Italian American Rosaria has written on Facebook today:
“To our veterans:
You were willing to pay the ultimate price to defend the principles your country stands on. We are glad you came back to your home and friends. We are glad your life was spared, so that we can hear your story, of combat, of living away from the familiar, of worrying each minute of each day if you, or your comrades were going to make it out alive, if the war was worth all the pain and resources and damages it caused.
It is that story of courage and fear and …”
I had replied in my usual dialectic-moronic way:
[paraprased, since I can’t find the original words in Facebook, MoR]:
“Stai parlando dello sbarco in Normandia, oggi, credo. Anche io come italiano sono contento di quello sbarco anche se noi eravamo i nemici. In realtà gli italiani capirono molto prima dei tedeschi che Mussolini era diventato lo schiavo di un pazzo e fu per questo che se ne liberarono. Molti criticarono l’Italia per aver lasciato l’alleato germanico. Ma chi fu più etico, i tedeschi che obbedirono al male fino alle fine, o gli italiani, che rifiutarono il male?
Forse è un dilemma etico insolubile …[e poi un antico romano avrebbe fatto la stessa cosa dei tedeschi, ndr]”
“Only one thing, Rosaria Williams, since the Romans are stubborn. I’ll speak in your maternal language.
Una volta nel mio blog parlai (it, eng) delle Torri Gemelle, the Twin Towers, viste dai tunisini e dagli arabi. Quacuno fu sorpreso? Non so. Ma tu dicesti:
“This post brings a new perspective to the problem of 9/11”
What is so new (I raise my voice for the sake of a discussion that will not occur, I shoot too many posts) dear Italian American woman?
For heaven’s sake, is it THAT hard to see things placing ourselves into the others’ boots?
Gli Americani pensano ai loro caduti, ok, ma perché non ai caduti (to name just a few) inglesi, canadesi, indiani, tedeschi, marocchini ecc. ? E RUSSI? The Russians? 20 milioni di morti! Non saranno loro, forse, ad aver sconfitto Hitler, mi domando? PLus, why don’t Americans care too about the deaths of the losers? (Italians, most of the French, the Germans, the Japanese?) Because, as protestants, the losers are in hell? [changing the text altogether, MoR]
Speaking of Italy, my country was accepted this year in Normandy for the first time.
In the matter of the events of June 6, 1944, Jonathan Freedland in a piece in the *Guardian (UK)*, says that “……the extent to which the politics of 2014 is still shaped by the events of 1944, and attitudes to Europe were formed in the shadow of the second world war, is most obvious in Britain, but it is not peculiar to these islands. Both the historical pro-Europeanism of the continent and the British scepticism that opposes it are, in part, the consequences of that epic conflict…….”
As to why Britons see themselves as so different from Europeans, Freedman says it’s because “…………Britons had not seen their land invaded and occupied; indeed, they were proud that the boots of no foreign army had trodden British soil for a thousand years. Though the hunger for a new political settlement was severe in Britain – severe enough to sweep away the great war leader himself in Labour’s 1945 landslide victory – the country did not see itself as one that had to be rebuilt from scratch……”
This brings me to *a piece*, also in the Guardian, by a former French prime minister, Michel Rocard, who said of Britons that “…….You do not like Europe – that is your right and it is understandable. You nevertheless joined 41 years ago, but on a misunderstanding. You never shared the true meaning of the project which Winston Churchill, speaking on your behalf, set out in Zurich in 1946 with his incredible words: ‘We must build a kind of United States of Europe … Great Britain, the British Commonwealth of Nations, mighty America – and, I trust, Soviet Russia … must be the friends and sponsors of the new Europe and must champion its right to live.’……”
Not content with this, M Rocard goes on, “……You wanted trade, and you thought about nothing else. With President de Gaulle gone, you were able to join. But from this point you never, ever allowed even the smallest step towards greater integration, or even the smallest expansion of genuinely joint decisions…….. Now you pretend to want to exit; the majority of your people are in no doubt about it. But you have a banking interest in remaining to capitalise on the disorder that you have helped to create.
So go before you wreck everything.
There was a time when being British was synonymous with elegance. Let us rebuild Europe. Regain your elegance and you will regain our esteem………”
On a personal note, I, although not British, had British forefathers – jingoistic upholders, all, of the old Empire – from whom I always got the distinct impression, almost through osmosis, that they, as Englishmen, saw themselves as a cut above everyone else, not least the continental Europeans.
Which is why what Mssrs Rocard and Freedland said, resonates so much with me. They’re spot on, I think!!
If the European Project fosters such harsh words and sentiments, then it is failing.
M Rocard notwithstanding, I have the feeling that Britain will remain in the EU, if only because Big Business wants this. And what Big Business wants, it usually gets. Particularly today.
However, you, as a Briton, who actually lives in that green and pleasant land, will know infinitely more about all this, than do I.
The desires of “big business” worry me less than the iron will of the EU’s ruling clique.
Still, we shall have to wait and see if freedom and democracy mean anything in Europe these days. Prerequisites are certainly tolerance of the points of view others, the avoidance of generalisations about whole peoples by politicians who should know better, having regard to the agonies of the last century, and a willingness to change rather than fall into decline: adapt and survive.