My Name is Juliana
“My name is Juliana Gostini. I am 86 years old and I live in Boulder, Colorado. I was born in Rome, Italy, in the year of 1924.
“I remember the war. I remember seeing Allied bombers flying in formation overhead.
“It was the time of Benito Mussolini. He was the dictator of our country and life was not so pleasant for us. We had to have a card saying that we were a Fascist. We had to have the card to get a job. The problem was that my father was against it. So, my father didn’t get a job and that made it very hard for our family. I was very upset.
“What I remember most is when I was 16 and our all girls school was told to attend a speech given by Mussolini at Piazza Venezia. I did not have a school uniform, so I had to borrow one from a friend. When I saw him on the balcony it made me worry. I wondered how such a short man could be so powerful and make us live in fear.”
So begins my daughter’s “historical monologue”. A recent class project for her middle school, she chose a longtime friend and neighbor of ours as the “historical figure” she would portray. “Julie”, as we had come to know her, was delighted to help.
During the same week, I received an email from my daughter’s school principal:
On Tuesday, September 14, President Obama will be addressing the students of our nation. We’ve been directed by the Boulder Valley School District Education Center to offer all students the opportunity to view this speech* live…
A download-and-print waiver was attached allowing parents, that object to this type of activity, to have their child excused from attending the viewing. “A quiet place”, it said, will be provided for students as an alternative. Full name of student. Full name of parent/guardian. Must be filled out and turned in. All nice and legal like.
I forget who said it, but a favorite quote I remember is: “The study of history shows that people don’t study history.” My wife and I did not sign the waiver. It was another opportunity to teach history to our child.
The Cult of Personality. Piazza Venezia, 1940: Thousands gather to adore “Il Duce”: Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=resyF2Jfm1o
This gigantic struggle is nothing other than a phase in the logical development of our revolution; it is the struggle of peoples that are poor but rich in workers against the exploiters who hold on ferociously to the monopoly off all the riches and all the gold of the earth; it is the struggle of the fertile and young people against the sterile people moving to the sunset; it is the struggle between two centuries and two ideas.
Socialism and war: Mussolini speech June 10, 1940, Declaration of War on France and England: http://historicalresources.org/2008/09/19/mussolini-speech-of-the-10-june-1940-declaration-of-war-on-france-and-england/
*Cultivating false Hope – maintaining the illusion: Obama Speech to Students Video, Transcript Sept. 14, 2010: Presidential Back to School Address: http://www.shallownation.com/2010/09/14/obama-speech-to-students-video-transcript-sept-14-2010-presidential-back-to-school-address/