15. Va pensiero sull’ali dorate (Go, thought, on wings of gold)
From the Opera Nabucco (1842)
Written by Temistocle Solera
Music by Giuseppe Verdi
Performed by Orchestra e Coro Dell’Arena Di Verona
From the CD Classical Soundtracks Collection, Great Movie Themes Vol. 3 (Classic Art, Italy 2006)



Va’, pensiero, sull’ali dorate.
Va’, ti posa sui clivi, sui colli,
ove olezzano tepide e molli
l’aure dolci del suolo natal!
Del Giordano le rive saluta,
di Sionne le torri atterrate.
O mia Patria, sì bella e perduta!
O remembranza sì cara e fatal!
Arpa d’or dei fatidici vati,
perché muta dal salice pendi?
Le memorie del petto riaccendi,
ci favella del tempo che fu!
O simile di Solima ai fati,
traggi un suono di crudo lamento;
o t’ispiri il Signore un concento
che ne infonda al patire virtù

Go, thought, on wings of gold;
go settle upon the slopes and the hills,
where, soft and mild,
the sweet air of our native land smells fragrant!
Greet the banks of the Jordan
and Zion’s toppled towers.
Oh, my country so lovely and lost!
Oh, memory so dear and despairing!
Golden harp of the prophetic seers,
why do you hang mute upon the willow?
Rekindle our heart’s memories and speak of times gone by!
Mindful of the fate of Jerusalem,
either sound a song of sad lamentation,
or else let the Lord give us the strength to bear our sufferings!


Zero. Punishing Babylon

Why would God send the King of Babylon Nebuchadnezzar to attack and enslave Judah then punish Nebuchadnezzar after he followed the command of God Jeremiah 25 v 9 to 12?


God wanted to punish Babylon before all of this happened. He used them to punish Israel for being rebellious, yes; but he was going to punish Babylon anyway. Once he ejected the nation of Israel out of the Promised Land, then he got back to his original work – punishing Babylon. (0)


On December 12, 2008 at 12:54 am Candiyummy114 (0) said:
i don’t understand why he would be so rude.’

Source: http://wiki.answers.com/


One. Va Pensiero and the unification of Italy

Nabucco – short for Nebuchadnezzar – was composed by Giuseppe Verdi in 1842. The Libretto was written by Temistocle Solera and is based on the play of the same name by Anicet-Bourgeois and Francis Cornu and the Book of Psalms, Chapter 7, verses 1 – 10, in which the state of Judah, having broken a treaty with the far more powerful kingdom of Babylon, has been invaded and its King and his subjects deported from Judah.

The verses find the exiled Israelites languishing on the banks of the Euphrates. Those among you with a passing knowledge of 1970s Euro pop and [or] Jamaican music may recall the verses from the Psalms by way of a song by a Jamaican songwriter, Brent Dowe, which was a hit for his group the Melodians in Jamaica and the UK in the 1960s, and went on to become a European hit for the German based, Caribbean glam pop group, Boney M:

1 By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.
3 For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion.
4 How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?
5 If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.
6 If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.
7 Remember, O Lord, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Rase it, rase it, even to the foundation thereof.
8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall He be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.
9 Happy shall He be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones. [1]

That last verse might come as a bit of shocker, but the He in question, Yahweh, was a after all a god of war. In The Bible – The Biography, Karen Armstrong tells us that in 586, when Nebuchadnezzar’s forces invaded Judah and destroyed the Israelites temple to Yahweh, the Israelites worshipped a number of deities while also worshipping Yahweh, whose condition of protection and sustenance was the promise of absolute loyalty. Armstrong surmises that some Israelites believed that their exile and the subsequent destruction of the focal object of their cult was punishment for having reneged on their promise.

