As shown in the permissive attitude of Italians toward Fascism last century, also contemporary Italians perceive of a strong and charismatic leader as a shield against disorder and their inherent inclination toward anarchy. Someone to protect them against their own nature. Promises of more police and more security are reassuring to those Italians who see today’s enemy in immigrants and in the European Union with all its rules … including its Euro currency. When a legitimate government to control their inclination toward anarchy goes missing, some form of servility to a powerful individual returns. Strongmen emerge from that conundrum deep in the Italian psyche: anarchy or a strongman at the helm. Italy today seems to be following the same familiar old script.
Some years ago an amusing satirical article in the Buenos Aires leftwing daily, Pagina 12, made me want to cry. In five thousand words the Argentinean journalist José Pablo Feinmann, ridiculed, among other things, the whole concept of the great wall the U.S. Bush government projected along the border with Mexico.
My generation has seen that history does repeat itself. We know world wars I and II and we have seen “regime change” in action from country to country, from Libya to Iraq. Those who think that history does not repeat itself might read some of these lines about what once happened and what is happening today.
The US has tactical weapons in Europe, let us not forget this. Does it mean that the US has occupied Germany or that the US never stopped its occupation after World War II and only transformed the occupation forces into the NATO forces? (V.Putin)
I woke up in the early 1970s. Since such an awakening happened in my life, I believe something similar happens also in the life of others. Though I didn’t realize it I had stood for sometime at a crossroads. I had to take the left. This sounds reductive but in retrospect it feels that my transformation happened more or less like that. Before, I was one person. Afterwards—the interval might have been months long, maybe a couple years—I was another. No need to over-dramatize and claim that the event happened as if it arrived like a thunder bolt. In any case, over a period of time, in the same way revolution happens, I revolted against my own self of the time; against my old life. And I became another. Today, as a result, part of my personal philosophy of life is that people can and do change. Fundamentally.
If you have you ever seen a monkey hanging from a tree by its tail and showing its red ass to onlookers, then you have seen the animal kingdom’s representation of war. According to French playwright Jean Giraudoux, the pacifist and Légion d’onore holder in WWI, war looks just like that monkey’s ass. In 1933, on the eve of WWII, Giraudoux in his famous anti-war play, The Trojan War Will Not Take Place, the imminent author penned his memorable words: “When he shows us his red bottom, all scaly and glazed, encircled by a filthy wig, that’s exactly what war looks like. That’s its real face.” (Included in my novel, The Trojan Spy). Giraudoux’s play was first published in English in 1956 as Tiger At the Gates.
At first, people of the town didn’t notice that every day there were fewer stray dogs creeping sociably under their feet while they took the sun on the benches at el Jardín. The growing absence of the rangy brown dogs – short- haired mongrels, their ribs leaping from their undersides, habitually scratching for nourishment at the food stalls around the square or wandering single file up and down the steep back streets – didn’t register on anyone.
When in 1978 the 31-year old Afghan Communist politician-activist, Mohammad Najibullah, arrived in Tehran, “exiled” to neighboring Iran as Afghanistan’s Ambassador, I had just left Iran where I had worked throughout the year of 1977. Najibullah’s political party, the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) had come to power in Kabul in April, 1978 in what is known as the Saur Revolution, the name of the month in the Afghan calendar when the Communist Revolution took place. Far from united, the PDPA was divided into two factions: the more revolutionary faction (Khalq-People’s) that first took power in Kabul in that crucial year of 1978 (crucial in both Afghanistan and Iran), preferred to have the charismatic Najibullah of the Parcham faction (Banner) of the PDPA far from the halls of power.
A five-meter tall resplendent Quadriga sculpture tops the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, the Wellington Arch in London, The Bolshoy Theater in Moscow, the Victor Emmanuel Monument in Rome, and other important structures elsewhere. Quadriga is a Latin word (quad=square plus yoke or iugum), the name of the two-wheel chariot drawn by four horses (not three as the Russian Troika) yet harnessed abreast, one beside the other, projecting an image of unusual power. The four-horse Quadriga was used in chariot races by Greeks, Romans and Byzantines and its drivers, the charioteers, were popular heroes like Formula One race drivers today. Some were even driven by gods and the Quadriga image was used also on coins. So the Quadriga became a symbol of war, victory and also the peace following a military victory.
