Margot’s Post on Damages of Colonization

Decolonization is one of the more complex aspects of colonization. How do you rebuild a society that you have spent years trying to destroy? In Libya, the revolutionaries seemed to do everything possible to show the Italians the extent to which they damaged society. This article clearly had a bias towards Libya, but it didn’t take away from the content, in fact I think it enhanced it because it showed the way the Libyan people felt about decolonization. The Libyan Studies Center has a fascinating collection of oral history that are crucial to understanding the emotional climate regarding the colonizers while it was happening, and it is a good contrast to Italian accounts.

The most informative part of this article was the section on the crimes that the Libyans accuse the Italians of. They seemed to assume the intentions of the Italians quite a bit. The first crime included, “intended medical negligence…during the Italian execution of a plan to Italianize Libya racially and culturally.” The second included, “the forced evacuation of the original inhabitants…to exhausted its human resources. This proves [the italians] wished to deplete the country entirely.” The fourth was the most interesting because it blamed the Italians for destroying unity among Libyan citizens, “Libyan society was divided between ‘betrayers’ of the people (those who fought with the Italians) and so-called ‘real Libyans’ who were loyal to their forefathers.” This aggressive language may have alienated some Libyans.

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