On the subject of the life of the Israelites, Armstrong writes ‘The exiles were not ill treated in Babylon. The king was comfortably housed with his entourage in the southern citadel, and the rest lived together in new settlements by the canals and were allowed to manage their domestic affairs. But they had lost their country, their political independence, and their religion.’ [2]

When Temistocle Solera wrote the libretto for Nabucco, Italy was not yet a nation. It was a series of kingdoms and republics made so after the conquest of the French Republic and the division of Italy by the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and here we quote an article from The New York Times of May 7 1859, titled Origin of the War in Europe – Austrian Rule in Italy: ‘to the restored King of Naples was given his old real, the Italian inheritance of the Spanish Bourbons. Upon an area nearly equal to that of New York this sovereign was to rule over ten millions of subjects, and the whole Southern region of the Peninsula. To the Pope was confided an area equal to Maryland and Massachusetts with three million people, in the centre of Italy and stretching from sea to sea. An Austrian prince, of the young branch of the House of Habsburg, held Tuscany, with two millions of people; and a fertile region on the west, locked in upon its northeastern borders by the smaller states of Parma and Modena, and also ruled by the princes of Austrian extraction and alliance, and with a combined population of about a million souls. Northern Italy was divided by the river Ticino and the Lago Maggiore between the Houses of Savoy and Habsburg, the former kings of Sardinia, possessing a domination to the West about as large as South Carolina […] the latter as Kings of Lombardo-Venetia holding a region half as large as Maine, with a population of about five millions […]’ [3]

The Congress of Vienna ended Napoleonic rule in Italy, restoring old regimes. The deposed Emperor Napoleon, who governed Italy as a series of French republics and satellites, left two important legacies: a sizeable Italian middle class and a sense among them of what life might be like if Italy was a unified country, a desire to belong to the modern world of nations and to experience self rule – a desire compounded by the Congress of Vienna’s decision to take the peninsula back to the past via a method of domination and government redolent of the Habsburg family’s rule of Italy, which had began in the early 1500s.

This desire was initially expressed through struggles by the Italian aristocracy for a shift from imperial rule to constitutional monarchy – which the Austrians were having none of. The desire for reform grew into a demand for transformation, expressed through growing support across the kingdoms for the unification of the peninsula into a single sovereign state. Social and economic depression and a series of revolutions marked the rise of the Risorgimento (‘re-awakening’), the Italian independence movement.

In 1830 there were revolts in Bologna, Forlì, Ravenna, Imola, Ferrara, Pesaro and Urbino. The Austrians were deposed and the creation of the Italian nation was declared – only to be summarily crushed by the Austrian army the following year. But the desire for a nation remained. In 1842, when Solera started writing Nabucco, Italy was moving toward a period of protracted struggle which would end Austria’s domination and bring about the creation of the kingdom of Italy in 1861 and the unification of Italy in 1871. Between 1859 and 60, the kingdom of Piedmont-Sardinia, aided by France, led the struggle against Austria. Garibaldi and his redshirts conquered Sicily and Naples, and by 1870 Italy was a united monarchy under Victor Emmanuel of Piedmont.

Nabucco has a four-act structure and its central protagonists are King Nebuchadnezzar and his captives, the exiled Israelites. Act one, Jerusalem, narrates the events leading to King Nebuchadnezzar’s destruction of the Israelites temple. In act two, The Unbeliever, Nebbuchadnezzar declares himself God, orders the execution of the Israelites, and is struck by lightning.

Incidentally, we found three scenarios describing what happened to Nebuchadnezzar after being struck by lightning: the Wikipedia page for Nabucco says simply that he lost his senses. At AllAboutPhilosophy.org, we are informed by Eugene H. Peterson and Randall Niles, authors of The Great Pursuit: The Message For Those In Search of God (NavPress 2007), that Nebuchadnezzar was ‘stricken with a psycho-mania, which caused him to act like an animal. He grew long hair and nails, roaming about the countryside grazing on grass.’ [5] At christiananswers.net we discovered that Nebuchadnezzar was ‘afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of madness known as lycanthropy (i.e. ‘the change of a man into a wolf’).’ [6]

