rebel responded, "It's not completely miya miya." Razek's crew then turned their vehicle around. Anything other than "miya miya" means bad.   

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

·         Do you think being a journalist is a dangerous job? Please explain your answer.
·         Have you ever thought of becoming a journalist?

Discussion B

·         Do you think dictatorial governments should no longer exist? Explain your answer.
·         How do you find the type of government in your country?

October 7, 2011