This will not be an easy post. It will also not be a fancy reading for those who aren’t unfamiliar with the recent Italian history, or for those who like to practice a “creative” approach to it. You see, this is Liberation Day in my country. The end of the Nazi occupation, the end of the fascist rule and the dawn of a new nation, ready to arise from the ashes of the WWII.
For those who will get a brief about this day, please check out Wikipedia (here). It’s a short piece, but you can use it as a start point following the links until you get a greater picture.
The story of the movement against the Nazi occupation and the fascist rule is quite complicated and bloody as Hell. We got a sort of civil war nested in a more massive conflict (Allies against Nazis) with good people on both sides and all the bitterness you could imagine after the end. Even 73 years later and with most of the people involved six feet under you can still smell the rage and the hate from that time.
You see, in Italy, we never got something like the Nuremberg trials. No chance to set things straight, to build a foundation of a better nation. Memory and Italy don’t fit well together, not to mention the words “justice” and “punishment”. We are right when it comes to turn the page and try to tell a new story with the same old characters. We are still doing that.
As you may imagine, along the years things changed. The Liberation Day became more and more similar to other national holidays, good for a one-day vacation somewhere. Italy became a different country, and the ghosts of the WWII faded in the dark. Business as usual, doesn’t it? The past is gone, look at the bright future we get. A pity that we establish this day to remember how hard it was to become free once again.
The Liberation Day was the ultimate consequence of a long war. A war fought by people of all kind, with a very different approach to politics and everything else, brought together only by the idea of winning back our country. To get a better picture of such variety, check out here. It will give a sense of all the better parts of our country were able to overcome their differences. In time, it was up to the national partisan organization (ANPI) and to the leftist parties to carry on most of the celebrations countrywide.
In the 60s we started to change the tune of our national celebration. In the name of high ideals such as peace and justice, the Liberation Day became something different. Instead of remembering our national history we got to protest against NATO, against the war in Viet Nam, against too many other conflicts in too many countries to be listed here. The bottom line came out in the 70s when the flags of Palestine and the kefiahs of terrorist organizations like PLO popped up like candies.
You see, the leftist parties were against Israel and sided with the “Palestinian cause”. They were (and they still are) ready and willing to use our Liberation Day to support such a cause. This was nothing short of a shame, doubled by the memory of the actions against the Jews made by the Fascist regime and the collaboration offered to the Nazis for the deportation of many Italians to places like Dachau. Once again, memory is somewhat faulty when it collided with politics, isn’t it?
As they say, misery loves company. The Liberation Day is still used to promote other causes that are unrelated at all with our national history. Every goddamn two-bit local politician is looking at a chance to get five seconds on the media scene, not giving a shit about what happened in 1945. Old story, they say. The past, that past, is gone forever. So we turned a critical piece of our collective memory into the trash, again and again. It will be interesting to see some of the leaders of partisan movement back into our present. Sometimes I think that they will pick up their weapons to turn everything apart.
All right, end the rant. Time to go back to what’s left of this day. Maybe someday I will understand photos like this one (taken in Milan, 2017)
“Basta muri in Europa” can be translated as “no more walls in Europe”, please note the Palestinian flag flying right front of the banner.