The Lion of the Desert

The Lion of the Desert

April 11, 2021 - 02:28
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Written By: LibyaMohammed

Omar Al-Mukhtar Mohammad Bin Farhat Al-Manifi was born in Tobruk on August 20, 1858. Called The Lion of the Desert, he was the leader of native resistance in Cyrenaica, eastern Libya under the Senussids, against the Italian colonization of Libya. A teacher-turned-general, Omar was also a prominent figure of the Senussi movement, and he is considered the national hero of Libya and a symbol of resistance in the Arab and Islamic world. Beginning in 1911, he led for nearly twenty years, the Libyan resistance movement against the Italian colonial empire during the Pacification of Libya. After many attempts, the Italian Armed Forces managed to capture Al-Mukhtar and hanged him in 1931. 
A statement said by Omar Al-Mukhtar in his final days captured the tongues and ears of millions of Arabs and Muslims, ''We ara a nation know no surrender, we win or we die.'' 
As a child Omar lost his father early on, and spent his youth in poverty, he was adopted by a great sheikh, and was friends with the nephew of Hussein Ghariani, Sharif al Geriani. His uncle was a political-religious leader in Cyrenaica, and received his early education at the local mosque, before continuing his studying for eight years at the Senussi university in Jaghboub. He became a popular expert on the Quran and an imam, joining the confraternity of the Senussi, he also came to be well informed of the social structure of his society, as he was chosen to settle intertribal disputes. He was very religious and strongly adhered to the religion of Islam, and he believed in the principle of jihad. Graziani described him as being sharp, cultured, tough-tempered, but very honest and humble, he was poor and possessed nothing. He also said about him that “he is a fanatic religious, but he is merciful when the ability is in his hand, and he is very loyal to his homeland, always respectful despite his actions that are against our interests and his only fault was that he hated us so much”. He fought the Italians since he was 53 years old for more than twenty years in a large number of battles, until he was arrested by the Italian soldiers, and was sentenced to death  by hanging although he was sick on September 16, 1931, in Suluq town, south of Benghazi. The purpose of Omar Al-Mukhtar's execution was to weaken the morale of the Libyan resistance fighters and eliminate the movements against Italian rule, but the result was the opposite, as the intensity of the revolutions increased, and the Italian forces ended up expelling the country.