by Raffaele Crocco

It gives me peace to think that the difference is all there: between those who think that the 25th of April is the day of liberation from fascism and those who for years have talked about it as an ‘institutional event’, the ‘Liberation Day’. Because words matter. If it is a holiday, it remains with the people, with the living and vital people, it remains with those who want to remember those who died to create a better world. If it becomes an anniversary, it becomes a state affair, with flags and banners, with fanfares and military parades.

The anniversary becomes institutionalised. It becomes one of many dates in the calendar, one of those that mark a stage in history. The celebration spread, transforming the day into a sign of precise belonging, the birth date of a transformed and different Italy.

This is what we need to do on 25 April. Remember that it is a celebration. A celebration of the people, of human beings, not of uniforms and institutions. On 25 April we should certainly remember and reflect, propose and discuss. But we should also sing, dance, eat together and enjoy ourselves. Because it is the celebration of the people who liberated themselves from Fascism and Nazism.

It is true, of course, that it is difficult to celebrate liberation when we know that we were never really liberated. The heirs of the twenty-year dictatorship, now dressed in white shirts and suits, are still here, governing by replacing the baton of the squadrons with the institutional baton, which now falls punctually on any form of dissent in the streets. Using denouncing and censorship instead of castor oil. Emptying democratic institutions with laws that glorify order, rules and governability.

Above all, they summon – they summon and do not rule. Ruling is what real democracies do. They erase history, change it, and bend it to suit their purposes. A manoeuvre that is working well and in which we are partly complicit. We now have to fight to get Resistance-related subjects back into our schools. These are subjects that our government considers ‘divisive’: the ‘Shoah’ and the ‘foibe’ (the mass killings and deportations of Italians during and immediately after the Second World War, by Yugoslav partisans after decades of fascist repression, ed.) are now to be regarded as equivalent, as are the partisans and young fascists who died. Humanly, they were all individual victims of the cruelty that overtook them. Historically and politically, however, the line separating them is insurmountable. The partisan boys and girls were the liberators, the ‘Salò boys’ (fascists allied with the German Nazis from September ‘43 until the capitulation of the German troops in May ‘45, ed.) were on the wrong and abnormal side of justice and human rights.

All this is happening, but we have the power to react and change things. We have to make sure that 25 April is really our ‘liberation day’ from fascism. Let us take back this day and make it our own beautiful, exciting day. Let us draw a clear line between those who defeated fascism and want to defeat it every day, and those who are instead nostalgic or simply qualunquistic. They cannot and will never want to take part in this celebration.

On the cover photo, vector illustration for happy Liberation day Italy ©Vector Illusion/