Reasons to Stay Together

Mas Publico

In 2011, Roberto Benigni, the Oscar winning Italian comedian, took the stage of the San Remo musical festival while riding a live horse.

Benigni then gave a majestic speech about the Unity of Italy, during the year of Italy’s 150th anniversary. At that time, Silvio Berlusconi was in power and many of his party members and other right wingers were loud supporters of secessionism.

The ideal of the Italian Northern League was, and is, to free northern Italy from the poverty and corruption of the nation’s South. This notion made more sense before the Northern League was itself was found corrupt, and when Northern Italy still had some money.

Benigni’s voice trembled with emotion while he sang the anthem “Fratelli d’Italia,” admonishing the audience of millions that a martyred young poet wrote that song, and gave his own life for the unity of Italy. How could the poet’s countrymen undo that deed and confound the nation’s martyrs on a whim?

That phrase made tears come to my own eyes. I remembered my dying mother who told me with passion: You cannot give away Kosovo just because you are a dissident against Milosevic. Kosovo is the heart of Serbia, you didn’t fight for it, like we did, and your grandparents too! More

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