Sunday, January 27, 2013

Berlusconi praises Benito Mussolini and his government

Former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who is in the midst of an attempted political comeback for the parliamenary elections of late February, praised the dictator Benito Mussolini, whose Fascist Party gave its generic name to a range on anti-democracy movement who essentially rejected not only 19th- and 20th-century democracy but the 18th-century Enlightenment. Berlusconi was ham-handed enough to do so at a Holocaust memorial event in Mailand, Italy. James Mackenzie reports in Berlusconi defends Mussolini, draws outrage from political left Reuters 01/27/2013:

... Berlusconi said Mussolini had been wrong to follow Nazi Germany's lead in passing anti-Jewish laws but that he had in other respects been a good leader.

"It's difficult now to put yourself in the shoes of people who were making decisions at that time," said Berlusconi, who is campaigning for next month's election at the head of a coalition that includes far-right politicians whose roots go back to Italy's old fascist party.

"Obviously the government of that time, out of fear that German power might lead to complete victory, preferred to ally itself with Hitler's Germany rather than opposing it," he said.

"As part of this alliance, there were impositions, including combating and exterminating Jews," he told reporters. "The racial laws were the worst fault of Mussolini as a leader, who in so many other ways did well," he said, referring to laws passed by Mussolini's fascist government in 1938.
One would hope that it was not only "the political left" from whom Berlusconi's defense of the Italian dictatorship drew outrage.

This is not Berlusconi's first time making public statements seemingly approving of Il Duce. There were other such incidents in 2003, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, on a visit to Paris he referred to Mussolini as the "great and powerful dictator." But Sunday's praise seemed to be the most explicit overall statement of approval for Mussolini on Berlusconi's part.

See also: Adnkronos News, Shoah, Berlusconi choc: "Mussolini fece bene, leggi razziali la sua colpa peggiore" 27.01.2013

Paolo Colonnello, Giornata della Memoria, Berlusconi: "Leggi razziali la peggior colpa, per altro Mussolini fece bene" La Stampa 27.01.2013

Berlusconi: «Mussolini fece anche cose buone» Poi il dietrofront: «Fascismo fu dittatura» Corriere della Sera 27.01.2013

Holocaust-Gedenktag: Berlusconi schwärmt von Mussolini Spiegel Online 27.01.2013

Berlusconi lobt Politik des faschistischen Diktators Mussolini Süddeutsche Zeitung 27.01.2013

Scheidender Premier: Berlusconi vergleicht sich mit Diktator Mussolini Spiegel Online 09.11.2011

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