Banning “Bella Ciao” and April 25th

I have been distractedly intrigued and slightly annoyed by the annual controversy raised by some fascist Italian mayors or self styled politicians against #BellaCiao but this year I decided to think about it.

Most of those “condemning” or even banning the song claim to not be fascists or nostalgic of fascism, adducing that the song is “communist” and “divisive.” I had never given them much thought, until this year: lockdown can trigger unusual mind schemes google.com/search?q=sinda…

So I tried to remember when and how did I learn the song, and the lyrics that I know since forever, and why it still gives me goosebumps. I had not realized that until that June 1st, 2013 night in Ankara.

Going back in time, a child’s drawing came to my mind. I don’t remember if it was drawn by me or a school friend, but I can still see it, a big flower casting its shadow on a grave, with a cross on it reading “partigiano” (not sure with how many “g”s). I know, I was probably 6yo

They taught and carefully explained us the song in elementary school. For context: it was a Catholic nuns school. The nun explained us that it was a song of death, a guy woke up on a normal day and faced such injustice that he had no choice but to leave his beloved one and fight.

Those nuns were no communists. They were old and had lived under Fascism, some of them under the Nazis. Italian communist Partisans did not sing #BellaCiao. They sang “Fischia il vento,” or “Bandiera Rossa” or “Internazionale”

Still for context: those same nuns who taught us “Bella Ciao” and made us pray that we would never face the partisan’s choice to leave is girl to die on the mountain, forbade us to learn those songs and reprimanded us if only we hummed them.

I only heard the lyrics of “Fischia il vento” at an anti Irak-war protest, decades later. “Bella Ciao” was chosen as the #Resistenza song because it was unifying, politically correct, purely antifascist and thus not divisive. Of course, unless you want to divide from Fascists.

Those politicians who disgracefully claim that they want to avoid it as “divisive” or “politically charged” do not care if it was a communist anthem or not, they consider the whole Resistance as a “communist” -thus regrettable- movement, trying to distance themselves from it.

Distancing themselves from #Resistenza means, plain and simple, to take the side of Fascism. Pure and simple. There was no middle way, and there isn’t today. Excesses and war crimes, doesn’t matter by whom, must be punished. But the whole Nazi-Fascist ideology was and is a crime.

So, I won’t be fooled by some sanctimonious mayor’s pretense of pro-fascist politically correctness. Banning #BellaCiao is a Trojan horse to demean and eventually hollow down #25Aprile , the anniversary of Italy’s insurrection against Nazi occupiers and their Fascist thugs.

Last, but not least: #Italy does not celebrate the liberation from Nazi-Fascism on the day of their surrender. Italy was fascist, Italy was guilty, Italy was defeated. But Italians on #25Aprile 1945 revolted against those who placed them on the evil side, to fight against Freedom

The South was liberated, Italian soldiers were fighting with the Allies but the North was occupied, Mussolini still nominally in power there. It was the partisans’ insurrection to give back to Italians their dignity as a nation. That day was the beginning of a new Italy.

Many days marked the beginning of the new era. National day is on June 2nd when the monarchy was abolished by referendum. It’s the anniversary of the State but the Nation was reborn on #25Aprile . The Republic born that day is, and will always be, anti-Fascist.

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Originally published at https://threadreaderapp.com.

Photojournalist and writer, previously based in Turkey, Ankara lover, formerly from Sorrento, Italy.

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