If eco-activists smear the monument to Montanelli (without having any idea how environmentalist he was)

By Chicago 8 Min Read

No charcoal. Here’s what they know about Indro Montanelli the self-styled guardians of the planet of “Extinction Rebellion” who in Milan wrapped the statue of the great journalist with yellow and black ribbon as a «symbol of a past, but also of a present, built on the myth of infinite growth, of the exploitation of territories, people, resources». But do they know what they are talking about?

ice the entire leading article published under the title «A new threat in Italy of poisons»on the
dated January 9, 1973, before Frank Sherwood Rowland wrote about
of the ozone hole and the oil crisis.

Here it is, that article: «Of all the European countries, Italy has the richest in refineries. (…) Because Italy is the only nation that is not satisfied with refining for its own needs. It also does this on behalf of third parties. And in fact a good half of its production is exported almost everywhere, even to the United States. It is not necessary to belong to the circle of “initiates” to understand the reasons for this supremacy. The other countries leave it to us willingly because, as it is written in the declarations of the managers, first of all they don’t want to die poisoned by oil, the most polluting of all ingredients; secondly, they do not consider this activity profitable due to the very high cost of the purification plants required by law. The secret of Italian raffinomania is all here. Only in Italy does this industry ensure easy and substantial profits because it is free from any toll on public health. It has a license to kill.”

Heavy words. Signed by the greatest Italian journalist on the front page of the greatest Italian newspaper against the largest Italian poisoning companies in the most obtuse and accomplice sloth of politics who did not have the slightest awareness of the environmental degradation then in progress. And it wasn’t a question of the impromptu wheelie of a capricious Tuscan. But of one of the many “missiles”, to quote Beppe Gualazzini, which Montanelli fired for years in defense of our heritage landscape, environmental, artistic.

Against the building owners: «Italy will be, as they say, the “cradle of art”. But in this cradle the most sinister assassins of the landscape scamper. Always because of that desire to be crowded together, the concrete overwhelms the grass and submerges the most beautiful valleys and the most picturesque coasts».

Against the “modernization” of Venice starting from the demolition of an old wall in piazzale Roma even before Italia Nostra was born: “Any blow of the pickaxe in this city, even when it is necessary, represents a national mourning. One can suffer it with resignation, like the death of a loved one. But celebrating it as a party, no, it’s not allowed.” Against the “rapallisation” of Liguria: “The boom years will go down in history as those of the systematic destruction of the former garden of Europe, because the billions in the hands of the Italians are more dangerous than the atomic bombs in the hands of the Bantu”.

Against familist selfishness: «Every Italian fiercely defends his own things. But none of them, or almost none, defend the things of the Italians, that is, that collective patrimony of which no other people in the world possesses the equal. We are only proud of it in words. And it is precisely this stupid, pompous, empty and rhetorical verbosity that annoys me in Italian patriotism». Against the defense of private freedom: «There has never been anything that has managed to make me doubt the need to safeguard private property and initiative. Nothing, except the urban planning of our cities. Their expansion in concentric waves, which haphazardly accumulates neighborhood after neighborhood, with streets reduced to crevasses between concrete overhangs, bears witness to the blindness of the private interests of owners and builders, their sadistic refusal of any criterion of building decency, and shakes our faith».

And again against the frenzied “spontaneous” developmentism in the noblest and most precious Veneto: «But what will visitors come to visit? when Asolo will have been submerged by a nice anthill of skyscrapers, when its hills will be bristling with chimneys, when its air will be made unbreathable by their fumes? Why should the technician or worker of Sesto San Giovanni bother to come all the way to Asolo to find there the same pouring of cement, the same noise, the same smells, the same clouds of gas? That’s where the demagoguery of certain planners leads to.” And so on…

Indro Montanelli had nothing to do with it, with the “myth of infinite growth, of the exploitation of territories, people, resources” mentioned today like this, at random. From environmental illiterates. And if in hindsight it is easy today to express revulsion for the “Ethiopian marriage” of the then twenty-six-year-old Indro with a twelve-year-old (beyond the completely ignored historical context, Beppe Severgnini has already written it: “If an isolated episode were sufficient to disqualify a life, not a single statue would remain standing. Only those of the saints, and not even all”), it is indecent to ignore the rest.

And that is the strenuous defense of the territory remained intact (“Every row of vines or olive trees is the biography of a grandfather or a great-grandfather”) and dozens of battles, often prophetic and often indigestible to Montanelli’s right-wing world itself, which anticipated by decades many of the themes dear to those who call for a radical change after the mistakes of the past.

Don’t understand it once again, when never like today it would instead be essential that certain battles were shared, as Alex Langer invokedbeyond the political schemes or worse still party, it’s worse than offensive nonsense against the wrong target. It is an unforgivable mistake.

July 22, 2023 (change July 23, 2023 | 09:22)

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