They used to refer to “Martyr Omar Al-Mukhtar” as “the Ruler of the Night”. Because during the rebellion years, the dominance of the Italians was limited during the daytime. As for the rebels; they had the freedom to act at their will throughout the night. Omar Al-Mukhtar fought against the colonists for 30 years. First against the French, who wanted to invade southern Libya, and after 1911, against the Italians. The “Libyan resistance” is a part of our history. Many distinguished Ottoman officers, including “Mustafa Kemal Pasha”, fought shoulder to shoulder with Senusi fighters in Tripoli against Italians.
Seyyid Ahmet Şerif Es Senusi, the leader of the Senusis, supported the national struggle in Anatolia by visiting every part of Anatolia and calling out to the public to support the national struggle. This saintly man had sacrificed his future for the sake of Ottomans and Turkey. An individual he met in Mecca asked Sheik Senusi why he fought against Brits, French and Italians during the WW I, in the Egypt, Libya and Chad triangle. Because Brits had extended an olive branch to Sheik Senusi to come to terms with him. Ahmet Şerif Es-Senusi was the most known religious leaders of the Islam world, and, many people wanted to see him as the “Islam Caliphate”. He answered that individual as follows:
“What else could I have done when the Islam Caliphate asked for my help? Was I right? Or did I act stupidly? However, as long as a person listens to their conscience, who else other than Allah can say whether he acted cleverly or stupidly?”
Unfortunately, there are not many studies related with “Senusi resistance” that had been translated in Turkish or conducted in Turkey. On the other hand, our knowledge on “Africa” is quite limited. Although, there should’ve been hundreds of compilations and thousands of articles on that matter. You cannot produce healthy policies in a continent you don’t know sufficiently.
As for the Italian community, they only know of the happenings in Libya that had passed from the fascist Mussolini administration’s filter. Omar Al-Mukhtar’s interrogation protocols had been kept a secret from the Italian community for many years. As for the “Italian Africa Ministry” archives; they only opened their doors to a limited number of researchers. One of the best sources related with the Libyan resistance was the book written by Enzo Santarelli, Giorgio Rochat, Roman Rainero and Luigi Goglia, entitled “Omar Al-Mukhtar: Italian Re-conquest of Libya”, which had been published in London on 1986. This book has recently been translated to Turkish by “Ekin Publications”. Italian writers managed to reach some archive documents.
Omar Al-Mukhtar had fallen captive as a result of an armed conflict in 1931. According to the Italian press, Omar Al-Mukhtar had surrendered himself and prayed “eman”. In the official documents acquired, it’s clearly revealed that Omar Al-Mukhtar had fallen captive after fighting back. Writers admit that Westerner colonist powers had seen Muslims as the greatest obstacle between them and Africa. We understand that the Catholic Christianity became the tool for colonialism from the following sentences:
“During the Libyan wars, we have to take the Catholic-rooted “missionaries” and “Crusader” spirit, which fed the Italian nationalism and colonialism, into consideration. This frame of mind, which influences the attitudes of the bottom and middle class’ attitudes, had been organized by a part of the media during that time and then later on.”
By translating this work into Turkish, “Ekin Publications” has filled an important gap. This is a key to understanding the struggle given in Africa against colonialism, and, the happenings today. History is a constantly repeating process, and, with each new piece of information, our horizons expand even further.