Friday, February 19, 2010

Come muore un italiano

There are a few pieces I think are worth bumping up, on a roughly annual basis. You know, for the late-comers, and the inconstant of purpose. Those who don't have the fortitude of character to be faithful to the spirit particular to the prophetic utterances found in this blessed site. My, what a well-constructed sentence that was. And that one. But the lost war in Iraq, that we lost, is lost, and therefore over, and so not worth remembering. And my son is no longer there -- home, safe, although thinking of joining Pararescue, the PJs. Well, I only want what's best for him. But regarding the lost war of aggression against the innocent democratic leader of Iraq and its people oppressed by American imperialism by the war that we lost, we lost it, and it's probably best to forget all about it and concentrate on Saving the Planet from Global Warming. Even though the University of East Anglia, whence come most of the compelling and correct data about how bad anthropogenic Global Warming is that we're causing with our Carbon Emissions ... uh, even though the UEA (not to be confused with the model Islamic state where real freedom is and so much better than America, you know, the the United Arab Emirates, a country not at all racist even though it has Arab in its name, the way Arabia has the name of a family it its name, if you can imagine such a thing) refused to release its data for peer review, and lied about it, and the same with NASA it seems, and the Himalayan glaciers are not receding at all -- that was just some guy on the phone ten years ago supposing, and it got put in an article and then became dogma in a UN footnote, and there's been no statistically significant Global Warming whatsoever at all for the past 15 years ... um, well, America is bad and the war is lost, is the point.

But once upon a time it seemed important to be reminded of some certain aspect of human character, ineffable in brevity, and in the spirit of nostalgia for a less nuanced time, I resurrect this obviously wrong-headed and misleading and intolerant rightwing polemic, that's so bigoted, like me and all so-called Christians. Clear? So, with that simple apologia out of the way, herewith follows the above-referenced piece:


Fabrizio Quattrocchi. I hope I spelled it right. Kind of exotic. Italian, of course. When spoken well, Italian is the most beautifully musical of languages. When spoken well. I'm told English sounds pretty guttural. As a native speaker, I wouldn't know.

Odd, isn't it, how understanding changes one's perceptions. It shouldn't come as a surprise -- but sometimes it does.

Take, for example, Fabrizio Quattrocchi. A baker. Thought he'd pick up some extra money working as a security guard. Long story short, 14 April, 2004, he was kidnapped by thugs and murdered. They forced him to dig his own grave, then put a hood over his head and shot him in the back of his neck. Videoed. Well. We hardly need have any emotion about this. What is the world, after all, but a boundless killing field.

If we're lucky we make it to old age, and die peacefully -- our thin white hair smoothed by loving fingers -- surrounded by our loved ones, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Our last breath leaves us with a fluttering sigh, and we are still. Silence clutches the moment and there is some sadness, but we led such a blessed life, and our passing was so peaceful. All this, if we are lucky. On the other hand, perhaps it's a bullet into the base of the brain. Context is everything.

Oh. Context. Well, the thugs were islamists, of course. In Iraq, with its old-news failed forgotten non-war. So that makes a lot more sense. Normal thugs don't bother with the video part. Just sexual perverts. Oh, and moslim jihadists. Al-Jazeera refused to air the snuff film, pretending it was "too gruesome." A lie of course, since they show any number of similar islamist religious documentaries. What was it that made this particular video offensive to the moslims at Al-Jazeera? Hmm. It's on the tip of my tongue. Maybe it'll come to me.

Speaking of tongues, though, like I was before, one of the beautiful things about Italian is the way it savors the vowels. No wonder opera is best in Italian. German opera? Please. And the rhythm of it. The way it rolls. When spoken well, I mean. Take the sentence, Vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano. It's not poetry. It doesn't have any identifiable formal structure. Just something someone might say, in Italian. But isn't it beautiful? Doesn't it make a chill run down your spine? Doesn't it make you want to weep for some unknown and unspeakable reason? It grips the soul, and stirs up such a love of virtues almost lost, like a longing that every beautiful thing would last forever.

Anyway. A few years ago Fabrizio Quattrocchi was awarded a posthumous medaglia d'oro al valor civile. The Gold Medal for Civil Valor. A high honor. The Italian Left does not approve of his receiving the Medal. After all, wasn't he little more than a mercenary? And other similarly murdered Italians have not been so honored. (The "murdered" is my editorial interjection.) Well, different strokes, eh? Everyone's entitled to his or her opinion. These decisions are so often just politics anyway. No need for us to have any emotions about it. After all, we're not Italians. What would the awarding of a civil honor in Italy to an Italian have to do with us, in far off America? It hardly seems likely that there could be any lesson or relevance for us.

The Italian Left doesn't get it, of course. If they did, they wouldn't be on the Left. Signore Quattrocchi was not honored for being a victim.

Vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano. Fabrizio Quattrocchi's last words. He uttered them as he tore off the hood the islamists had put over his head, spoiling their money shot. "Vi faccio vedere come muore un italiano!" he cried out as he ripped off the hood, just before they murdered him.

I'll show you how an Italian dies!



Anonymous said...

This is the most pretentious tripe I have read in a long, long time.

Jack H said...

I suggest you don't have a solid understanding of the word "pretentious". Nothing highflown or overblown here. What you probably are attempting to communicate is that you feel it is manipulative. But thanks for searching it out, and reading it carefully.