In the pursuit of traces from the past, we get to draw lines to our present. For over ten years, I got to research my home country’s history in ways I never thought I could. It is a continuous learning and unlearning process of what we believe we know. But we subsequently uncovered the truth through storytelling. As part of the series, I spotlighted prominent personalities in music, poetry, theatre, and education. I found traces of other influential figures contributing to Libya’s evolution with every story. Sharing and resharing stories from our past doesn’t necessarily mean nostalgia or grief about a beautiful era. Still, it can mean honoring those memories and perhaps reviving hope for better times and actions.
Through the string of traces, I am shedding light on a man who contributed significantly to Libya’s education development. He is Mr. Ahmed Sherif Ben Zitoun, one of Al-Dahra Primary School Principals born in 1916 in Tripoli. In 1952, after Libya’s independence, Mr. Ahmed Ben Zitoun was the school’s principal. He devoted his time and efforts to the students and the school. During that period, it was the only school in Western Tripoli with students from different parts of the city.
The school had many principals, including Mr. Al-Hadi Maghour and others, who have made the school an important academic institution. Unfortunately, limited information is available online about Mr. Ahmed Ben Zitoun though more research is required. From books and interviews, one of the suggested books is ‘Mahallat al-Dhahra: The Forum of Privacy and Public 1939-1969’ by Muhammad Alam Alrajhi.
A Facebook page is dedicated to sharing brief information and pictures about the school, faculty, and principles, which helped me understand and know more. Today, Mr. Ahmed’s students and those close to him remember him for his calmness, patience, and dedication. Mr. Ahmed Ben Zitoun passed away in 1986.