Book: Voices of the Arab Spring

In Voices of the Arab Spring, edited by Asaad al-Saleh (Columbia, 2015), there are sections devoted to personal stories from the revolutions in different Arab countries. The section on Libya contains several essays:

  • My Mission in the Libyan Revolution by Mohammed Zarrug
  • Fighting Qaddafi: More Determination Than Weapons by Khairi Altarhuni
  • The Dark Night on the Tripoli Front by Abdulmonem Allieby
  • Fighting for Freedom by Ehab Ibrahim al-Khinjari
  • From School to the Battlefield by Yusef Mohamed Benruwin
  • Living Through the Libyan Uprising by Gay Emmaya Tongali
  • Benghazi, My Love by Adel el-Taguri
  • My Work in Revolutionary Libya by Annabelle Veso Faller
  • The Days of My Life by Ezedin Bosedra Abdelkafi
  • Blood for My Country by Aisha A. Nasef

La Libye nouvelle | The new Libya | ليبيا الجديدة

This is not a post about Libya now. This is a post about a book from 1975, not so long after the coup of ’69, when ‘new’ was accurate in some senses but not necessarily positive. Entitled La Libye nouvelle, subtitled rupture et continuité (rupture and continuity | المزق و الاستمرار), it could easily have been just published last year and be talking about you-know-which-recent-events. A rather dramatic turn of history, cue experts publishing books. (Sometimes the lack of new perspectives is painfully obvious: there was a book titled … La nouvelle Libye published in 2004). In between, far, far fewer people are interested in Libya. Their loss. But I’m getting off track: the point here is that a number of scholarly works published in France have been made available free online at the OpenEdition.org website. Hence La Libye nouvelle can be read online for free (if you read French).

La Libye nouvelle: rupture et continuité. Institut de recherches et d’études sur le monde arabe et musulman, Éditions du CNRS. Paris. 1975.

Although some essays are outdated or rather simplistic, a few are still interesting reads. I recommend “La Libye des origines à 1912” by Robert Mantran; “Introduction à la connaissance de la littérature libyenne contemporaine” by Noureddine Sraieb is still one of the very few essays in a Western language addressing Libyan literature; “Chronologie libyenne” by Béatrice de Saenger is a handy timeline of events (obviously till 1975).

Women’s Bodies in Post-Revolution Libya: Control and Resistance

“Women’s Bodies in Post-Revolution Libya: Control and Resistance” by Sahar Mediha Elnaas and Nicola Pratt. In Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance: Lessons from the Arab World. London: Zed Books, 2015.

“Ever since the uprisings that swept the Arab world, the role of Arab women in political transformations received unprecedented media attention. The copious commentary, however, has yet to result in any serious study of the gender dynamics of political upheaval.

Rethinking Gender in Revolutions and Resistance is the first book to analyse the interplay between moments of sociopolitical transformation, emerging subjectivities and the different modes of women’s agency in forging new gender norms in the Arab world. Written by scholars and activists from the countries affected, including Paletine, Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, this is an important addition to Middle Eastern gender studies.”

Read a review and discussion of the book at Jadaliyya.

Publications of the Italian-Libyan Academic Collaboration

A number of years ago, the Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (المعهد الايطالي لافريقيا و الشرق) and the Libyan Studies Centre in Tripoli collaborated to publish a series entitled Fonti e Studi per la Storia della Libia (مصادر و دراسات لتاريخ ليبيا). Three volumes appeared in print:

  • Modern and Contemporary Libya: Sources and Historiographies. (Fonti e Studi per la Storia della Libia 1). Edited by Anna Baldinetti. Rome: IsIAO 2003.
  • La Libia nei manuali scolastici italiani (1911-2001). (Fonti e Studi per la Storia della Libia 2). Edited by Nicola Labanca. Rome: IsIAO 2003.
  • Tripoli bel suol d’amore. Testomonianze sulla guerra italo-libica. (Fonti e Studi per la Storia della Libia 3). Salvatore Bono. Rome: IsIAO 2005.

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Unfortunately the collaboration seems to have not continued, at least in published form. But all three books are very worthwhile collections for those looking for thoughtful and unique perspectives on the colonial period in Libya.