Italy’s Obligation

I found both of these articles interesting, though it was a little bit of deja vu from when we talked a little bit about this topic earlier in the course. One point I found controversial was at the end of the del boca article, del boca believes that Italian tourists will be the ones to repair the Italian-Libyan relationship. I really do not agree with this because the other things that we have been reading have been pointing out a lack of knowledge on the part of Italian youth about Italian colonialism and it seems that this would create an awkward situation because Libya obviously has not forgotten and it is something that is remembered amongst Libyan people, old and young. The way I see it, it would probably end up being a situation where Italian tourists were going to Libya for a casual vacation and A: Libya is probably not a good vacation spot now and B: Ignorant Italians are probably not the best ambassadors and are not the best way to say “sorry” when their government has had a lot of trouble being able to say such a simple word.

Gaddafi and Berlusconi. Gaddafi dressing weird and "captain-smiles" behind Berlusconi

Comments of M.T. Jerary, “Damages…” Article

This article was an interesting look into historiography. The study of how people write history and “do” history is something that I have really been focusing on since delcaring my history major and I found most puzzling about this article is that I found it a little hypocritical. Although Jerary does say that he is trying to be, “successful in reflecting the Libyan perspective on fascist colonization of Libya” (207), he says earlier that his goal is to “study carefully the colonial period from beginning to end, studying and documenting all aspects of the Libyan-Italian experience with the utmost precision and objectivity” (203).  What I found was that this chapter became a laundry list of the atrocities and vicious acts that the Italians carried out on the Libyans. What was more distrubing was this article just gave the Libyan side of the story and the “Italians feelings of aggression and guilt” (203) were never addressed or mentioned later in the chapter. Overall, very interesting, but hypocritical and a biased historiographical piece of writing. Will definitely bring it up tomorrow when i present of oral histories and other such whatnot.

Center For Libyan Studies in Tripoli, Libya

Lucia Re Article

I really liked this article because it was seemed to me to be a culmination of the entire course and what we had talked about in relation to Italian colonialism. One part I found particularly interesting was the poems by d’Annunzio, “Canzoni d’Oltremare.” The “Canzone del sangue” caught my attention because of its religious imagery and the relationship to justifying Italian cruelty and torture of Arabs as a Holy War. These poems were published on the front page of one of the most important news papers in Italy, were interesting as propaganda because I had researched and studied propaganda for children earlier with Mical. This section also likens the Italian Colonization to the Crusades, by uniting the Arabs and Turks as infidels and heathens of against Italy. Very interesting considering I am also in a history of the Crusades class. Overall a very interesting article. Though very long.

America’s “Liberty” and Colonial Ethiopian

The comparison that I first drew after reading this article was between the feminine propaganda of the Italian Ethiopia and the American feminizing of Liberty at the end of the civil war. In America, “Liberty” appeared as a powerful woman, draped in robes or even American flags in a  relatively seductive way, that at the time was probably sex appeal. Later she is shown leading the way into the American West during the idealistic period of “Manifest Destiny.” Both of these situation give the woman, “Liberty” and the idea of freedom and American power a feminine spin that both make it seductive as well as matriarchal. Comparison that was most surprising from the Pickering-Iazzi article was in the last paragraph she writes, “Furthermore, in this romantic tale and the fictions of Africa published in the press, the representations of women as the subjects of adventure, independence, mobility, and desire invent powerful terms of identification.” In both cases, the women encourage adventure, expansion, mobility and tempt people with their feminine charm. Very interesting article, big fan.



Comments of the Iyob Reading

I really did not like the way that Ruth Iyob wrote this. I thought her experiences and her perspectives were informed and interesting, but I found the way she wrote obnoxious and her use of the first person wasn’t fitting for the historical writing and thesis she was trying to present. In the first section, “Encountering the Past in the Presnt,” I understand that she was writing about her own encounters during her travels, but I found that this section did not add much to the historical context of the article. She wrote, “I again encountered the silent face of the colonized woman–this time in the curio shops that sells crafts and postcards” (234). This sentence would have been more suitable if she was writing a novel, or a work of historical-fiction. Really didn’t care for this section. Otherwise, the topic was interesting, but I still had trouble understanding the idea she was trying to convey to the reader. The last section came to the conclusion that women have gained some freedom in the 21st century, but at the same time have been forced back by “social mores” that make them into housewives rather than the powerful women that in the history of Eritrea have jumped to social and political forefront. I don’t know what everyone else thought about this, but I was really bummed out by this article. Nothing special.


Eritrean Guerrilla

The Italian Airforce!

I found this article really interesting because this is a type of history that I have been interested in since I was a little kid! Rochat definitely gave a ton of information about the actual airforce and the support given to it from the government, but left some points out in the open without expanding at all on them. I agree with Margot that he definitely left the reader “hanging” by not expanding on the usage of gas and the reaction to it, or the reason that Italians supported the war so vehemently.

I was very interested in the italian planes used during the war. I did some more research on the planes and found out some interesting things:

This is an article on wikipedia about an Italian pilot, Tito Minniti who was a fighter pilot during the Ethipoian war and was eventually captured and killed by the Ethiopians, apparently the Italians used this as justification for using mustard gas. Here is the plane he flew, ALSO a plane that was widely used during the war.

The Romeo Ro.1 was a dutch-built plane (Fokker C.V.) that was sold to a ton of different countries in the early 20th century. Had a bunch of different models that featured extra fuel tanks for long-range flight or extra machine guns for improved ground attacks/reconnaissance protection.

