Reconciling with the Past Revisited: Italian Edition

The Jarvis article for this week very much reminds me of many of our discussions in previous weeks about German reconciliation with their past. The article describes the terrorist style killings that occurred within Milan, Italy from the 60’s-80’s, which would become notoriously known as the “years of lead”. “The city of Milan’s new “diffuse urban museum” is an attempt to reckon with the violence of the years of lead” (Jarvis). It is undeniably a noble undertaking to commemorate the past, and as the article states, “Confrontation with the past enables us to heal in the present, it claims. Remembrance enables reconciliation between victims and perpetrators, between far left and extreme right, between communities whose own memories have long been fiercely opposed” (Jarvis). Though it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows here, the museum may reconcile with the past, but what it needs to look for what still remains here in the present. Fascist violence is here and now, and you do not need to look very far. The article literally mentions how a far-right Italian politician shot and killed a Moroccan man recently. On this note, the Glynn reading on page 2 talks a bit a bit about how in the immediate aftermath of the “years of lead” in Italy no-one wanted to take part in any kind of wide-spread discussion on what had happened. While it’s understanding that mass killings will obviously be hard to talk about, if discussions aren’t had, and if understandings cannot be created between differing parties as to how and why these things happened, then what is stopping the violence from continuing? As we can see with the aforementioned recent killing of the Moroccan man apparently nothing.


Charlie Jarvis, “Milan Museum Commemorates Fascist Past at Expense of the Present” Hyperallergic (August 2, 2021),

Ruth Glynn, “Writing the terrorist self: the unspeakable alterity of Italy’s female perpetrators” Feminist Review (Jul 2009): 2.

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