Monday, October 29, 2007

Libya Calls For Day of Mourning to Remember 1911 Colonial Deportations

NICOSIA 26 October 2007 Sapa-AFP


Libya cut itself off from the world on Friday for a national day of
mourning to mark the deportation of thousands of Libyans after the
Italian invasion of 1911.

Authorities called on Libyans to wear black, while all international
communications as well as bus services, planes, trains, post and
telephone networks were suspended from dawn until 6 pm (1600 GMT), according to a government statement.

Libyans were told to cut all links to the outside world during the
day of mourning, which commemorates the deportation of thousands of Libyans to Italian islands following the invasion of northern Libya in October 1911.

The commemoration is marked every year.

Flags were to be flown at half mast to mark the Italian declaration
of war against Turkey and the occupation of the regions historically
known as Cyrenaica and Tripolitania on the Mediterranean coast.

The conflict finished in October 1912 and saw Libya later become an
Italian colony until it won independence in 1951, following a short
period of Anglo-French rule under an UN mandate.

According to Libya's state news agency JANA, more then 5,000 Libyans were deported to Italian islands in the Adriatic between 1911 and World War II in an effort to break the resistance.

Relations between Italy and Libya have been strained mostly due to
disputes dating back to the colonial period.

Libya is claiming compensation from Italy through the construction
of a new six-billion-euro (8.5 billion-dollar) motorway stretching
across Libya from its border with Tunisia to the Egyptian frontier.

1 comment:

Pan-African News Wire said...

ROME 29 October 2007 Sapa-AFP


Italy and Libya are poised to sign a treaty designed to settle the
question of compensation for Italy's colonisation of the country, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D'Alema reportedly said Monday.

"We have certain debts owed to Libya but we also have a fundamental interest in our links with this essential partner," ANSA news agency quoted D'Alema as saying.

"The moment has arrived to take a further step and I hope that here
in a few days time we can announce an important accord between Italy
and Libya."

He said the accord would close "a sad chapter in history" but gave
no details on the amount of compensation being offered.

The minister was speaking during a conference on the deportation of
Libyans to the Adriatic Italian islands of Tremiti in 1911 and 1912.

Once part of the Ottoman Empire, Libya was occupied by Italy in 1911
and became an Italian colony in the 1930s. The country gained its
independence in 1951 after a brief period under a UN mandated
Franco-British administration.

The history of Italian-Libyan relations have been plagued by
tensions caused by their shared colonial history.

In recent years negotiations on a treaty floundered pending the
construction of a six million euro (8.6 million dollars) motorway in
Libya which former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi promised to finance during a trip to Tripoli in 2004.