Home > Archives > 12 - 2003 > Almost peace, almost wars
EDITORIAL
from issue no. 12 - 2003

Almost peace, almost wars



Giulio Andreotti


The steps of the monument to Victor Emanuel covered with flowers laid by the people of Rome in honor of those who fell in the attack in Nassiriya

The steps of the monument to Victor Emanuel covered with flowers laid by the people of Rome in honor of those who fell in the attack in Nassiriya

While the whole nation was close to the losses of the many families thrown into despair by the tragic massacre in Nassiriya, the political quarrelling, the judgments on timeliness, the invectives against those slowing down and obstructing real world supervision by the UN fell quiet for an instant.
In particular the pietas of the responsive mind of Italians felt a wave of affection toward the Carabinieri, whose presence is at once guarantee and index of legality, that is of the rules that enable us co-exist as men.
We old Romans of 1943 were certainly brought low by the flight of the government and the royal family, but what gave us a sense of disaster was the German decision to capture the Carabinieri and take them by force to the north. Those who managed to evade the exodus – except for a number forced to remain in service in Rome – were given shelter and help – to the extent possible – by a population that no longer had points of civil reference. I well remember the clandestine cafeteria set up by Don Sergio Pignedoli, in the villa (now the site of the Apostolic Nunciature) that Senator Isaia Levi had given to the Holy See to show his gratitude.
And as for that, even those who served in the north in many cases didn’t follow the tune of the occupiers and the police of the Republic of Salò. I myself experienced it in the area of Vallo Torinese (I had gone to get news of English prisoners hidden by the parish priest there) showing the Carabinieri patrols who stopped me a Vatican pass that certainly was not among the travel documents recognized by the Republic. I was allowed to go on without hindrance and I came back with a considerable load of mail that the special office of the Holy See was to send on.
And, in the current slang, whoever is afraid of the Carabinieri is not a man of decent ideas and life. Eventual abuses committed, or rather, caused to be committed come within the exceptions that confirm – as the saying is – the rule.
Apart from the significant Roman television success of “Maresciallo Rocca-Gigi Proietti”, there was also acclaim for a new television retelling of the heroic sacrifice of the Carabiniere Salvo D’Acquisto who offered himself as hostage to the invading Germans and was shot on 23 September 1943 in place of the civilians of Palidoro held responsible for explosives found there.
A Carabiniere truck in Nassiriya, in Iraq, immediately after the 12 November attack

A Carabiniere truck in Nassiriya, in Iraq, immediately after the 12 November attack

But as well as D’Acquisto it is also worth remembering the other winners of Gold Medals from the terrible period of divided Italy.
– Lieutenant Alfredo Sandulli Mercuro from Naples, shot in Cephalonia.
– Major Livio Duce from Ventimiglia, shot in Greece.
– Corporal Alberto Araldi from Ziano Piacentino, shot in the cemetery of Piacenza.
– Captain Raffaele Aversa from Labico (Rome), shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Lieutenant Romeo Rodríguez Pereira from Naples, shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Lieutenant Genserico Fontana from Rome, shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Corporal Candido Manca from Dolianova (Cagliari), shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Corporal Gerardo Sergi of Portoscuso (Cagliari), shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Carabiniere Augusto Renzini from Nocera Umbra, shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Carabiniere Calcedonio Giordano from Palermo, shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Sergeant Franco Pepicelli of Sant’Angelo a Cupolo (Benevento), shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Lieutenant Colonel Manfredi Thalamus from Castellammare di Stabia, shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Sergeant Francesco Gallo from Catania, killed by hunger and privation in Dalmazia.
– Carabiniere Fortunato Caccamo from Gallina (Reggio Calabria), shot in the Fosse Ardeatine.
– Corporal Enrico Zuddas from Dolianova (Cagliari), hit while escorting the Chief of Staff of the Resistance front.
– Corporal Angelo Joppi from Viterbo, tortured to death in Via Tasso, Rome.
An Italian soldier in front of the ruins of the Carabiniere command post in Nassiriya

An Italian soldier in front of the ruins of the Carabiniere command post in Nassiriya

– Carabinieri Alberto La Rocca from Sora and Vittorio Marandola from Frosinone, shot in Fiesole August 12 1944, who gave themselves as hostages in place of convicted civilians (the same thing as happened in Palidoro).
– Carabiniere Fulvio Sbarretti from Nocera Umbra, shot in Fiesole a month later for the same gesture of heroically taking the place of convicted civilians.
– Carabiniere Filippo Bonavitola from Montella (Avellino), shot in Slovakia.
– Carabiniere Andrea Marchini from Massa Carrara, shot at Monte Carchio (Tuscany).
– Carabiniere Domenicao Bondi from Villaminozzo (Reggio Emilia), shot in Ciano d’Enza (Reggio Emilia).
– Carabiniere Lorenzo Gennari from Quattro Castella (Reggio Emilia), shot in Bibbiano (Reggio Emilia).
– Captain Dante Jovino from Resina (Naples), shot in Russia.
– Lieutenant Salvatore Pennisi from Sant’Alfio (Catania), shot in Russia.
One seems obliged – without diminishing the importance of others belonging to the Corps decorated, before and afterwards, with the Gold Medal for military valor – to remember today how many not only did not evade their duty, but were beacons in a very sad period in Italian history, who made it possible for people to continue to believe and hope in the resurgence of the country.
It was our hope that in peacetime there would be no further need or occasion for heroism. But are we truly in peacetime?



Italiano Español Français Deutsch Português