Injustice turns the oppressed into heroes as

the legacy of Omar Mukhtar confirms it.

No people love occupation of their lands by others. The human history is replete with examples where people resist any such design by foreign powers. Omar Mukhtar (1862-1931) was Libya’s iconic resistance leader, who spent the last 20 years of his life fighting the fascist Italian occupation of his country.

Mukhtar’s armed struggle first began against British forces deployed along Egypt’s border with Libya. He also fought French who made attempts of invading southern Sudan and Chad in 1900. However, it was 1912, when Rome declared Libya an Italian colony. For the next 20 years, Mukhtar led the Libyan resistance against the Italian occupiers, who suffered heavy losses as a result of his novel hit-and-run tactics, which later became the necessary practice in guerrilla warfare everywhere in the world.

Mukhtar got arrested on September 11, 1931 during clashes with Italian cavalry. Three days later the Italians convened a “special tribunal” for trying him. Rejecting the deal the Italians offered him, he uttered his famous words, “My forefinger, which attests at each prayer that there is no God but Allah and the Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah, cannot write a single word of falsehood. We will not surrender; we will be victorious or we will die!” He was hanged on the morning of September 16, 1931.

In 1980, “Lion of the Desert” starring Anthony Quinn was an attempt to shed light on the revolutionary spirit of him. The movie remained banned in Italy till 2009. Today, Libya is in tatters. The country is yearning for another Omar Mukhtar.