In Nabucco’s third act, Prophecy, mad King Nebuchadnezzar is usurped and made prisoner by one of his daughters, Abigail, and pleads for the freedom of the other, Fenena, who has converted to Judaism and is to be sent to her death. Meanwhile, on the banks of the Euphrates, the Jews bemoan their impending doom, and it is at this point in the opera that the chorus, Va Pensiero, kicks in. Act four sees Nebuchadnezzar regain his sanity, rescue his daughter, free the Israelites, restore their kingdom and, in doing so, complete the transition from bad King to mad King to servant of God, whereupon he is named King of Kings by the Israelite priest Zachariah. [7]

The opera premiered at the La Scala on March 9 1842 and was a huge success. Verdi later commented that, ‘with this opera, my artistic career may be said to have begun’ [8]. We’re not sure about Solera, but Verdi appears to have supported the Risorgimento. Here’s an extract from a letter he wrote to his publisher while in Paris, on March 21 1848, three days after the insurrections started in Milan: ‘You can imagine whether I wanted to remain in Paris, after hearing there was a revolution in Milan. I left the moment I heard the news; but I could see nothing but these stupendous barricades. Honour to these heroes! Honour to all Italy, which in this moment is truly great! The hour of her liberation has sounded, you may be convinced of that. It is the people who want it: and when the people want something there is no absolute power that can resist them. […] You speak to me of music!! What’s got into you? . . . Do you believe I want to concern myself now with notes, with sounds? . . . There is and must be only one music welcome to the ears of the Italians in 1848. The music of the cannon!’’ [9]

The success of the opera and its identification of ancient Babylon with imperial Austria and the exiled Israelites with the nationless Italians, sealed by a shared desire for nationhood, made Nabucco the subject of mythmaking in the service of nation building. This is from Wikipedia page on Nabucco: ‘Scholars have long believed the audience, responding with nationalistic fervour to the slaves’ powerful hymn of longing for their homeland, demanded an encore of the piece. As encores were expressly forbidden by the government at the time, such a gesture would have been extremely significant. However, recent scholarship puts this and the corresponding myth of ‘Va, pensiero’ as the national anthem of the Risorgimento, to rest. Although the audience did indeed demand an encore, it was not for ‘Va, pensiero’ but rather for the hymn ‘Immenso Jehova’, sung by the Hebrew slaves to thank God for saving his people.’ [10]

And here is an example of such recent scholarship – Verdi in Milan, a talk given by Roger Parker, Thurston Dart Professor of Music at King’s College London, in which Professor Parker tells us a little more about the myths surrounding Va pensiero: Va pensiero, Parker tells us, ‘became, and to some degree has remained, entangled in an alluring tale about opera and politics, a neat tying-together of the two that we seem willing and eager to consume again and again.

According to this story, ‘Va pensiero’ and certain other Verdi choruses of the early and mid 1840s became a rallying cry of the Italian ‘Risorgimento’: their new manner energized the Italian national consciousness, encouraged the masses to the barricades in the revolutions of 1848 and generally accompanied the formation of the nation state in 1859-60. There is, though, a small problem with this story: so far as the 1840s are concerned, there’s hardly any historical evidence to support it […] Verdi’s reputation as ‘bard of the Italian Risorgimento’ was real enough, but it was constructed in the latter half of the nineteenth century, when a young, newly consolidated, fragile Italy urgently required cultural monuments in order to create a sense of national identity: a moment in which the gentle nostalgia of ‘Va pensiero’ became a potent recollection of simpler times.’ [11]


Two. Wicked Babylon and the ghost of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Two years after these revisions of the myths surrounding the role of Va Pensiero in the unification of Italy, the myth of Babylon as the heart of all iniquity and the location of Yahweh’s punishment, as described in Nabucco’s source, the Old Testament, was laid to rest through the work of an international exhibition created by the Louvre in Paris, the Pergamon in Berlin, and the British Museum. Babylon: Myth and Reality, opened at the British Museum in London in November 2008 and closed in March 2009. It focused on the period between 605 to 562BC, when Nebuchadnezzar was king, and if the ghost of Nebbuchadnezzar were to have wandered through the exhibition we think he would have given the British Museum a spectral murmur of approval.

