Friday March 7, 2014
The Lion of Libya: Omar Mukhtar, Launched Resistance of Italy's Colonial Invasion 100 Years AgoTim King Salem-News.com
Haliburton said that "Libyan operations are expected to make a positive contribution in 2112" - BBC
(SALEM, Ore.) -
We had video of the brutalizing of Col. Gaddafi published very early; gunshots are heard, and then the camera shows the national leader's lifeless body. At the time of this writing a Portland, Oregon news anchor stated "it is not clear if Col Gadaffi was executed or killed in crossfire" and it seems like such an insult to our intelligence.
Italy ruthlessly attacked and invaded Libya exactly one hundred years ago, in October 1911. It's leaders were trying to rekindle some kind of perceived greatness that to them, was symbolic of the supposed glory of the Roman Empire. Instead it was met with resistance and the fierce, educated man who history remembers as Lion of the Desert - Omar Mukhtar.
I first came to understand the importance of this man after our writer Kiflu Hussain filed the story Benghazi; Libyans in Rebellion Mood in the Spirit of Omar Mukhtar, from Uganda.
The more I discover, the more it seems reasonable to conclude that Italy's bitter hostile takeover of Libya, a violent colonial conquest executed at a time when western countries still believed they could simply take existing countries by force to stimulate their economies and expand their regional 'claims' without diplomacy or humanity, is the root of the problem. Nations destabilized by brutal force have much larger challenges than those that are not.
Omar Mukhtar (Arabic: عمر المختار Omar Al-Mukhtār) was born in 1862, in the small village of Janzour, near Tobruk in eastern Barqa (Cyrenaica) in Libya. For almost two decades he organized and led the native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya.
The Italian attack in 1911 drove the Turks and their Libyan allies to the countryside where they formed a resistance movement and refused to surrender. The Italians bombarded the city for three days, then stated that the Tripolitanians were "committed and strongly bound to Italy."
This marked the beginning of a long conflict between the Italian colonial forces and the Libyan armed opposition led by Omar Mukhtar whose network of fighters provided a stiff and unexpected resistance that was not anticipated by the fascists.
In order to bring Mukhtar down, Italy's leaders including Benito Mussolini, launched a plan to break Cyrenian resistance.
On orders from Rome, occupational soldiers forced a mass relocation of Gebel's hundred-thousand residents; they were moved into concentration camps on the coast and along the Libyan-Egyptian border. This, years before Hitler's Genocide of Europe. The population being cleared out meant that the coast at Giarabub would remain closed, cutting off any foreign aid to resistance fighters, depriving them of support from the native population.
The measures put into place early in 1931 took their toll on the resistance. Deprived of help and reinforcements, Mukhtar's forces were spied upon, attacked by Italian aircraft, and pursued on the ground by the Italian forces aided by local informers and collaborators, as Wikipedia explains.
While the Colonizing Italians would eventually capture and hang Mukhtar, it didn't happen until 1931, when he was 70-years old. In his vivacious lifetime, he harassed and outsmarted his enemies to no end.
He fought valiantly, wisely and ferociously, and of course, was considered a terrorist by the Italian occupational authorities. This is the same fascist government of Italy that went on to be Germany's closest ally in WWII.
Wikipedia explains that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi wore a photo of Omar Mukhtar hanging on his chest during a state visit to Rome in 2009, and he also brought Mukhtar's elderly son along for the visit. It is interesting that a man who was recognized by western governments with legitimacy for so long, would approvingly be murdered in the streets by a band of thugs.
I know people are cheering and letting their bloodlust rise to the top, they should just be glad that they aren't in the gun-sight of some American, French or British plane. Men like Omar Mukhtar fought against this exact type of military tyranny from foreign military forces that inflict indiscriminate collateral damage in violent political/military power grabs.
At the onset of the Libyan uprising on 17 February 2011, the Lion of the Desert Omar Mukhtar, once again became a symbol for a united, free Libya; one free of the greedy needs and wants of warring western nations. The tie to this hero was not unique to the pro-Gaddafi government forces, Libya's NATO-backed rebels also celebrated Mukhtar, and in his honor, the "Omar Mukhtar brigade" was named.
Those who cheer war should thank God that their home isn't in the range of a deadly neighborhood-destroying bomb, and that they were not born in a place deemed worthy of destruction and slaughter.
It's pretty backward of western people to applaud and excuse the targeted murder of world leaders by armed crowds, and the justification is flawed, since the only thing the United States has clearly shown the world is that it is really capable of, is shooting first and asking questions later, maybe. It's mostly just shooting that you can count on.
The same Italian government that colonized Libyans, placed them in concentration camps, and ultimately killed their highly respected leader, went on to rule people under the thumb of fascism and were defeated by resistance fighters, just as they were in Spain.
The problems of the world today were created by colonizing European governments that subjected people to apartheid laws and downplayed the roles of indigenous people. Shall we not look back at this time as the root of the problems we are seeing today? Only if your eyes are open.
Benghazi; Libyans in Rebellion Mood in the Spirit of Omar Mukhtar - Kiflu Hussain Salem-News.com
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