One Ronde Doesn’t Mean It’s Spring….
As if we didn’t have enough to worry about, the Italian government is about to give the official nod to the recently formed Italian National Guard (Guardia Nazionale Italiana), whose website you can see here and whose uniforms and emblems might just remind you of something. If the law is approved, the GNI will activate its posses (they call them “citizen patrols”) in public places in Italy as a means to “help” the beleaguered police, whom the GNI is convinced are failing to maintain public order.
The GNI is a loose association of ex-cops, ex-military, and ex-Fascist party adherents (though perhaps, in the latter case, you could even leave off the “ex”) heartily supported by Interior Minister Roberto Maroni, who was quoted in yesterday’s La Repubblica as saying, “We want citizens to be able to support the police forces in our cities. People say, ‘They want street patrols.’ Yes, street patrols are exactly what we want…. Anything else is just idle chat. We’re not going to back down, despite the accusations that we’re trying to bring back the Black Shirts and all the rest. We’re going to see this through because it will bring greater security to our cities.”
The step you might have missed—a linkage that Maroni and his cronies have by now forged in Teflon—is that “more security” is a euphemism for “fewer immigrants.” For the GNI, the site says, “the Italian citizen is the first and most important pillar of the State,” a phrase not without a certain level of euphemism all its own. An alarming number of Italians, meanwhile, have swallowed—hook, line, and sinker—the equation “foreigner=danger,” and that particular genie isn’t going back in the bottle any time soon.
For the record, the GNI denies that the “Black Sun” they’ve adopted as a symbol has anything to do with the similar logo used by the SS during World War II or which has more recently been employed by NeoNazi groups. On the GNI site, instead, they trace the Sole Nero back 13,000 years and associate it with the Kaliyuga. Just like when you spy a swastika tattooed on the shoulder of the skinhead who is burning a cross on your lawn, it doesn’t have anything to do with Nazism. He only put it there because of his deep spiritual connection to an ancient and holy Sanskrit symbol.
The GNI, meanwhile, officially insists that it is an apolitical “patriotic group” organized to provide an outlet for citizens who feel the call to serve their country in a concrete fashion and established as a direct response to reductions in staffing and funding for police forces. As of this writing, the GNI claims to have enrolled 2,500 Guardisti, who are simply waiting the approval of the proposed legislation that will authorize them to begin their patrols in Milan, Sicily, Puglia, and Calabria.
The street patrols will be carried out by unarmed militiamen (and –women?), who will nonetheless be equipped with donated vehicles, boats, and even an airplane. Charles Lambert has more to say about it on his blog, “Dressing Up.”
It’s times like these that make you long for an Italian Civil Liberties Union, Of course, that would only work in a country that had any.