Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Cries of 'Duce! Duce!' salute Rome's new mayor

Uh boy...

Rome elected a new governor the other day. Gianni Alemanno is a former neo-fascist youth leader (and isn't that a great line on your resume?), his victory in a run-off election on Sunday and Monday was greeted with chants of "Duce! Duce!" from his supporters. "Duce," (a rough translation being "leader") was what the Italians used to chant to their former fascist leader Benito Mussolini back in the 1930's. One of Alemanno's closest allies is Umberto Bossi, leader of Italy's Northern League party, which in the past has been accused of both fascism and racism. Meanwhile Silvio Berlusconi, back for his third term as prime minister, also weighed in on the right-wing antics by proclaiming, "We are the new Falange", a slogan used by Spain's fascist party in the 1930's.

Some of Alemanno's first moves were to announce that he would be the mayor for all Romans and to reach out to both the Pope and Rome's chief rabbi. But you have to wonder what our reaction would be to the actions of Alemanno's supporters if Italy was not such a solid ally of the United States.
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