Yet: a world in which Pinochet Is Better Than Communists!
Premise: Reporting on the still unresolved abduction and murder of statesman, Aldo Moro, by the Red Brigades in 1978—or at least in their name—the current Rome occasionally left-wing investigative magazine, Espresso, reports that not only the USA but also many European leaders considered Premier Moro’s project to bring the Italian Communist Party (PCI) into the Rome government destabilizing and of the utmost danger to European security. Thus, on both sides of the Atlantic, the Premier himself was considered an obstacle to be removed at all costs.
After World War II the USA and NATO labeled Italy the “soft under-belly of Europe”, chiefly because of the presence of The Italian Communist Party (PCI), Europe’s biggest political formation of the left. Because of capitalist Italy’s unpredictable and individualistic character existing like a Trojan Horse inside the European Union (EU), that label stuck even after the PCI died following the dissolution of the USSR. The party’s later iterations were reduced to rivulets as dry as the river Po in August and about which hardly a murmur is heard today. That label however has conditioned US-NATO relations with Italy since then. The Bel Paese became not only a US vassal state but an occupied country, an aircraft carrier jutting out toward North Africa and hosting dozens of US military bases. Today’s La Repubblica, Italy’s major newspaper, reported that 70 American atomic bombs are concealed on the US Airbase of Aviano in NE Italy, the greatest number in one country of the 180 atomic bombs scattered across Europe.
Lily Pads is a name given to a new and more flexible type of US military base abroad, among the some 1000 US foreign military bases, covering the Earth, but for the most part surrounding Russia and China. Many are near Iran. I gave this title to Lily Pad Roll, the second volume of the Europe Trilogy (The Trojan Spy, Lily Pad Roll, Time of Exile), political novels published by Punto Press, New York. This novel was published in 2012 and is available on Amazon both in print format and Kindle book. The story develops around a young American soldier and communications genius, Elmer Redway, a forerunner of Manning, stationed at an American military base in Bulgaria who finds such astounding secrets of US military crimes that he divulges them to WikiLeaks and elsewhere. When he is discovered he deserts and begins an underground existence in Europe. He is aided by Karl Heinz, a wealthy German journalist (the book’s second major character). The two are together in Berlin when the invasion of Iran gets underway. Though my invasion of Iran is invented, it is quite plausible and could happen this way. Were I to give a title to this chapter, I would most likely call it, Persian Paradigm.
The Historical Gastonia Textile Mill Strikes Are Not Forgotten
When in the early part of this millennium I was writing a rather surrealistic novel, ASHEVILLE, about the town in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina where I started out my life, I ran into the story of the Asheville-based self-professed Communist writer, Olive Tilford Dargan, of whom I had never heard before. Visiting then her gravesite in the little known Green Hills Cemetery in West Asheville and researching her and her activities I fell into a gossamer review of early 19th century labor struggles in the good old U.S. South.
“We work for the moral and traditional values which Socialists neglect and despise….”
It’s their strutting. That detestable image of the strutting that links them, the strutting and prancing Fascists and their swaggering and parading military cousins, up front for their conveniently concealed corporatist controllers. A strutting and swaggering couple they are, Fascism and the entrenched class of war. Their distorted visions of gallantry and nation come so naturally to both. The spick and span generals, employers of mercenaries and killers, chin in, chest out, and their majors and their colonels (especially the generals in the offices and the majors in the tents), thick chests covered with ribbons and medals and rows of multicolored decorations—awarded for killing. And the political Fascists! Defiant chins thrust forward, hard fists clinched, swaggering and prancing and strutting across the stages of piazzas nations and continents—in support of the killing.