Monday, May 25, 2015

Zio Nino

In memoriam: Bartolomeo "Nino" Pivetta (1922-1944?). My paternal uncle, an infantryman in the Italian Army, went MIA during in the Siege of Stalingrad. The family never heard from again.
With his Belgian wife and two-year-old daughter in tow, he tried to sneak back to the family farm near Pordenone, Italy. Alas, the carabinieri nabbed him at the border. He became fodder for Mussolini's war.
The court historians claim my uncle did not die for freedom. He fought against Stalin, FDR's beloved Uncle Joe, and on the same side as Hitler. Hitler at the time was the Implacable Enemy With Whom No Compromise Was Possible. It would be another year before Stalin took his place.
Timing is everything when it comes to empire, perpetual war, and shifting alliances. Sorry, Zio Nino.
Keep your enemies close. Keep your country closer. As my late father once put it, in his own inimitable way:
"What? Fight for your country? Are you crazy?! Where do you get ideas like this? No! You have no country! You know where my country is? Right here! Between my legs! That's my country! It's all I live for! It's all I fight for! It's all I'll die for!"

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Memorial Day Goes Groundhog

By all means, make it about a three-day weekend. Make it about parties and the beach. Make it about playing polo or square dancing or throwing a frisbee in the park. For the love of all that is decent and reasonable, make it about just about anything else.
What's the alternative? Honoring their sacrifice?
They killed and died in senseless wars. Isn't that clear to you by now? If we honor killing and dying in senseless wars, the politicians will keep sending them off to kill and die in senseless wars. Haven't you had your fill of that?
What does it take to get through to you? Do I have to grab you by the shoulders and shake you? Myth-building mantras do not reality make.
Those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Groundhog Day loses all charm when it showcases an endless loop of drone-struck foreigners and American flag-draped coffins. Enough already.