Monday, February 14, 2005

Embarrassing Stains on the Left Must Be Kept Silent, for 60 Years and More…

As you know perfectly well, the place to fear neo-fascists and other far-right nutcases is the United States of America.

You also know how the Americans deserve to have their reputation blackened, with the smallest blunder turned into a scandal of the vastest proportions, and that by Europeans whose own reputation — that of wise, humanistic, heroic, visionary, avant-garde paragons of virtue — is untainted by any spots of any kind.

Well, turns out it's a two-sided story made up of double standards:

After decades of neglect, Italy commemorated on its calendars and television screens this week the thousands of Italians who were massacred by Yugoslav partisans and dumped into mountain crevices at the end of World War II
writes Jason Horowitz (emphasis mine).
The killings occurred in and around the northern city of Trieste, when, in 1943 and 1945, Communist partisans from neighboring Yugoslavia went on anti-fascist raids, rounding up Italians and condemning them to execution by firing squads.

Between 5,000 and 15,000 people were shot and dropped into the deep pits of the Carso mountain range. Some of them were still alive when they fell into the ditches.

"If we look back at the 20th century, we see pages of history that we wish we could forget," Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said Wednesday about the massacre. "But we cannot forget and we do not want to forget."

For 60 years, however, Italy seemed to suffer from a willful amnesia. Many in the Italian left chose to overlook the massacre, as it represented an embarrassing stain on the reputation of Communist partisans whom they cast as heroes, liberating the country from fascism. Western allies were reluctant to investigate the killings after Yugoslavia broke with the Soviet Union in 1948, and, perhaps most significantly, Italy wanted to get on with reconstruction and reconciliation after a disastrous war.

Well, no wonder they choose to overlook that type of event. After all, there is that big bogeyman to fight against…

As leftist militants scolded Jacques Rossi when the French communist started recounting his experience after returning from 20 years in the hell of the Soviet gulag "Vous faites le jeu de la droite" (You are giving ammunition to the right)…

The circumstances may be different, but that attitude of wanting to keep unwelcome news silent (of events that are often, if not always, far more horrible than those in capitalist countries) is very similar to the current response when one tries to have a non-emotional conversation about the situation in Iraq: "But are you pro-Bush, or what?!"

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