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Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it

By Staff | Sep 9, 2020

To the editor:

My family arrived in the United States following World War II. When they arrived they were refugees of war — their cities bombed, their economy in ruins. They had survived the rise of Mussolini who, at first to many citizens in Italy, seemed to be someone who promoted Italian pride, invested in infrastructure. But things began to become very grim and twisted. Mussolini was an expert at using patriotism, propaganda and religion to make Italians feel proud, but he had a sinister goal in mind and slowly groomed and manipulated a nation, turning neighbor against neighbor. He became a dictator.

Mussolini then allowed the Nazis into Italy while he sent able bodied men overseas to fight in wars. The Nazis slowly took over the country side. Thousands of Italian Americans were rounded up and shot, others sent to holocaust camps. The economy crashed as Italy was plunged into war. Starvation spread, cities were bombed. My Great Uncle Ernesto remembered a Nazi soldier shooting a fellow German messenger in the street after he heard that the Americans were coming. Another Nazi soldier held a gun to my Great Uncle’s head when he was only 12 years old – -he was trying to sell the soldier eggs.

After the Nazis invaded, our beautiful and intelligent Italian Princess Mafalda of Savoy attempted to help the United States by providing intelligence to the Allies. Hitler had her sent to a holocaust camp where she died.

Today, I see the same rise of fascism in the United States. We have a President who behaves recklessly. Trump shut down our Pandemic Team in 2018, the team that was created to protect us from viruses, leaving our country vulnerable to COVID. 160,000-plus Americans have now died of this virus. Had he been president during Ebola we would have had that plague sweep across the nation. White House archives show that President Obama created the Pandemic Team and sent doctors and military to Africa to stop the spread of Ebola. What a difference in leadership this illustrates.

Since taking office Trump has stoked racism and hate in this country. Republicans in his party have invited white supremacists to GOP fundraisers and events.

Mailboxes are being removed which will cause a delay in ballots being processed. A news story came out proving that Trump was aware his ally Putin is paying people to kill U.S. soldiers. This is not what should be happening in our country.

Our economy is in shambles, people have lost work, people are getting sick from COVID and yet we see some still continue to praise and mindlessly follow him.

Enough is enough. We must learn from history and not repeat it. When you cast your ballot remember those who have died. Let them not have died in vain.

To my fellow Italian Americans-remember those in Italy who did not listen until it was too late.

C.A.Hughes, MSW

Cape Coral