Lion of the Desert Reflection Rebellion spearhead as well as a teacher, Omar Mukhtar was a clear leader. During the brief peace talk in “Lion of the Desert,” the first demand Mukhtar wanted for his people were Muslim schools. Other requirements for peace that were requested were national protection, national parliament, and return of the lands taken from the people of Libya. Mukhtar was first a teacher, when reading, reflecting or teaching he wore his glasses. Mukhtar balanced them gently on his finger, when speaking to a class of young boys, illustrating importance of balance within the Koran.
A young boy whose father was killed while fighting, clumsily puts on Omar’s glasses, it is consoling for the boy as Omar seeks a role model and new hope for him. After the father dies, the guidance of Omar shows the importance of a male influence in the boy’s life and within Islam. At the moment Muhktar picked up a gun, he transformed into the leader of the rebellion. In acts of insurgence Omar was guided by his religion and teaching. After a small victory, the men took the flag from the caravan and presented it to Omar as a trophy.
Mukhtar simply responded, “They are not our teachers, he is a boy, tell your general…” and he returns the flag to the surviving Italian soldier and sends him back, as opposed to killing him. In contrast, on the scene of General Graziani’s victory, he has sand goggles on as well as wearing a flag as a cape. He is then presented with a flag raising ceremony to declare their dominance of the area. When ambushed by a gas attack Mukhtar loses his glasses, just as his comrades have fallen dying or injured. Shortly after, Graziani constructs a massive barbed wire fence to block the rebels from supplies and refuge.
Muhktar then says, “What is wire to the will of God? ” guiding his forces on principle and the teachings of the Koran. The nationalist rebellion also adheres to their religion when tying their legs to remain in the face of an attack. Islamist teaching includes the concept of jihad or self-sacrifice for the sake of the cause. Their tied leg prevented the men from retreating or running away. In the end, when Graziani offers to release Muhktar if he were to relinquish his rebellion and beliefs, Muhktar refuses.
He lays down his life in order to protect his convictions. His glasses were returned to him by Graziani and Muhltar puts them on to read a passage from the Koran, moments before his hanging. As Omar drops from the gallow, his glasses drop from his clenched hand. They are retrieved by the young boy that had earlier put them. Illustrating the assertion made by Muhktar to Graziani, that the rebellion against the Italian’s would continue and as each man is killed the younger generation will rise to fill their place.
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