Who was Omar Mukhtar (Lion of the Desert & the Libyan National Hero)
Omar Mukhtar was born on 20th August 1858 AD in Zawiyat Zanzur, Libya. Omer belonged to a tribe named Manifa. Manifa was an Arab Baber tribe. The people of this tribe were recognized as Ashrafs while under Ottomans. Muhammad Bin Farhat Ali-Manifi is also often quoted with his name. Italians gave him the titles of “Lion of the Desert” and “Matari of the Manifa”. Omar Mukhtar brought a revolution in Libyan history. When there started the division and colonization inside Libya, it was resisted by some natives from Cyrenaica and lead by Omar Mukhtar. During Senussids movement, he played a prominent role. Omar Mukhtar was admiringly accepted as the National Hero of Libya.
While concentrating on his major roles, he resisted and fought against Great Britain who was trying to occupy Egypt. He also played an important role in resisting the division and colonization of Chad by France. By the end of 1911 CE, there started the invasions of Italians in October. They were opposed by the Libyan opposition of Cyrenaica. It continued from 1911 to 1931 CE, while a lot of battles were fought and Cyrenaican resistance was led by Omar Mukhtar. In short, the Italians had to suffer several shocks just because of Omar’s hit & run strategies.
Are you more curious to know about this great personality? So, he was a professional teacher of the Holy Quran. Along with his profession, he got skills of the desert wars. He was very much aware of the desert geographically which he also used while fighting against the Italian forces. During that series of battles, the Italian Governor named Ernesto Bombelli prepared a new force which severely inflicted the rebellion forces of Cyrenaica in April 1925 CE. At the same time, Omar Mukhtar also quickly planned and modified his tactics. He was successful in giving surprise to Italian forces. Now there was only one method for the Italians to overcome this resistance. So, they captured Omar Mukhtar in Slonta. He was being hanged by the Italians in 1931 CE at the age of 73. Omar Mukhtar was buried in Suluq, Libya.
During all those battles Omar was continuously offered a lot of deals to stop the rebellion and surrender his fighters by ending the struggle but he always refused. Once he replied them with these famous words,
He was hanged on September 16th, 1931 AD. Libya’s national hero is considered a symbol of resistance in other parts of the world too. The 1981 AD film, “Lion of the Desert” depicted Mukhtar’s late-life and was banned in Italy until 2009 AD.
Omar Mukhtar’s legacy:
- Omar Mukhtar’s picture started to appear on Libyan ten-dinar in 1971 CE.
- Omar’s leadership against the Italian forces was also portrayed in the movie “Lion of the Desert (1981)”.
- His above-mentioned statements got too much fame and used as slogans by Muslims.
- The Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi wore the picture of Omar Mukhtar on his chest during the Italian imprisonment.
- During the civil war in 2011, his picture was displayed on flags and posters of the Free Libya movement.
- In Florida, USA a mosque is named after him as Omar Al-Mukhtar Mosque.
- A lot of streets and town in several countries and states are named after this great personality.