Wednesday, February 28, 2007


A great story in a small book written by Fathi Ali Saahli of CARMINE IORIO GIUSEPPE.
Carmine Iorio was born to a Christian family in Naples, Italy in 1883. When he was a teenager he had a dream troubling him many nights and told his mother who called the village priest. He told the priest that he dreamt that he saw himself at the edge of a mountain and being transformed into a great bird, and when he was ready to fly a great serpent jumped at him and while he was struggling with the serpent he woke up. The priest told him not to worry, that at sometime in his future he would become something else and his struggle with the serpent is the eternal struggle between good and evil.
In 1901 he joined the Italian army and specialized in small arms maintenance and repair. On 15 October, 1911, he was a sergeant and a member of the marine force of 15,000 strong directed to occupy the City of Derna in eastern Libya. After ten days of bombardment and failed landings, the defending force of 3500 Turk and Arab soldiers were finally defeated and the Italians occupied the Turkish garrison of the city and made it their own.
Count Trombi was then appointed as a governor and the garrison was strengthened by 1500 soldiers and two battalions of Alpine Chasseurs.
Carmine Iorio became one of the soldiers in the Italian garrison of Derna. It seems that Carmine was very inquisitive of his new environment and wished to learn Arabic language and to understand the Quran. His battalion shared some of the vicious and heavy fighting against the Libyan Mujahedeen in January 1915 around Derna and near Martouba.
In 1916 Carmine made the great step of his life, he fled Derna garrison and delivered himself voluntary to the Mujahedeen in the outskirts of the Green Mountain. He was then taken to Al Fadeel Bu Omar الفضيل بو عمر one of Omar Mukhtar commanders where he declared his conversion to Islam and became known as Yousef El Musulmani يوسف المسلمانى .
Yousef became one of the free fighters of the land and a great help to the cause with his expertise in small arms and Italians tactics of war. He was present in the battles of Marsa Brega, Bir Bilal, Solug and many others. Omar Mukhtar made him a lieutenant and he married a girl from Kufra called Tibra Musa Al Majebri تبرة موسى المجبرى . He had two children, a boy called Mohamed محمد , and a girl called Aisha عائشة . His grandsons and granddaughters still live with us in their own home land.
His fantastic story ended abruptly when after twelve years and due to the betrayal of some traitors he was captured near Jialo oasis in 1928. As some high fascist officials were personally following up his case he was put to a quick trial on the spot , tried for high treason and given the verdict of capital punishment. He was then given the choice of converting back to his former religion and offered life instead, but he refused and willed only that his family –hidden then by his fellow Mujahedeen- to be left living peacefully with his fellow Moslems.
Historical eyewitnesses say that he stood gallantly and read few verses of the Quran before he was hit by the firing squad in the market Jialo square, and he was burried in Jialo.
A record of Carmine’s story is found in several Fascist writings, bearing in mind that they represent the Fascist point of view. Those include Dante Maria Tuninetti, Secretary of the Fascist Party of Cyrenaica, several military officers and the Minister of Colonies then.
In 1991, Salvatore Bono, professor of Afro-Asian History of Perugia University, Italy wrote a research about the soldier that became a fighter with Omar Mukhtar.



oummLeen said...

that is great stroy to know and read it , really we lack Youse El Musulmani in our own people now , that is really historical and i did not heard about him early , even in the omar mukhtar movie they did not menstion him ,right ? or did they ?
thank u so much for sharing ur lovely historical info , and as i always says u r abughilan a book history and u have to write a book by ur self u have too ... good for u , have a wonderful day.

Omar Gheriani said...

Thanks for your comment life's cycle, and no, I don't think there was any mention of this in the film' "Lion of the Desert'. However, I have a trace and, I'm close to meeting one of the the grandsons of Yousef, I'll let you know.

oummLeen said...

wow really that would be wondeful , i thought about if u know one of his grandsons , tell me when u will see him ,

Anglo-Libyan said...

great story, I have never heard of him before,thank you Gheriani

Highlander said...

I never heard of him before so thank you sooooooooooo much for this story !!!!

Omar Gheriani said...

Thanks AngloLibyan and Highlander, yes, it's a great story of a simple man with destiny.

LadyCroc said...

Subhanallah, very interesting, thank you.
I know quite a lot of stories about young Westerners joining the Libyan resistance to fight, converting to islam and sometimes becoming shaheed (martyrs).
DOyou know anything about the British soldier Staurt Smallwood, who became a Muslim and joined the ottoman turks in their feight against the Italian invaders in Libya in 1912?

Omar Gheriani said...

You're welcome Safia and yes,there is a number of westerners joined the fight with Libyans I'm surprised but I never known of the English Stuart Smallwood unless he was the one meant by the film of John Wayne and Sofia Loren of the early sixties?

Anonymous said...

hola soy de argentina yo soy tomas tuninetti me gustaria hablar contigo sobre la familia de alla de italia mi direccion de correo es sorry no spkea italy por favor reponde a mi direccion de correo plis plis

Unknown said...

thru a google search on Mujahid Omar Mukhtar i read your post, I am deeply honored and respectful of the great martyrs of the great libyan past, some we know and some we dont, but their blood gave us the freedom and pride. salute to all.
mohsin khan