Gypsy in the Sun: The Transnational Life of Rosita Forbes

  • Hsu-Ming Teo
Part of the The Palgrave Macmillan Transnational History Series book series (PMSTH)


In the summer of 1920, Rosita Forbes was stranded at the Milan railway station. It was the era of Il Biennio Rosso — Italy’s Two Red Years. Communist riots had broken out and the station was shut down. Forbes’s luggage was locked in a sealed carriage. She was en route to Libya where she would attempt to travel to the Islamic holy city of Kufra — a city in the middle of the desert forbidden to infidels. Impatient with the delay, she harangued a stranger to retrieve her luggage for her. ‘He found an axe, and with the help of two or three lads who followed him as if he were the Baptist, broke open the wagon and produced my luggage.’ He introduced himself as Benito Mussolini, editor of Il Popolo d’Italia, and asked her for an interview because, he told her, ‘It is the age of women.’ When she confided her plan to travel to Kufra, he laughed. ‘That will never be. Some man will make love to you, and so it will end.’1


Middle East Life Story British Woman Daily Telegraph Modern Woman 
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© Hsu-Ming Teo 2010

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  • Hsu-Ming Teo

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