Wednesday, April 25, 2007


"In response to the successful campaigns by Sheikh Omar Al-mukhtar, the Fascists embarked on a gruesome and brutal tactic in their war of annihilation against the Libyan population: the use of concentration camps. Entire tribes (primarily Bedouins from Aljabil Al-akhdhar) were forced into concentration camps in desert areas hundreds of miles away from their homes. The objective was three fold: (1) flush these people out of their mountainous strongholds where it was hard to subdue them, (2) cut off the economic and social support of the mujahdeen led by Almukhtar and (3) prevent more men from joining the armed struggle.
Numerous concentration camps were setup in addition to many other locations used as gathering points. There were four major concentration camps:Al-agaila, Al-brega, Al-magroon and Sloog.
Al-agaila is a desert area on the gulf of Sidra (Sirte) about 300 km west of Benghazi. This camp was the worst of the concentration camps due to the harsh conditions of the area (bad water, extreme heat) and was characterized by the extreme brutality of the Italians. Various torture and beating techniques were employed, including (a) men and women were whipped (the traditional 1000 whips) and salt water was poured on their bodies , (b) men and women were tied to poles in the desert sun from their hands (without their feet touching the ground). The men and women were also made to move sand/dirt form one place to another all day for the sole purpose of tiring, abusing and mentally torturing them. Of course, all these nice activities were accompanied by a full slate of kicking and degrading insults. Some men were also used to do other forms of labor, like loading and off loading of Italian ships. The punishments added up and intensified every time Sheikh Omar Almukhtar outsmarted, out-maneuvered and beat the Italian army in Berqa.
The number of people forced into these major concentration camps reached 125,000, two thirds of which (i.e. about 90,000) perished at these camps! The remaining survivors were transported to other camps in miserable conditions suffering from chronic disabilities and debilitating diseases.
Furthermore, the Fascists figured that by impoverishing these bedouin people they can force them into submission and hence they systematically destroyed the Bedouin's livestock (their livelihood): thousands of heads of sheep, goats, horses, cows and camels were confiscated. Untold number were burned in Wadi Al-koof, many perished with their owners and many were shipped to Italy. The Colonialists, like what they have done previously in Triploitana, also introduced many land schemes whereby the best fertile land was appropriated from its rightful owners."

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