Skip to comments.BUSH IN ROME: BERLUSCONI'S DECLARATION (Hurrah!)
Posted on 06/03/2004 5:33:26 PM PDT by ellery
(AGI) - Rome, Italy, June 3 - Here is the entire text of the prime minister's speech:
"A people which forgets its past cannot build a bright future. That's why it is right for us Italians to recall the 4th June 1944, when, sixty years ago, the allies freed Rome, our capital, from the Nazis, two days before the US troops landed in Normandy, to liberate Europe. Those were the last days of our winter.
The US president is now on visit in Europe to commemorate those painful but glorious days. He will come to Rome, then to Paris and Normandy. Well, a part of our political sphere are using this visit as an excuse to express their hostility towards the United States. That's why I decided to intervene, because Italy must prove to the world it is a good host, that it knows its history.
I am not worried by freedom of expression and thought: that's the essence of democracy. What worries me is the possible, absurd violence which we have already witnessed. I am worried by the conviction of some youngsters that burning a flag or breaking a shop window can make one stronger. But that is totally wrong.
Yet what I really fear is that an extremist demonstration may lead the Italians to forget the real, profound, historical meaning of the event we're celebrating. Some of us have lived those days, while the majority of us have read about it. They must know that their fathers, their grandfathers, who took up arms against the Nazis, considered the allies as saviours. They must know the price the Americans paid to free our continent. Half a million killed in world war II. More than 7000 killed on D-Day alone, in Normandy; 25,000 killed to liberate Italy.
Some of them rest in peace in our country, buried in Anzio. I suggest you visit that cemetery, and see the names of people unkown to you: John, Charlie, Robert, Ted, Howard... Men aged 20, 22, who gave up their life for our freedom.
An ancient bond links us to the USA. Millions of Italians found their well-being in that hospitable country. Our brotherhood with the USA dates back to those days, and cannot be deleted.
Besides, after the war, the reconstruction of our cities and our economy was made possible by that generous Marshall Plan, which allowed Italy to head for its economic miracle. It is even thanks to America that many Italians, thieves of bicycles, could then buy a Vespa and a Fiat Seicento.
We must not forget. When two terrible planes violated New York's sky and demolished the Twin Towers, killing more than 3000 people, we said that we all felt American. We didn't say that just because we were touched, but because that attack was also an attack against the western world, and the entire world. We realised we were facing another threat to our freedom.
We thought that after the fall of Communism, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the era of peace would finally come. But terrorism declared war on us, a war which we never thought we would have to fight. The most vile of wars.
Not always has the international community been wise enough to tackle this threat. Once Afghanistan was freed from the Taliban regime, democracies diverged on the Iraqi affair. I don't want to comment them again. I just want to say that Italy didn't take part in the war. We only sent troops after Saddam Hussein's fall, and following a parliamentary debate and the UN resolution 1511. Peace keeping troops, the same as we did in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Afghanistan, to guarantee security and the operating of hospitals, schools, social services. In order to restore democracy.
We must be proud of our soldiers. Hence, our mission in Iraq is a peace-keeping one, but someone still denies it. We cannot mistake the prey with the predator! A peace-keeping mission doesn't cease to be so just because of the attacks of terrorist militia. On the other hand, that's when our presence becomes even more important. Soldiers are sent to carry out these missions because they are high-risk ones. Withdrawing our troops from Iraq today would be . 032122 GIU 04
I have always enjoyed my visits to Italy, and will continue to do so.
Great speech...God bless him for giving it...God bless the Italian troops for their sacrifice and the Italian people who support us in this war.
Bravo Italia! Bravo Berlusconi!
Obviously, the Prime Minister does not read the NY Times.....
Berlusconi talks straight, not like a politician. He doesn't have that BS socialist agenda clouding his thoughts. Maybe he has been reading Cicero, finding out what it was that made Rome great in its day.
Bravo to Berlusconi!
Alright Dubya is in Italy
Ditto on everything that you wrote!!!!
This statement will only further convince the Euro-weenies (which does not include all Europeans, but they seem to be a solid majority) that Berlusconi is a right-wing radical. Practically a new Mussolini (yes, the irony will be lost on them for using this statement to bolster that belief).
I'm of Italian ancestory and he's the *ONLY* PM I've known by name my entire life. That says something, lol.
Fly over : Jets from the Italian special unit airforce known as 'Frecce Tricolori'(Tricolor Arrow) spread smokes in the colors of the national flag over central Rome during the Day of The Republic celebrations. (AFP/Paolo Cocco)
One of the 3ID troops who landed at Anzio, the late Samuel Lucido, later met a young girl named Assunta in Rome. Twelve years later, here I was.
It seems that the Italians have not forgotten our sacrifice. I hope that the good relationship between our 2 countries continues. Of all European countries I want to visit Italy is at the top of my list!!!!!
"They must know the price the Americans paid to free our continent. Half a million killed in world war II. More than 7000 killed on D-Day alone, in Normandy; 25,000 killed to liberate Italy."
"Some of them rest in peace in our country, buried in Anzio. I suggest you visit that cemetery, and see the names of people unkown to you: John, Charlie, Robert, Ted, Howard... Men aged 20, 22, who gave up their life for our freedom."
Bravo Signore Berlusconi, BRAVO!!!
I am so sorry my dad never heard Berlusconi's words, both today and at Camp David about 2 years ago. He would have been so happy to hear it, because he loved the Italians.
God Bless him for having the courage to speak the truth. His statement is a wonderful tribute to all of the soldiers who fought in the war.
We now invite the Italians in a raid against an even more dangerous enemy --
I wonder if the Italians know how grateful we are to have them by our side in this fight. We won't forget.
Wait... is this true? I saw NOTHING about this on the evening news.
my daughter just returned from abroad studies in florence,also spent time with our family members still in sicily.she had a wonderfull time and was treated with great care and respect by this lands great people.
i commend this speech but my heart is greatly saddened that fine italian blood was tainted when italians came here and entered into a evil agreement with the unions and dems.
Great, I feel even better about boycotting French Wine and buying Italian.
It might be referring to Ladri di biciclette (Bicycle Thieves), an Italian film made in 1948 which focused on the economic problems following the war. I haven't seen it, but imdb.com has a listing for it.
Including my maternal great-grandparents who both hailed from Sicily!
I like Silvio Berlusconi!
This is a beautiful expression. I've sincerely enjoyed reading this piece. Thank you for posting.
Not a bad thought, that.
He's hearing them from Heaven, Miss Marple. Bravissimo to your wonderful, courageous father.
"It is even thanks to America that many Italians, thieves of bicycles, could then buy a Vespa and a Fiat Seicento."
The joke is that after the war, the Italians were so poor that they took to stealing bicycles throughout the country because they needed wheels but couldn't afford cars. There was even a famous movie that identified with this phenomenon called "The Bicycle Thief".
Ping for a great tribute to America and our soldiers!
I agree whole heartedly with that statement. Sad but true.