It’s good news that a book and movie are about the character Lieutenant Salvatore Todaro, hero of war and humanity. Unknown to most people, but definitely worth knowing. The film is in post-production with a title Leader. The protagonist is Pierfrancesco Favino, the director is Eduardo de Angelis, who is also the screenwriter along with the two-time witch Sandro Veronesi. The latter, contrary to what is usual, took from the script a novel of the same title, which will be published the day after tomorrow, January 25, by the publisher of Pompeiani.
Salvatore Todaro is a war hero – and a champion of humanity – of fascism. He was born in Agrigento in 1908, the same year he was born John Jawarski (which in nature is somewhat similar to him), from Cesar Pavese (which looks nothing like him), and several others that we leave alone, and Tagashi Nagai, the miracle of holiness in the atomic explosion over Japan. Todaro died before all of these, in 1942.
His personality witnesses and teaches many things. His whole short life was in the service of the Italian Royal Navy under the supreme command of the Fascist regime. Except for a brief period in which he was involved in flying, during which a plane crash caused spinal injuries that would force him to wear a corset and endure the pain for the rest of his life. The remarkable event took place on October 16, 1940, in the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Madeira Island, where the submarine “Capellini”, under the command of Todaro, took part in a mission that was to block the sea lanes of Madeira Island. The United States and Great Britain supported Brittany, the Germans, during the Battle of the Atlantic.
That night, Todaro sighted an enemy Belgian steamer, the Caballo, carrying aircraft parts and operating under British command and sank it with cannon fire. and took care of the rescue of 26 drowning enemy crew. first by towing the longboat (then by sailing dangerously on the surface); Then, when the lifeboat gave way, it was even loaded aboard and carried safely to a bay on an island in the Azores. After that, Commander Todaro continued with the missions he was destined for, being assigned the famous X Mas. He died in 1942, on the deck of the Cefalo, wounded in the temple by shrapnel from a bombardment by an English fighter. He left behind his wife, married in 1933, and two children. And a beautiful collection of medals for valor.
But let’s go back to 1940.
After the ship sank, Caballo’s second officer asked Todaro: “But you, who treat an enemy in this way, what kind of man are you? You see, if I had not slept in my cabin when you attacked us by surprise, I would have shot you with the cannon, pardon my bluntness” . “I am a man of the sea like you,” replied Todaro, “and I am convinced that in my place you would do the same.” He answered me “at least tell me your name”. “Salvatore Bruno,” omitting his title and raising his hand to his eyebrow in salutation before leaving. But when he saw the Belgian remaining, he asked him, “Have you forgotten something?”. “Yes,” answered the other with tears in his eyes, “I forgot to tell you that I have four children: if you do not want to tell me your name for my personal satisfaction, agree to tell me so that my children may remember you in their prayers.” And Todaro: “Tell your kids to remember Salvatore Todaro in their prayers.”
Todaro’s behavior angered the commander-in-chief of German submarines, Admiral Karl Dönitz. “Even the Good Samaritan in a gospel parable – snap – would not have done such a thing.” “Gentlemen,” he said, addressing his fellow Italians, “it is a war, not a missionary crusade. Signor Todaro is a good captain, but he cannot be a Don Quixote of the sea.” The German commander would never have done that. And Todaro replies, “But they don’t have, like me, two thousand years of civilization behind them.” Also from the fascist myth of the greatness of Rome, he was able to draw the conclusion of humanistic, classical and Christian values.
There won’t be much to comment on. However, one can confirm, telegraphically, something for today.
1. There is in every human being an original predicate of humanity, a sense of right and goodness, which cannot be sold or surrendered to power. There is something more to be obeyed than authority, and in this lies human dignity and the use of freedom. Heroic, but not necessarily heroic.
2. Defining fascism as “absolute evil” is a historical and theoretical falsification. Much work of post-war historiography, from the Matrix of Communism and Contributors, has been produced and published, also and above all in textbooks, with this ideological preconception.
3. This did not happen by chance: it was functional in the adoption of communism, originally undemocratic, but – after the Stalin-Ribbentrop pact – also placed on anti-fascism, as a judgment on the recognition or otherwise of the democratic nature of the other political forces .
4. The post-communist welcomed economic liberalism and the new individual rights without excessive trauma, as well as the historic opportunity to stay in government, with Christian Democrats on the left, for decades, not always with the popular vote. But she always needed to define ultimate evil as an axiomatic enemy. With appropriate variables, and Debenedettiane little justice, the system was used against Berlusconi. Which made them equal by calling them communists. Thus we have lost years in an empty, bipolar war.
5. Meanwhile, post-fascists position themselves against fascism as “absolute evil.” Vinny Did It (2003, Jerusalem), perhaps too fascinated by modernism; Meloni never denied it (imagine), and wisely steered the trip toward the prospects of conservative liberalism.
6. The age of pure evil is over. The DP shot a bird (or two) but it wasn’t stopped. “Reality is a bird that has no memory. You have to imagine it in which direction it is going,” Jaber sang. It’s not like saying that. Because: “We are always behind, and reality is ahead.”
In government or in opposition, we can only hope that political forces come to terms with reality, and not with an absolute (false) enemy of the good. And perhaps with men who have at least a little of Commander Todaro’s heart and dignity.
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