"Museum on Fascism? There is a lack of sufficient distance and widespread misinformation

A contribution by Gigetta Dalli Regoli to the discussion about a "museum on fascism," in addition to Federico Giannini's August 4 editorial ("why can't Italy have a museum or documentation center on fascism?")

Federico Giannini’s article can be read by clicking here.

Dear Federico, I have the highest esteem for your work and for the quality of the magazine that you direct with so much commitment, and it is therefore that I add a brief comment to the issue of the Museum on Fascism and the appropriateness of the initiative, addressed by you with arguments that are well articulated on the most general level, and nonetheless questionable in relation to the current reality.

To answer your question in a comprehensive form (“Why can’t Italy have a museum on fascism?”) one would have to conjure up a dense and authoritative essay, but that is not in my intentions, nor is it in my expertise. Moreover, your question also deserves an answer that disregards the high-mindedness of historical research, and answers in elementary terms a question that seems to presuppose an obvious answer. While I appreciate your constructive interpretation of the project (which clearly does not belong to you and whose approximation you have pointed out), I think it is appropriate to express some doubts.

When a parent tells a lively, intelligent child that one should not pick his or her nose (also having valuable support today in the issue of COVID 19 contagion), the child himself or herself rebels and defends the legitimacy of an action that seems innocent ... and which the parent nevertheless judges risky. A similar situation of disagreement exists in relation to the problem addressed here, namely between those who considered the proposal reasonable and the many voices raised to reject it. In fact, the concept of the Museum implies a call for attention, and, jointly, a conciliatory fear that does not agree with a phenomenon and a series of events that have heavily affected our history.

I belong to the generation that was on the verge of putting on the black-and-white uniform of the little Italian girls, and that cape with the golden buckle on the chest that the children of that time liked so much; I missed it briefly, because I was not of age, but instead I had direct experience of the war, of the sudden changes in condition, of the loss of orientation, of the difficulty of adapting in a world whose extreme fragility was being discovered.

Today the attractiveness of fascism, based on the ease of the message and the rhetoric of the decisive gesture, still emerges to a worrying degree, when a calm critical awareness of the errors made and the deception behind the grotesque apparatuses should prevail. And so the need to reread the past is entirely legitimate and should still be supported, since the public opinion as a whole does not seem to have gained sufficient distance, and the consideration of the two decades is still clouded by widespread misinformation.

Further opportunities for discussion and confrontation should be promoted, unpublished or little-known documents should be published, and the reasons for the rapid success as well as the dizzying decline should be evaluated. But re-enacting that painful experience by placing fascism at the center, from the very inception, and dedicating to it a structure such as a museum, usually intended to preserve and strengthen a country’s identity... No, in the current situation the operation does not seem to be based on clarity and widely shared assumptions, and I hope that the serene conviction of rejection will prevail.

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