Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Dante M. Tuninetti was Fascist Party Secretary in Cyrenaica during the twenties of last century. Dante accompanied his friend General Graziani in his Kufra military campaign, probably as a fascist political officer- AN EYE for the Big Chief in Rome.
Later on, Dante left us a book called ‘Il Mistero di Cufra’ الكفرة الغامضة which was like a journal of this Italian accomplishment: the Conquest of the Last Stronghold of Libyan free fighters.
On his way, Dante passed by Jialo in January 1931, when he heard of the story of Yousef El Musulmani and his execution after his capture in the year 1928. He included his interpretation of the story of Iorio-Yousef El Musulmani as follows:

“The story of this soldier is like many of its kind of deserting soldiers from French and Spanish armies in North Africa. Iorio has converted to Islam and chosen the name of Yousef El Musulmani. In a short time, he succeeded by means of his instinctive peasant shrewdness and some superficial civilization (!!!) to gain the compassion of many. Between the Arabs of the south of Benghazi, he was considered an honest Moslem and a brave leader, and he gained a position of power and renown. He married a Bedouin woman according to Arab tradition and had children raised according to Arab and Islamic laws.
Yousef was on his way to Jdabia to join his wife when he passed Jialo and was captured by us. He was condemned to death by our military court as being an Italian soldier deserting the army (at time of war).
In the court, and after hearing his sentence, he behaved manly and proudly and confessed to his crime and refused to request clemency.
When asked, that if he wanted to die as a Christian, there was a priest to attend to his confession, he rejected the suggestion and answered that he preferred to die as a Moslem. He (also added) that he preferred that his children to remain living peacefully between the Arabs.
Before the execution, he requested to write a letter to his brother informing him of the events of his life as his family (in Italy) believed him dead. He requested his brother to raise and support his children if they came to his care.
He then lit a cigarette and walked to the place in the souq square in Jialo where he was to be executed, he stopped in front of the wall and waited the firing squad to fire on him. When he fell down, he did not utter any sound.
In spite of his treachery and the spirit of fatalism he acquired from the Arabs of the hinterland, he died raising his head proudly in front of eternity, he died as an Italian.”

This is a translation of the the story of Iorio-Yousef El Musulmani as told in the Arabic edition of ‘The Mysterious Kufra’ translated by Dr. Wahbi A. Al Bouri الدكتور وهبى أحمد البورى and published in 2005, Pages 75-76.

1 comment:

mani said...

Thank You Abulghilan

that was a wonderful article