Posted by: gurglin | January 8, 2011

1861-2011: 150 years of a peninsula turned into a State

Even if it would make much more sense to celebrate the fourth year of the annexation of Italy to Rumania – a de facto united “Free Crime Republic” – in these days are starting the celebrations for the 150th anniversary of Italy as a united country (without Rome, conquered in 1870).

At school we all learned Italy acquired its unity after a joint irredentist movement spread all over the country, with all “Italian” people freed by the Piedmont army. The story is slightly different.

History is written by winners, and not much room is left to defeated populations. Therefore not many historians admit this feast celebrates the victory of Piedmont that conquered many independent States and enslaved a variety of free nations.

Yes, depending from the perspective, things change. Herewith I enclose a document that briefly describes the Italian unification from the perspective of Southern people. It is composed of a long number of slides, but most of them are full of pictures and have few lines on each, making the reading of the whole PDF doable in less than 10 minutes.

I hope it will help preventing the misuse of the word “Italian” in describing anything ethnically and culturally (food, languages, habits, cities, expressions) separated, something that for more than 1,300 (one thousand and three hundred) years one could identify only geographically (“Italy is a mere geographical expression” said Metternich), because delimited by the Alps and the Mediterranean See. A territory overwhelming with diversities that was only recently forceful constrained into a united State by the invasion of a French speaking State of the north of the peninsula.

To the end, Massimo d’Azeglio, one leading political figure of Piedmont and later of Italy, said “we made Italy, now we have to make the Italians” (he also said that uniting with Neapolitans was like going to bed with a leper, demonstrating what he really thought about uniting the peninsula). Well, the process had an acme during fascism, with the nationalist hoax, and after that the Italian language started to be understood (not always spoken) all over the peninsula thanks to the introduction and spreading of radios and TVs, mainly during the second half of the XX century. But that was it. I wonder what they have to celebrate now…


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