25th April, Italy's Liberation Day
Today is Liberation Day in Italy. Seventy-seven years later, I am mindful of its importance and continued relevance. To mark this anniversary, I have decided to take aim at those people who, with an inexplicable air of badly concealed annoyance, pontificate that Ukraine 'should just give up already' and surrender a part of its own country to the Russian invaders so they don't get massacred and, far more importantly, so we don't get dragged into a 3rd world war. What a nuisance, what an inconvenient and untimely conflict this is.
And while I wonder what the eff happened to human decency, I have questions for them. Do these people realise that this would mean that after killing their men, raping their women and rendering their children orphans and irreparably traumatised they would occupy their home, impose a stifling authoritarian regime on them and obliterate their hard-fought freedom forever? Do these improvised warologists even understand the consequences, geo-politically and otherwise, of this act of surrender they are so casually advocating, not just for Ukraine, but for Europe and much of the rest of the world? Would these pound shop military experts want that for themselves and their loved ones, or would they fight to the death like the Ukrainians are doing? Why is that so hard to understand?
Today is perhaps the most important day of remembrance for Italy, so let's think back to 1943, when the country was in a state of semi-starvation and complete chaos. Under the German/Fascist yoke, thousands of civilians, often women, children and elderly, were murdered by the Nazis. The economy was in shambles and millions of people like you and I were desperate for normality and peace.
We owe our eternal gratitude to the Partigiani of the Italian Resistance, the 185,000 men and women, of which 29,000 lost their lives, who fought a civil war against Italian Fascists and a war of national liberation against German occupation. Their contribution was instrumental in setting the Italian people and Europe free from fascism and nazism. It is also thanks to them that we get to enjoy freedom, democracy and the right to pontificate from our comfy sofas every day.
So tell me again, why should Ukraine surrender?
The great Anna Magnani fends off Nazi soldiers in Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City (1945)