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Wednesday, 27 January 2010
Dubious tat


Along with your triskelion fridge magnets, and busts of Jesus and Mary, you can buy mafiosa souvenirs and busts of Il Duce - His Excellency Benito Mussolini, Head of Government, Duce of Fascism, and Founder of the Empire.  Incidentally, Wikipedia mentions the following as his “domestic achievements”:

his public works programmes such as the taming of the Pontine Marshes, the improvement of job opportunities, and public transport. Mussolini also solved the Roman Question by concluding the Lateran Treaty between the Kingdom of Italy and the Holy See. He is also credited with securing economic success in Italy’s colonies and commercial dependencies. Although he initially favoured siding with France against Germany in the early 1930s, Mussolini became one of the main figures of the Axis powers and, on 10 June 1940, Mussolini led Italy into World War II on the side of Axis.

Presumably they should have stopped that list somewhere before aluding to the myth of public transport and certainly before mentioning his role in the World War II Axis. Which would leave us with the achievement of clearing the marshes and creating job opportunities. However if you look at the Wiki article on the Pontine Marshes, you find the following salient information:

The Pontine Marshes were finally drained and reclaimed in works begun in 1926 under the responsibility of the Opera Nazionale Combattenti, a governmental institution reformulated under the Fascist government of Benito Mussolini that supported both rural development and war veterans. The government drained the marshes via three canals that intercepted runoff from the hills and pumped out low-lying regions, cleared the scrub forest, and placed about 2000 families (most from northern Italy and of unimpeachable Fascist background) in standardised but carefully varied two-storey country-houses of blue stucco with tiled roofs. Each settler family was assigned a farmhouse, an oven, a plough and other agricultural tools, a stable, some cows and several hectares of land, depending on local soil fertility and the size of the family. The project, constantly referred to in terms of a battle, was a huge public relations boost for Mussolini, fulfilling his long-term belief in the “rural vocation of the Italian people” and their triumph over nature, an epitome of the Fascist conception of progress. Mussolini used the ten-year operation for propaganda purposes. Mussolini was often photographed between workers, shirtless with a shovel in his hand, or threshing wheat at harvest time - these occasions were regularly filmed by LUCE for inclusion in nationally shown propaganda newsreels.

So to summarise, this activity was:

Did I miss anything?

Posted by bigblue on 27/01/2010 at 07:53 AM
Filed under: EuropeItaly • (0) CommentsPermalinkBookmark or Share

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