East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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Liberation Day

We are approaching the end of a month that’s been particularly complicated, and painful. But there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and let’s hope it’s not the incoming train. In the meantime, today is April the 25th, and in my country we celebrate the Liberation from the Nazi occupation and the Fascist Regime.

As I think I mentioned in the past, my grandfather was one of the men and women who came down from the mountains where they had been fighting as partisans, and took control of our cities, waiting for the Allies to roll in. On this day he met his old friends, they remembered, and they cried, and it was weird, as a small kid, seeing big grown up old men crying.

This morning, as I wandered on my socials, I got the usual rubbish – a well known politico suggesting we celebrate less the Liberation day and “work more”, and also a friend, that posted a long piece about how he will not celebrate, because he was born free and we that are celebrating are the ones whose freedom is an illusion.

That gave me pause.
Because it is absolutely true – my friend was born free.
And he was born free because the people we celebrate today laid their lives on the line, and risked everything, not only for their freedom, and the freedom of their families, but for our freedom, the freedom of those that would come.
And indeed, had they not done what they did, probably posting on the socials about our freedom, and our choice of not observing a national celebration, would be met not with a shake of the head and a post on some backwater blog like mine, but with a bunch of guys in black shirts, armed with truncheons.
Maybe, who knows, there would be no socials.
Maybe there would not be us.
The same goes for the dork recommending us to work instead of celebrating – the Regime he likes so much would never allow him or his friends to step out of line.

And finally there is the young woman I’ve been knowing since she was in middle grade, that posts about “history being written by the winners.”
Oh, baby, we should thank our good stars that the winners were those men and women that cried along with my grandfather, all those years ago.

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April the 25th

Today is the 25th of April – and Italy celebrates the end of the Fascist regime and the end of the Nazi occupation of Italy.
On that day partisan and allied forces entered Turin, the city where my family had lived during the war years.


Today is a National Holiday, and it is the day I remember my grandfather, whose codename was “Il Povero” (“The Poor Man”) and that fought with the partisans for the liberation.
He had done his part because he believed it was the right thing to do, and he did not expect any compensation – but for his efforts he was awarded a small refund of a soldier’s pay, and was then downgraded from engineer to janitor when he got back to work for FIAT.
Apparently somebody did like the Nazis and the Fascists, after all.

Anyway, here’s for my grandfather and for his generation.
And for everybody else.
Let’s put the pressure on…