It may seem like we’re all well aware of the greatest atrocities of the past century, including the short list of genocides most of us can, sadly, recite without much deliberation. But one genocide from the not-so-distant past very nearly slipped through the cracks of history before University of New England scholar Ali Abdullatif Ahmida painstakingly rescued it from obscurity to tell its story: the genocide in Libya that took place between 1929 and 1934.
A lecture at the University of New England Center for Global Humanities will share the details of Ahmida’s ten years of fieldwork and research as he presents “The Forgotten Genocide in Libya” on Monday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. at Innovation Hall at UNE’s Portland Campus.
A professor of political science at UNE, Ahmida was born in Waddan, Libya and educated at Cairo University in Egypt and the University of Washington in Seattle. He is the author of numerous books such as :The Making of Modern Libya,” “Forgotten Voices: Power and Agency in Colonial and Postcolonial Libya,” “Post-Orientalism: Critical Reviews of North African Social and Cultural History,” and “The Libya We Do Not Know.” He also edited “Beyond Colonialism and Nationalism in the Maghrib” and “Bridges Across the Sahara.” His most recent book, the 2021 title “Genocide in Libya,” forms the basis for this lecture.
In the lecture, Ahmida will explain how he used the oral testimonies of Libyan survivors who were brutalized by the fascist Italian regime as well as previously unexplored archival materials to reconstruct the story of how the Libyans were forcibly removed from their homes, marched across vast tracks of deserts and mountains, and confined behind barbed wire in 16 concentration camps. It is a story that Libyans have recorded in their oral histories and narratives that remained hidden from global view until now.
This second lecture of the Fall 2021 season for the Center for Global Humanities will be followed by three more between now and December. Lectures at the Center are always free, open to the public, and streamed live online. For more information and to watch the event, please visit: https://www.une.edu/events/2021/forgotten-genocide-libya