Why Libya Commemorates the 'Black Day'

Like lots of the peoples of the Third World, the people of Libya have suffered and are still suffering great injustices from the Western powers. The history of the Libyan people is a history of blood, tears and broken bones.

The people of Libya have been terrorised and victimised for many decades by the various European powers. They are still being terrorised.

With the tacit approval of the British and French governments, Italy declared war on Libya on September 12, 1911, under the excuse that the Ottoman Turks - who were then ruling Libya were subject to insults and maltreatment for which they were in danger!

On September 17, 1911, the Italians invaded Tripoli and Benghazi. The Italians expected that their invasion of Libya would be easily accomplished. But, to their horror, their aggression was courageously and strongly resisted by the Libyan people.

For 20 terrible years Arab Libyan resistance fighters and guerrillas fought against Italian fascists with sweat and blood. The courage of the Libyan martyrs was epitomised by Sheikh Omar al Mukhtar.

Italian Terrorism

The Italian aggression against Libya was extremely brutal. Thousands of innocent men, women and children were killed. Their homes were burnt down, their crops destroyed, their wells filled with cement, and copies of their Koran stepped upon. Many women were raped.

Thousands of other Libyans were detained in concentration camps in the hot desert. Their properties were confiscated. Thousands of others perished under the most repressive conditions.

"We proclaim to the people of Libya that, owing to the acts committed by the white Abadila tribe, namely secretly helping five fighting men to reach the rebel areas after having furnished them with arms and supplies, and in order to punish this tribe of 80 tents, all its old people, adults and children are to be removed to the Uqayla [concentration] camp, and their property to be confiscated, so that the tribe can serve as an example to anyone who might contemplate a similar act, as his punishment will be more severe."
- Decree of the Special Italian Tribunal

On October 26, 1911, the Italian fascist invaders shipped thousands of Libyan men, women and children to some small and remote Italian islands. It was a black day for Libya. To this very day, nobody knows about the fate of these human beings: how many have died and under what circumstances: how many still survive and where they are and how they are.

Up to this very day, the Italian authorities have refused to furnish the full list of these Libyan victims to the Government and People of Libya. Italy is continuing with its crimes against humanity.

"In September, 1930, security forces in the Birka district of Benghazi discovered that a citizen named Muhammed El-Haddad, a prominent Benghazi citizen and merchant, was cooperating with the rebels... Through him, supplies and weapons were reaching them. He offered the rebels hospitality and all the supplies they needed. On the day and time appointed, a special tribunal was convened and sentenced the father and son to death by hanging in the middle of his estates and right in front of the masses. These latter were made to attend the execution by the Italian authorities"....
- Italian General Graziani

Furthermore, the Italians, during their years of terrorism in Libya, had laid about 170,000 landmines all over Libya. These landmines have killed and are continuing to kill many Libyans. Italy has refused to furnish maps showing where these landmines were laid.

This is the true measure and colour of human rights in the Italian 'civilization'.

When Benito Mussolini, the Italian fascist dictator, was carrying on his terrorism against the Libyan people, he was highly praised by British, French and American politicians, business leaders and the press.

For instance, on a visit to Mussolini in 1927, Winston Churchill told journalists that Italian fascism "has rendered a service to the whole world." In 1933 American President Franklin Roosevelt himself termed Mussolini "that admirable Italian gentleman."

As Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi has said, "Italy perpetrated historical crimes against the peaceful Libyan Arab people, the people who did not know Italy, and who did not harbour any ill will against Italy. It was Italy that surprised the Libyans with its fleets and cannons, and attacked the Libyans in their homes, set up the gallows, killed thousands of martyrs, and acted unjustly and most aggressively."

He added: "An invasion without justification, and sacrifices without reason.... It is impossible that we forget 35 years of colonization, and it is impossible that we forget them, and we will never forget 700,000 martyrs... and those who were executed because they defended Libya."

Justice for Libya

By any humane and civilised standard it is only just and proper that Italy should (1) acknowledge its historical crimes against the people of Libya; (2) furnish all details about the thousands of Libyans forcibly exiled onto some Italian islands; (3) furnish maps showing where thousands of Italian landmines were laid in Libya; (4) pay full compensation to the families of all victims of Italian terrorism; and (5) return all historical treasures and artifacts stolen from Libya.

The international community should fully support such just demands of the Libyan people.

The people of the world should also condemn unreservedly the continuing terrorism against Libya by the American, British and French governments with regard to the highly unjust sanctions imposed on Libya since 1992 over spurious and slanderous charges over the Lockerbie and UTA air crashes. These charges are blatant lies.

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