The Italian-made Savoia-Marchetti SM.81 was a bomber used in the Ethiopian war, and later was used by the Spanish government in the Spanish Civil War. For the time, it was fast, durable and versatile because it could carry lots of people, bombs and supplies. Though it was modern for Italy, it quickly was surpassed by the massive aeronautical industry in Nazi Germany, Britain and the United States during the outbreak of World War II, who saw the development of advanced fighters like the Messerschmitt Bf 109, 110 and Heinkel He 111. 

INTERESTING FACT!! In that movie we watched in class where we saw some aircraft in an Italian Air Force base, those planes could not have been period planes and look much more similar to later planes, such as the Cant Z-1018 “Leone,” which was not built until late 1939.  Cool stuff, I really got into this.


Lion of the Desert, A summary

Since I was not able to attend the movie last night, here is my summary and opinion of the first hour and twenty-five minutes. In the beginning we see Mussolini in his “situation room.” There are maps on the walls and everyone is dressed in military garb. He is unhappy because the last 5 governors of the province of Cirenaica have failed at ending the violent (thought quite thoughtful and intellectual) rebellion lead by Omar Muhktar, a muslim intellectual who used to be a teacher. One of the generals, Rodolfo Graziani is chosen as the new governor of the rebellious province and Mussolini tells him not to fail because everyone else had and they are wimps. Graziani assures Mussolini that he will not lose, and then makes his way to Africa. It then cuts to a desert town where people seem free and happy. Some boys are getting a lesson in the Qur’an from a old man who we later find out is Omar Mukhtar. Mukhtar looks like a professor, with a pair of round spectacles, sitting cross-legged in front of a group of boys. While he is trying to give his lesson, a group of his soldiers return and the boys quickly lose concentration and are distracted by the music and dancing that is now taking place. Mukhtar also goes out to see what is happening, meeting up with one of his senior advisors and military leaders. They tell him that a new governor has been chosen and that his name is Graziani, a name that seems to carry some weight with the Muslim leaders because of his cruelty and brutality in war and with crushing rebellions. Mukhtar seems a little worried and decides to get his troops back together. He grabs his gun and supplies, and heads off with the other younger men.

There is a great big ballroom that reminded me of the scene in the Godfather: Part II when it is new year’s eve in Cuba and the rebellion starts. ANYWAY, everyone is dancing and having fun. Fans are spinning, people are eating and drinking. PARTICULARLY there is some super bad acting from the women who just do some stereotypically italian things and make weird faces. Graziani enters and everyone stops dancing and music comes to a record-scratching halt. Everyone sings a ridiculous song to Graziani and he comes in looking spiffy with his white suit and a dorky looking feather on his head, which makes him look more like a show horse than a brutal leader. Some crazy guy in the front starts to yell about Mussolini and everyone else joins in, but Graziani says, “chill bro, ladies are here. let’s just relax.” Graziani meets the guy that is apparently really good at negotiating and befriending the Muslims, but who later turns out to be a total bust and ruins the who negotiation process. The next day, they all discuss strategy and learn that more Italian forces have been defeated. Graziani is wicked pissed and decides to send out a force to kill Mukhtar. He is especially peeved when he learns that the forces that were defeated saw Mukhtar. Good for them.

ANYHOO, Graziani sends a bearded genrel who looks like Vladmir Lenin and sends him to a town in the desert. He rounds everyone up, takes a bunch of slaves, hits an old dude, kills a cripple, and burns half of the town’s food (total asshole). This is the last straw for one a young guy in the town and he throws a hissy-fit and marches off to join the rebellion and Mukhtar, leaving behind a grieving mother and a knocked-out grandpa.

Muhktar knows where the Italian Lenin will come through in the desert and sets a trap. He follows what he thinks is the whole Muslim force into the desert but IT’S A TRAP and he gets shot in the face. One young officer and a scout car and freed by Mukhtar and they return with the flag.


I think you get the point that I watched the movie, but feel free to ask me for anymore interpretations. I really loved this movie. Classic old-school war movie.

American Indians and Indigenous Libyans

Again the first thing that popped into my head when I read the article, “State and Class Formation and Collaboration in Colonial Libya” had to do with American history, particularly America Indian history. The changes that the Libyans experienced was very similar to the changes that the American Indians experienced when European settlers colonized North America. One of the main issues that the American Indians faced was the transformation of their economy and livelihood from a open agricultural society based on the trading of goods to the large scale agriculture and monetary system of the Europeans. Particularly in the section, “Now, the weakening of the major tribal confederation in the hinterland caused many tribesmen to lose their livelihoods as guides, lessors of animals, and tribute recipients. Agriculture became the only major activity apart from herding.”

Duggan 483-526

Having presented on Fascist propaganda, the beginning of this article really stood out to me. The different agendas of the Catholic Church and the Fascist Regime of Mussolini affecting what was being taught in schools and the public outlook on the state and the church was very interesting. Particularly the quote:

I believe in the hih Duce–maker of the blackshirts. –And in Jesus Christ his only protector– Our Savior was conceived by A good teacher and an industrious blacksmith–He was a valiant soldier, he had some enemies-He came down to Rome; on the third day- he re-established the state. He ascended into the high office–He is seated at the right hand of our sovereign-From there he has to come and judge Bolshevism–I believe in the wise laws–The communion of citizens–The forgiveness of sins–The resurrection of Italy–The eternal force. Amen

I found it very interesting that this quote elevated the state to a pope-like level and put it on the same level as the Vatican. Aside from being offensive to the Church and the Catholicism, it preaches the following of fascist ideas and principles in a religious way, which the church admired about the Fascist government. Overall a really interesting part

Fascist and Vatican leaders sign the Lateran Treaty