Al-Jazeera English is releasing a multiple-part documentary about the political life and times of King Idris called ‘Libya’s Forgotten King‘. The episodes are available online and can be watched at AJE’s website or on Youtube (below).
In the first part of the documentary we hear from a number of local voices including historians based at the University of Benghazi, and political leaders and activists from the time of kingdom until today, such as former Prime Minister Mustafa bin Halim and Saleh al-Naeli. Historian Anna Baldinetti (who has written a book about the formation of Libya after the colonial period) was also interviewed for the documentary. Although the narration is a bit weak, including mispronunciation of names and places that could have been avoided, the documentary material gathered and interviews with Libyan historians more than make up for it. However, one has to ask, why King Idris is characterized as “forgotten”. I seriously doubt that any Libyan has forgotten him, and all scholars of Libya certainly haven’t either; so, is it only for the average Westerner that associates Libya only with what came after 1969 that Idris is “forgotten”?