We've written in these pages about Cecchin, but not of X Mas. As you've probably guessed, the letters don't stand for Christmas. The organization dates to 1940, when the 10th Light Flotilla, also known as Xa (for Decima - 10th) Mas, was born. As unlikely as it seems, its purpose was to sink "enemy" ships--mostly British and some American ones--in Italian waters, using "manned torpedoes" (basically explosives work carried out by frogmen).
|A Rome wall in the Trieste quarter, 2012. |
MAS... [figlia nostra/our daughter]
After Mussolini was ousted from power in the fall of 1943 and subsequently freed by the Germans, the group was reconstituted as X Mas, ostensibly an independent military corp, but in reality there to serve the Repubblica Sociale Italiana, a puppet government of Fascists, under Mussolini, also known as the Republic of Salo'. For two years, X Mas worked with the occupying German army, hunting down partisans, participating in roundups of Italian men for work in Germany, contesting the Yugoslav armies that threatened the country's northeast frontier, and otherwise assisting the Nazis as the Allies made their gradual advance up the peninsula. Its members were ultra-nationalist and believed deeply in the value of armed conflict, including the "bella morta" (beautiful death) in combat.
|Get yours now|
|Gianni Alemanno, center, as a young man|
In this case it's right-wing and one-time street punk Alemanno doing the daring: daring today's liberals and leftists to tolerate his indiscreet and provocative behavior; daring the city's young leftists not to take offense; daring the city's sensible voters, and the international political community, to see him as something other than a fool. How sad for this great city to be governed by a man who cannot manage to set aside the passions of his adolescence.
For other discussions of the right-wing in Rome, see (among others) a post on Zippo and one by Paul Baxa. We've mentioned Mayor Alemanno in many posts; just search "Alemanno," but this short one may say it all.