The clandestine manifesto of the Cyrenaican resistance celebrating the first anniversary of the execution of Omar al-Mukhtar (September 1932)

Enzo Santarelli et al., Omar al-Mukhtar: The Italian Reconquest of Libya (London: Darf Publishers LTD, 1986), translated by John Gilbert, pp. 167-169:

While official Fascist propaganda continued to exalt the pax romana established in Libya after the ‘liquidation’ of the rebellion, a noteworthy event was the silent reply of the Cyrenaican resistance movement in circulating, clandestinely, its manifesto on the occasion of the first anniversary of the death of the man now recognized as a Libyan national hero. This secret manifesto is reproduced in the present book for the first time from the original version luckily found in the colonial archives; as translated here, it strikes us as being an important political message in memory of the hero of the Green Mountain.

The commemoration of Omar al-Mukhtar, martyr of the Arab nation

On this day in the year 1931 (16 September) the brave warrior and hero Omar al-Muktar was condemned to death.

On that day the tyrannical Fascist power struck down that eminent old man, that great fighter, and condemned him to death, without any consideration of his age or for his reputation in the heads of Moslems.

On that day the Fascists added to their history, full of abuse and injustice, a black page to cover this their greatest victory.

Neither history nor the writings of the ancients tell us that a prisoner captured on the field of battle, over eighty years old, has ever been condemned to death. This could only happen in Fascist times, to make the world forget the injustices of even darker ages.

We celebrate the memory of that man on this day, with great sorrow yet with love for that hero who with his sword wrote verses of courage and self-denial in the history of the Arab nation, that man who fought magnificently for the defense of his country.

Omar al-Mukhtar fought for twenty years against the armies of colonization, without ever fearing death and without any fear of the infernal instruments of his enemy, up to the time when, after his horse fell on the field of battle, he was taken prisoner by his oppressors.

How shameful is that crime which makes anyone blush, that crime repudiated even by the most ferocious animals.

History and humanity are innocent of that bestial deed. committed by the Fascists who even say they are civilized people.

We shall never forget that brutal and atrocious deed which makes our hearts bleed and pierces our breasts.

The Fascists believed that the condemnation of Omar al-Mukhtar to death would make it easier for them to occupy the country, but unfortunately for them the souls of the martyrs are an eternal flame which inspires the national spirit in the hearts of the people still living.

The martyr of the Tripoli-Barce nation is not dead, for he has left his people with an immortal monument of heroism which will be inherited by future generations.

This sad monument, built by the Fascist assassins’ hands will remain for ever and will never be forgotten because it has left mortal wounds in our hearts.

Woe to those oppressors who do not respect the age, the courage and the incomparable heroism of Omar al-Mukhtar: but they cannot understand the significance of this quality.

The years cannot wipe out the horror of this crime, which struck the heart of all Arabs, and which will always remain as a stain on their history, washed as it is in the blood of innocents, of women, of mean, of the aged and of children.

People of Tripoli and Barce!

Always remember that day when the greatest of misfortunes occurred.

You must always retain this memory so as to learn a lesson that will serve you in the future to tell you how to avenge yourselves for your martyrs.

In that memory there is a lesson that will encourage and bring about the vengeance on those who have colonized your country and who have deprived you of your rights and who have killed and driven far away many of your men.

On this day we ask the Arab nation and its patriots to join with us in grief and sadness for the misfortune that we commemorate today.

Omar al-Mukhtar was not only the martyr of the Tripoli-Barce people, but he was the martyr of the whole Arab nation. The lessons of heroism and courage that he gave the Fascist armies do honor to all Arabs, because the Arab people are like one body united in their griefs and joys, and this truth should be known to westerners, who should know that we are united. This memory should not be forgotten, it must be kept in your hearts until the day when the fascists have to account to the Arab nation for this assassination, unheard of in the history of the world.

Arabs!

Always remember our martyr who was condemned to death after being taken prisoner. Remember that hero who raised the banner of Arabism and who renewed the glory of your glorious fathers.

Remember and always celebrate this day so as to let the Fascists know that you are not asleep and that you are a unified nation which rejects the scorn of the colonizers.

And you Fascists, Blackshirts!

We await a day when you have to render account, and that day we see to be close, whereas you believe it to be far-off; on that day we shall ask the price of the blood of Omar al-Mukhtar and of our noble heroes.

Injustice is short-lived, where reason is strong, and the oppressors will not escape their destiny.

 

 

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