Memorial to Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani sparks new controversy in Italy (Italy Defence, 15th Aug ’12)

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September 13, 2012 by neverforgetcampaign

Italy Defence, 15th Aug ’12:

The construction of a mausoleum and memorial park, dedicated to Field Marshal Rodolfo Graziani, has kick-started new political controversy in Italy.

Graziani, who commanded the Italian forces during the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, is known as the “Butcher of Ethiopia”, for the rampant human rights abuses and crimes against humanity which his forces committed there. Earlier, he had earned the title of “Butcher of Fezzan” during the handling of the Senussi rebellion in Libya. He also played a significant role with the fascist Italian forces during the World War 2.

Esterino Montino, the Vice-president of Regional Administration of Lazio condemned the decision to build the memorial for Graziani, saying that such incidents can’t be tolerated at this age. He also deplored the humanitarian abuses committed by the troops of Graziani during his deployment in Ethiopia.

The memorial was inaugurated last Saturday, in the village of Affile, located some 30 miles to the east of Rome. Ercole Viri, the mayor of the village attended the function, along with a few other politicians and a representative from the Vatican. The mayor belongs to a far-right party, which has been ruling the village administration for the last few years. Viri justified the construction of the memorial, saying that Graziani was unarguably the most famous individual hailing from the village.

Graziani is still remembered for the extreme brutality shown by him in suppressing the rebellions by Libyan Arabs in the Cyrenaica region. Tens of thousands of Libyans were killed, and many more were sent to concentration camps. During the Second Italo-Abyssinian War, Graziani ordered the use of chemical weapons against the Ethiopians. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians died as a result of poisoning from mustard gas.

Graziani was sent to jail for his crimes during the World War 2 in 1948, but was released from the prison in 1949. After his release from the prison, he unsuccessfully tried to revive the Italian Social Movement (MSI). He died in Rome on 11th January 1955, after moving to the capital city from Affile.

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