Genocide in Libya : Shar, a Hidden Colonial History book cover
1st Edition

Genocide in Libya
Shar, a Hidden Colonial History

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after August 7, 2020
ISBN 9780367468897
August 7, 2020 Forthcoming by Routledge
232 Pages - 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This original research on the forgotten Libyan genocide, specificially recovers the hidden history of the fascist Italian concentration camps (1929 – 1934) through the oral testimonies of Libyan survivors. This book links the Libyan genocide through cross-cultural and comparative readings to the colonial roots of the Holocaust and genocide studies.

Between 1929 and 1934, thousands of Libyans lost their lives, directly murdered and fell victims to Italian deportations and internments. They 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 Arabic oral history and narratives while remaining hidden and unexplored in a systematic fashion, and never in the manner that has allowed us to comprehend and begin to understand the extent of their existence.

Based on the survivors’ testimonies, which took over ten years of fieldwork and research to document, this new and original history of the genocide is a key resource for readers interested in genocide and holocaust studies, colonial and post-colonial studies and African and Middle Eastern studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Thinking About Forgotten Libyan Genocide

1. Where are the Survivors: The Politics of Missing Archives and Fieldwork

2. Eurocentrism, Silence and Memory of Genocide

3. We Died Because of Shar, Evil My Son: Survivors’ Stories of Death and Trauma in the Camps

4. After the Genocide: Hidden, and State Histories

5. Postscript: Rethinking Postcolonial State Formation, Crisis and Collapse in Libya

Conclusion: Toward a Paradigm Shift

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Ali Abdullatif Ahmida is a professor and founding chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of New England, USA. His speciality is political theory, comparative politics, and historical sociology. His scholarship focuses on power, agency and anti-colonial resistance in North Africa, especially modern Libya.


"Ali Abdullatif Ahmida’s volume on the Libyan genocide is a masterpiece of oral history. This narrative recaptures the full texture of a great but little known atrocity. The prose and the poetry of folk memory as well as the crosscurrents of regional variation are gripping and unforgettable. A people’s suffering have been truly honoured here." — James C. Scott, Yale University