Wow, how’s that for a newspaper marketing ploy? This is what I saw at the newsstand (hallowed source of many of my cultural observations) this morning, after taking my son to school:
It’s a poster for the right-wing newspaper “Il Tempo” and says: Shocking Photos. Don’t Let Your Children Read Il Tempo Today
Ok. So, I didn’t feel shameless enough to actually fork over money to see what they were
hawking talking about. So I went online, and discovered that you can actually browse the front page of Il Tempo online for a total of, like, THIRTY WHOLE SECONDS before they cut you off and a pop-up tells you to pay for the digital version. Isn’t that fun? I thought it was sort of fun. You can do it too! This story, incidentally, was also covered by right-wing daily Il Giornale (not winning any awards for creativity in the naming department). I, however, am 100% Swiss (cheese) when it comes to Italian politics.
Anyhoo, here’s the deal. Today on the top fold, just below the ol’ masthead proclaiming IL TEMPO loud and proud, there are these “foto choc.” And, there’s the rub, people. I done found myself smack dab in the middle of a political maelstrom, when all I really wanted to do this morning was walk home in peace, to my makeshift Bialetti moka cappuccino and store-bought, overprocessed cornetto. But, such is life.
So here’s the deal. Ever heard of foibe? Yeah, don’t worry, you don’t have to feel ashamed or ignorant. I hadn’t either. Unless, you have. In which case: you get a gold star—yes, you—right there in the middle of your smarty pants forehead. Now, go on outside and play now, while the rest of us suffer inside this here blog.
Foibe, friends, comes to me by way of the hallowed Treccani encyclopedia people and their 2010 Historical Dictionary. Just to make me feel even more historically ignorant, I found this article on Wikipedia, entitled Foibe killings. (Shame on me for not knowing this, but then again, you learn something new everyday.)
The foibe killings or foibe massacres refers to the killings that took place mainly in Venezia Giulia, Istria and Dalmatia during and after World War II from 1943 to 1949, perpetrated mainly by Yugoslav Partisans, against the local Italian population. In Italy the term foibe has, for some authors and scholars, taken on a symbolic meaning; for them it refers in a broader sense to all the disappearances or killings of Italian people in the territories occupied by Yugoslav forces.
Apparently, our Rome mayor Ignazio Marino (I know! Can you imagine? Ignazio! That would be Ignatius to you and me. Like someone straight outta Harry Potter, am I right?) announced that Italian students would no longer have funding for taking field trips to the foibe on the annual Day of Remembrance (February 10) to commemorate and honor the tragedy of the massacres, established by law (apparently it goes by Law 92) in 2004. This has caused a stir among right and center-right politicians who think it’s offensive that Italian students will no longer be able to take the trips to commemorate the historical event.
To quote Wiki, the day “has received some criticism from the Italian radical left and in Croatia claiming it was an “attempt at neofascist revisionism”.[8“
So, the shocking photos were not of scantily clad women after all, as I had hoped and could have had a good ha-ha about. They are actually photographic documentation of the tragedy (kind of a shady way to market your newspaper, frankly), and Il Tempo reports that the photos make up part of keeping the public conscious of honoring the tragedy, and the online version has a digital slideshow “dedicated to Mayor Ignazio Marino to remind him of the horror and compel him to not cut funding for the Day of Remembrance trips.”
Also interesting is that the only response from Marino that I can seem to come up with thus far is from his Twitter feed (!), in which he states that his office is “in contact” with the Società di Studi Fiumani, which from what I can gather, is an association that manages the history museum and archives in south Rome (EUR) dedicated to Fiume, Dalmatia, and Istria, about recognition of this year’s Day of Remembrance with Roman schools.
So, there you have it folks. A little history and current political controversy for you. Never let it be said that Rome is all just espresso, old stuff, and pasta! It’s also using bold, ALL CAPS signs to sell newspapers with “shocking photos” that turn out to be victims of a WWII tragedy. What’s that, you say? Propaganda? Nonsense. Let’s all go have a coffee, shall we?
Back to the trenches, folks. Have a good one. Oh yeah, Ignatius can be followed here. No idea who Gloria is; can’t help you there.