Thursday, June 11, 2009

Italain, etc. (for Italian)

This bragging bit of agitprop had lain inside a Fascist schoolbook from 1943 until recently, when it was found and posted to Wikimedia Commons. Italain was found four times in OhioLINK, along with Italin four times and Italan once. The word Fascism is derived from the Italian Fascio (or "bundle") and had long referred to political action groups across a broad spectrum. (For what it's worth, fasciate means "to swathe, wrap with bands" and is recalled mainly because it was one of the words that laid me low in a local spelling bee a couple years ago.) Benito Mussolini was a lifelong troublemaker who dabbled in various movements and parties before eventually becoming one of Europe's most infamous dictators. The Italian occupation of Ethiopia was notorious for its war crimes, which involved the use of mustard gas, forced labor camps, public gallows, and the mutilation of corpses. The 1937 slaughter in Addis Ababa was especially awful and invited the opprobrium of the international community.

(1942 Italian propaganda poster announcing "We Will Return" after the Amba Alagi and Gondar battles in Ethiopia, scanned and modified by Brunodambrosio.)

Carol Reid

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