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Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History

Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

Photo: Detail from the cover of Prof. Ahmida's upcoming book.
Interviewed by Khalil Bendib
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In his brand-new book, "Genocide in Libya: Shar, a Hidden Colonial History" due out in two weeks, University of New England Prof. Ali Ahmida meticulously documents the tragic story of a systematic genocide of the Libyan people by Italian colonial authorities a century ago, as well as the methodical cover up that ensued. Khalil Bendib, from Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (VOMENA), spoke to Prof. Ahmida about the book.

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Despite a dearth of recorded materials, most of which were classified or destroyed, through painstaking interviews with genocide survivors and their descendants, Professor Ahmida manages to accomplish a seemingly impossible task by reconstructing bit by bit a shameful episode from the brief but devastating history of Italian colonialism in north Africa, thanks to the enduring memory and steadfastness of the martyred people of Libya.


Ali Abdullatif Ahmida
Ali Abdullatif Ahmida

Dr. Ahmida's research focuses on power, agency, and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa, especially modern Libya.

Ali Abdullatif Ahmida is a professor and founding chair of the Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, at the University of New England, USA. His speciality is political theory, comparative politics, and historical sociology. His scholarship focuses on power, agency, and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa, especially modern Libya.

Dr. Ahmida has published major articles in Italian StudiesInternational Journal of Middle East StudiesArab FutureThird World QuarterlyJournal of African History, and the Arab Journal of International Studies. He is also the author of The Making of Modern Libya: State Formation, Colonialization and Resistance (SUNY Press, 1994 and 2009). This book was translated into Arabic and has been published in a second edition by the Center of Arab Unity Studies, 1998, Beirut, Lebanon. A third edition was published in 2013. He is also the editor of Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghreb: History, Culture and Politics (Palgrave Press, 2000). An Arabic translation of the book was published in 2014.

Routledge Press published Dr. Ahmida’s book, Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya (2005); an Arabic edition was published in 2009. Cambridge Scholars Press has published his edited book, Bridges across the Sahara (September 2009), and The Center of Arab Unity Studies, Beirut, Lebanon, published his book Post-Orientalism: Critical Reviews of North African Social and Cultural History in August 2009. Dr. Ahmida has just finished a new original book based on the survivors’ oral history of the forgotten genocide in colonial Libya. It is scheduled to be published by Routledge Press, August 2020

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