Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Italia

CR&S celebrate the 150th anniversary of the unification of Italy with the construction of the VUN Tricolore.

I Mille (the one thousand)

On this day, one hundred and fifty years ago, the peninsula of Italy was united as one nation. One of the decisive acts in uniting the disparate Italian states was the famous march of Giuseppe Garibaldi. In 1860, with a force of just 1000 volunteers (the redshirts), Garibaldi sailed from Genova (in the north) to conquer the island of Sicily. After decisive victories, and with his army swelling in numbers, he crossed to the mainland and marched north conquering Naples and uniting with the Piedmontese army from the north. This campaign led to the eventual unification of the Italian peninsula and its freedom from various foreign powers of the day (France and the Habsburg empire).

 Giuseppe Garibaldi
Il Tricolore

Il tricolore, the three colors (green, white and red) of the Italian flag, originate from the days of the 'first Italian republic'. This was comprised mainly of the northern Italian regions of Lombardia and Romagna (i.e. CR&S territory).

The VUN Tricolore will be on display at the "Esperienza Italia" exhibition in Turin. The event celebrates the anniversary of the Italian Unity. After one month of exposure, the VUN will will be substituted by a Tricolore version of the CR&S DUU.

Italy in Crisis

The Italian leadership of today seems blithely out of step with current world events: The Italian premiere fawns over and publicly kisses the hand of Muammar Gaddafi, who upon returning to his kingdom of Libya, begins to brutally repress and murder his people; Japan struggles to prevent a major nuclear disaster, while Italy prepares to hold a referendum on whether to allow the construction of nuclear reactors on Italy's earthquake-prone territory (the referendum is worded in such a way that if you are against changing the law to allow nuclear reactors you must answer "yes" - 'furbo').

Today, in Italy, it is difficult to find someone who is enthusiastic about 150 years of Italian unity. The nation seems increasingly divided into various factions: north vs south, communists vs fascists, AC Milan vs Juventus. And while public attention is diverted over such intractable divides, political and global business interests are exporting the country's industrial heart. The place and status of women in Italian society is being undermined and eroded at all levels by the mainstream media, the advertising industry and of course the scandalous acts of its political leadership. The once proud performing arts are being axed, even the ancient excavated city of Pompeii has begun to collapse, building by building, through bungling and neglect.

Perhaps it is time, once again, to remember the fateful words of Giuseppe Garibaldi: Qui si fa l'Italia o si muore.

VUN photos gratefully supplied by

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