Sunday, January 27, 2013

Holocaust Remembrance Day... and Mussolini

It's that day again, Holocaust Remembrance Day, as designated by the UN and adopted by the US.  Quite a day, too, with remembrances taking place with honor and sorrow in many countries. 

Of course you know that there are also a lot of Holocaust deniers (hello, phony moon landing folks), neo-fascists and just plain Hitlerites, young and old.  What may surprise you is that a recent world leader chose this day to tell us how Benito Mussolini was just a misunderstood guy who did some really good things.  Yep, for "having done good" to be exact.  

And not in a secret meeting where he might claim some plausible deniability.  Oh no:  "(former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi) spoke to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony in Milan to commemorate the Holocaust."  (My emphasis.)  That's really making a statement.  THEN he said ""It is difficult now to put oneself in the shoes of who was making decisions back then." 

No, Silvio, you putz, it's not.  I thought a Mussolini review might be in order.

Okay, I know that a lot of you only remember Mussolini as a junior (in comparison) leader of the WW II Axis - Germany, Japan and Italy.  There were some other countries involved but you get the picture.  But do you recall that while Hitler was languishing in jail and writing Mein Kampf, Benito was embarked on vicious campaigns to reclaim Ethiopia (then Abyssinia)  and Albania for his modern Roman empire.  Called it Italian East Africa.  The Ethiopians didn't have much of an air force, army or navy - nor much of a chance - and Beni won in a walk.  Pretty much the same for Albania.  Incidently (unless you were there), he also used mustard gas and phosgene on civilians and he summarily executed captured guerrillas. Hey, that's just the kind of guy he was.

Beni backed Franco in the so-called Spanish civil war.  Then there was that whole "Let's kill all the Slovenes" thing.  After sucking up to England, Beni made common cause with Hitler - The Pact of Steel - and sent troops to fight in Russia without being invited.  Free killing with booty for all?  Not so much, as it turned out. 

He invaded North Africa (again) and when the locals turned the tide against him, Hitler had to send in his Afrika Corps to bail Beni's butt out -- but only until the allies launched Operation Torch and eventually sent both armies packing with massive losses.

Did I mention that Beni rounded up and executed 6,000 Italian Jews, "the most assimilated Jews in Europe", and murdered most of them? How assimilated was Italian Jewry?  "(I)n 1910, Luigi Luzzatti, a Venetian Jew, became prime minister."  Thank you, AJC, for both quotes.

Beni and his mistress were escaping to neutral Spain shortly before the war ended but they were captured and executed en route.  Finis with disgrace, or so you might have thought.  But noooo (thank you, John Belushi).  There's been a lot of revisionism since WW II but my summary is pretty well established fact.

But this piece is really about Berlusconi.  This isn't the first time that Silvio Berlusconi has extolled Beni "for having done good."  It's been a theme of his for years.  In 2003 he told world leaders at a Paris conference that he had been reading Mussolini's journals, and Berlusconi claimed that Mussolini "never killed anyone.  (Thank you, Reuters.) 

In 2010, Berlusconi said:
"I will dare to quote you a phrase from someone considered a dictator, a great, powerful dictator, Benito Mussolini.  In his diary, I recently read this phrase. 'They say I have power. It isn't true. Maybe my party officials do. But I don't know. All I can do is say to my horse go right or left. And I have to be happy with that.'"
"Considered" a dictator?  Considered?  Mussolini was a dictator even before Hitler's rise to power.

Speaking his thoughts about judges:
"If they do that job, it is because they are anthropologically different from the rest of the human race."

Like Mussolini, Berlusconi has opined on conquest:
"The West will continue to conquer peoples, even if it means a confrontation with another civilisation, Islam, firmly entrenched where it was 1,400 years ago."
And more on conquest, of a more personal nature:
"I never understood where the satisfaction is when you're missing the pleasure of conquest."   (regarding his notorious sex life, especially with underage women and prostitutes)
Conquest is a recurring theme with Silvio.

And finally, on himself:

"In my opinion, and not only mine, I am the best prime minister we can find today." 
"I am the Jesus Christ of politics. I am a patient victim, I put up with everyone, I sacrifice myself for everyone."
"In Italy I am almost seen as German for my workaholism. Also I am from Milan, the city where people work the hardest. Work, work, work - I am almost German."
"When asked if they would like to have sex with me, 30% of women said, 'Yes', while the other 70% replied, 'What, again?'"... (OK, I admit that one is a little bit funny.)
There are two important things to remember about Berlusconi.  The first is that he's a rich politician and the second is that he's running for parliament next month. 

Running for Parliament?  Could Italy really be that far out of touch?  Well, there was that fling with Mussolini.

* * * * *

Please:  Remember the cost and terror of fascism and racial politics today, and mourn their numberless victims... and teach your children the truth.

Holocaust Memorial - Berlin

* * * * *
Yad Vashem, the holocaust memorial in Israel.  Click HERE for Wiki's explanations.

* * * * *

So long as the Duce lives, one can rest assured that Italy will seize every opportunity to achieve its imperialistic aims.
--Adolf Hitler, November 1939

It is the height of revisionism to try to reinstate an Italian dictator who helped legitimize and prop up Hitler as a `reincarnated good guy.' 
--Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder of the Simon Wiesenthal Center. (Thank you, HuffPost.)

* * * * *

Note:  I got my quotes from various credible sources on the Internet.  (Thank you, Al Gore.)

No comments:

Post a Comment