From the Department of "Non Ci Sono Parole": Name Your Kid After Il Duce, Get a Check

Tricolor Flame Social Movement: €1,500 Bonus for Every Little Benito or Rachele

Emanuele Buzzi
Corriere della Sera
February 8, 2009

English translation by ProvenWrite

MILAN — In the name of Benito and Rachele, money is pouring in like rain. The plan to provide a 2009 stimulus payment of €1,500 to couples who promise to name their children after Il Duce, Benito Mussolini, or his wife, Rachele Guidi, has met with an unexpectedly positive response from all over the world. Donations are outstripping applications for the baby-name bonus, and the program, launched last November by the Basilicata-section secretary of the neo-fascist party Movimento Sociale Fiamma Tricolore (the Tricolor Flame Social Movement), Vincenzo Mancusi, is collecting sums far beyond anything he had anticipated. (“Tricolore” is a reference to the red, green, and white Italian flag.)

“We have €516,000 available for this project,” Mancusi explained to the Corriere, “and offers of help are coming in from everywhere in the world. A woman in Madrid sent us €16,000 and said she was ready to sell off some of her property to support this initiative.”

It’s a success well beyond anything the party had imagined, Mancusi said: “We expected to be able to provide funding for ten or twenty babies.” Meanwhile, donations have come in from as far away as Carinthia (Austria) and France, and sometimes in surprising numbers. In fact, the windfall has even aroused the curiosity of the BBC and the Russian state television network.

The first applications for the bonus payments have also been received from the five communities “at risk for depopulation” to whom the program was originally addressed. “Six couples have contacted us, and two have consented to the terms of the agreement that would give them the right to receive the payments.”

Is there, among them, some die-hard Fascist party militant? Not at all, says Mancusi: “These are complete strangers to the movement. We’ve never issued membership cards to them.”

Most are couples between 25 and 35 years of age, “with a low to average standard of living.” The future beneficiaries of the fund do not include residents of other Italian regions or immigrants; instead, they are “all Lucani,” Mancusi confirms, using the antique name for the Region known today as Basilicata.

In the meantime, requests have begun to appear from a dozen or so towns located throughout the rest of the Region: “Some of the other residents of Basilicata feel they’re being discriminated against. We’ll probably extend the project to the entire Region within a few months.”

In addition to the area covered by the incentive plan, the slate of names may be broadened as well. “Certainly,” says Mancusi. “Democracy means the opportunity to choose. I’d propose Giorgio as an alternative to Benito and Assunta for Rachele.”

But Pino Rauti, former head of the Movimento Sociale Italiano (a right-wing party founded in 1946 by survivors of Mussolini’s Fascist government) and of the Tricolor Flame and currently party secretary of the far-right Movimento Idea Sociale, dismisses the bonus for Basilicata’s newborns: “I find the idea of speculating in futures for children’s names or this sort of sentimental nostalgia unbelievable. This initiative is like some kind of time warp.”

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Posted on 8 February 2009, in Italy, Italian, Italians (in that order) and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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