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Il Bruttopaese, II

Il Bruttopaese, II

George De Stefano (May 6, 2008)
Nicola Tommasoli, beaten to death in Verona by neofascist thugs

Neofascist skinheads beat Nicola Tommasoli to death because he refused to give them a cigarette. One commentator sees the killing as a sign of an alarming new social climate in Italy.



 Some of the best, if most disturbing, analyses of Italy’s recent elections appear in the British daily, The Independent. The paper’s Rome correspondent Peter Popham, in a May 6 article, unequivocally uses the “F” word to characterize the climate of right wing reaction now erupting in Italy.

Popham begins by describing a horrifying recent incident – the beating to death of a young man in Verona by a gang of fascist thugs after he refused to give one of them a cigarette – and persuasively links such violence to what he calls “an alarming new experiment.”


“On the cusp of what may prove to be the worst slump in living memory, the far right is closer to the heart of power than at any time since the fall of Mussolini,” he observes.


Popham notes that “the key players in the new Italian right wear beautiful suits and pastel ties and take to the heights of institutional power like ducks to water.” Gianfranco Fini, the Alleanza Nazionale leader who is the new speaker of the Chamber of Deputies, is a slick salesman who peddles a rightist politics purportedly cleansed of bigotry and terroristic violence.


But, Popham says, Fini and his ilk “hang on to an irreducible, core idea, and it is the same idea that impels clean-living young thugs to beat up people who refuse them cigarettes, or who have long hair, or have dark skin, or speak with southern Italian accents.”


Popham quotes the Verona prosecutor who is investigating the killing of the young man: “There is a way of thinking which is very widespread these days, which rejects what is different, those who don't dress like us, don't eat like us, don't speak with our accent, in defense of a system that they simply maintain is better than that of others and that therefore must be defended with violence."


“Rejecting what is different: that primitive reflex was at the source of the anti-Semitism of the Nazis, and also explains the electoral success of the Northern League in northern Italy over the past year,” Popham concludes.


Popham’s article, “Italian fascism is once again on the rise,” can be read at:


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