In 1912 and through the early part of the 20th century, Libya was colonised by Italians. In 1940 when Italy entered the war and sided with Germany, the Italians in Libya had to face the British forces (which included Australians) who were moving in from their bases in Egypt. In 1940 and 1941, after the two sides had battled, lost and won and again lost and won, tens of thousands of Italians were taken prisoner and were marched into camps in Egypt, later to be put on ships and sent to camps in Commonwealth countries including Australia. The photo below shows some of the thousands of captured Italians who were so battle-weary that they willingly followed their captors as prisoners of war.
The theme of ‘Merge’ brought this photo to mind. The Italians seem to be leaving the battlefield and merging into a stream of men, flowing towards an oasis in the desert. They wear great-coats because temperatures were low through the winter months, especially after dusk.