'Arab Street' Naming Politics: Qatar Remembers Libyan Hero
Qatar has named an avenue in Doha after Libyan hero Omar Mukhtar who, for nearly 20 years, led native resistance to Italian colonization of Libya.
Qatar's Emir, Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, relatives of the hero and Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the head of the Libyan Transitional National Council, attended the ceremony at Al Dafna, Doha's new business district built on reclaimed lands.
"We are grateful to Qatar for all the outstanding things it has done in favour of the Libyans and we shall always recall their stances with pride and gratitude," Jamal Al Gahzali, the grandson of Omar Mukhtar, said, quoted by Qatari daily Al Sharq.
Omar Mukhtar, whose face appears on the Libyan ten-dinar bill, was born in 1862 and led Libyan resistance against the Italian invasion launched in 1911 when Libya was part of the Ottoman Empire.
His qualities were recognised by the Italians as of "exceptional perseverance and strong will power."
After long battles, the Italians captured and hanged him in 1931.
His final years and battles were depicted in the movie Lion of the Desert (1981), starring Anthony Quinn, Oliver Reed, and Irene Papas.
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief