The Colonial Past and the Colonial Present (Italy and Lybia)

Many Arab and Third World Countries have welcome this unprecenteted step, taken by Italy, to repay Lybia for the Colonial Past (Lybia was under Italian control more or less between 1912 and 1943). The agreement, ratified some days ago, is historical indeed. But Claudia Gazzini, in the article just published by, illustrates some of the ‘dark sides’. Generally speaking the Colonial Past is rarely debated in Italy, and education and popular culture still spread the myth of a ‘colonialism with a human face’ (colonialismo dal volto umano). Far from this, the Italian occupation of Lybia saw, especially in the Fascist Period (from teh late 1920s to the end), one of the most brutal repression ever even for he bloody history of Colonialism and Imperialism. Italians massacred, deported and displaced over 100,000 Lybians. This is still largely a taboo in Italian history, and only few brave historians, such as Angelo Del Boca, have broken it.

Read the article at:

One Response to The Colonial Past and the Colonial Present (Italy and Lybia)

  1. Rosalyn says:

    Thank you for this excellent post and link Mr masritali (?) I think what Italy is doing here is a great acknowledgement, on one level, of the ‘sins of the past’. The next will be the attempts within Italy to shift the cultural register, through education etc, away from silence about the colonial past or that colonialism was a great thing that Italy did for the Libyans. When that happens I will marry Italy! (Well maybe not).

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