Friday, April 25, 2014

Liberation Day

I returned from the U.S. yesterday, in time to attend the Liberation Day parade today, April 25, which is the official holiday marking the end of fascism and German occupation.

The parade brought out the Oldest Living Partisans to march from the Colosseum down to the Piramide, past the Parco della Resistenza, on a broad avenue built by Mussolini to welcome Hitler to Rome.  The crowd was small and leftist, with Communist flags as common as Italian ones.  The Jewish group -- La Brigata Ebraica -- was well represented.  Only after we left (I went with my friend and colleague Håkan Hökerberg from the Swedish Institute) did we encounter another group of paraders, and lots of police -- it was another leftist group with a strong Palestinian flag-bearing contingent.  They were separated to prevent trouble, which nonetheless erupted when they got closer to each other in the square.

Håkan and I were both intrigued by one of the speeches, in which the speaker declared that it was a "shame" that the remnants of fascism are all all around, including the mosaics at the Foro Italico -- declaring "il Duce, il Duce" -- and its obelisk, declaring still "Mussolini Dux."  For some Italians, those sites and words, still enrage.

I left with a t-shirt in hand:  "Yesterday Partisan, Today Anti-Fascist."

I then spent an hour strolling atop the Palatine, among the ruins of the homes of 300-years worth of Roman emperors.  On the Campidoglio, one can find the original "man on horse" monument -- that of Marcus Aurelius.  And on the Palatine, you find the first "palace" whose location gave the name forever to large homes of the wealthy and powerful.

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