May First : Mussolini had a problem with my grandmother’s birthday
ORLANDO SOLLECITI indomitable anti-fascist community leader and my great-grand father.
In case you are not aware of it, the first day of May, also known as May Day, is International Workers’ Day.
It also happened to be my grandmother’s birthday.
She was born at the very beginning of the 20th century in the southern part of Tuscany, Maremma, which was one of the most underdeveloped areas in central Italy, in those days.
Her father, Orlando, was a skilled artisan, building wheels for horse drown carts in his own workshop.
He was also a firm believer in worker’s rights, and a community leader, well known for his anti-fascist views.
During the Mussolini years a team of black shirt fascists, would come to arrest him every year at the end of April and put him in jail, torture him, and then release him the second week of May.
This was, really, to prevent him to celebrate his daughter’s birthday and, consequently, celebrate May Day.
May Day might not mean much anymore for a lot of people today, but for me it remains an important day of remembrance.
Not only I think of my dearest grandmother, but also about the social values her father fought and eventually died for.
Today I ask myself what happened to those values.
I only find difficult uncomfortable answers, which I swallow with sadness and pain.