The show confronted Biblical myth with archaeological evidence. ‘Here’, wrote Observer reviewer, Neal Acherson, ‘is the ‘East India House slab, which is Nebuchadnezzar’s own commemoration, in great detail, of his majestic rebuilding of the city’s sacred districts, the Babylonian ‘world map’ on baked clay, and the tablet describing the creation of the world by the supreme god Marduk.’ [12] And reviewing the show for The Times, Michael Binyon passed on the good news that the whole mad King Nebuchadnezzar thing was a case of mistaken identity: ‘the scriptures have conflated two historical events: there is no evidence that Nebuchadnezzar became insane; it was his successor Nabonidus who was afflicted with disease (probably scurvy) and vilified after he fled the city when it was captured by the Persians. […] In fact, for Nebuchadnezzar, the sack of Jerusalem and seizure of Jewish slaves was only a minor incident in his wars of conquest and struggle against Egypt for supremacy.’ [13]

Neither bad nor especially mad, Nebuchadnezzar was, wrote Times journalist Rachel Campbell-Johnston, ‘not a brutal tyrant but an ambitious and pioneering leader who created in his capital a famed centre of learning, many of whose legacies are still with us today.’ [14] It was in Babylon, Binyon tells us, ‘that an hour was first divided into 60 minutes, the months were named and many vital astronomical observations were made, including the methods of predicting the movements in the heavens. The Babylonians calculated the times for the risings of zodiacal signs, made nightly observations of the skies and recorded their findings so accurately that most of their astronomy formed the basis of later Greek scholarship and mathematics.’ [15]

We imagine the ghost of Nebuchadnezzar would also have been pleased that Babylon: Myth and Reality also reminded the public that ancient Babylon is modern Iraq, and that far from being a site of divine punishment, it is a casualty of modern warfare. This is from a report by Times arts reporter Ben Hoyle: ‘American, Polish and other coalition troops set up a military camp amid the ruins of Nebuchadnezzar’s sprawling city, near the modern city of al-Hillah, in April 2003 and stayed there until December 2004. John Curtis, the keeper of the museum’s Middle East department, said: ‘A lot of damage was done between their arrival in the immediate aftermath of the invasion and when they left the site. It was scandalous – like driving a tank between the stones at Stonehenge.’

Babylon has been spared the fate of many other historic sites in Iraq, which were ransacked by looters hunting for antiquities, but it will never recover from its occupation by more than 2,000 soldiers.

Mr Curtis said: ‘The damage wasn’t done by locals. It’s not looting. It’s digging long trenches for military purposes, levelling areas of the site, driving heavy vehicles around it, contaminating earth full of archaeological evidence, bringing in earth from outside Babylon and establishing a helipad in one of the most famous sites of the ancient world. What they did is irreversible.’ [16]

Guardian journalist Robert Booth also interviewed Curtis for a piece published a few months before the exhibition opened: ‘John Curtis, keeper of the museum’s Middle East department, has described Babylon as ‘one of the most important archaeological sites in the world.’ Babylonian civilisation included the first known legal code and written language, as well as early examples of the use of dictionaries, astrology and weights and measures.

Curtis’s report into the destruction caused by coalition troops will form the backbone of the final part of the show, which considers the impact of Saddam Hussein’s regime. In the 1980s, Saddam rebuilt Nebuchadnezzar’s palace by placing a concrete ziggurat on a mound over the city’s archaeological remains. [Curtis’s] report shows how archaeologically important deposits were used to fill sandbags and how gravel and fuel were poured over swathes of the site, damaging remains beneath. ‘It’s a tragedy of the highest cultural consequence unfolding before us and nobody is caring,’ said [architectural historian Dan] Cruickshank. ‘The British Museum is absolutely right to raise this issue. We need to debate what is happening to this place and the 10,000 other archaeological sites across Iraq that have not been fully documented and recorded.’’ [17]


Three. Va Pensiero Now: The Northern League

Returning for a minute to the subject of ghosts, we wonder whether Verdi ever took spectral form – has anyone has seen Verdi’s ghost in Milan, fading through the walls of the Scala theatre, drifting around the streets of Roncole di Busseto, where he was born in 1813, or in the shadows of the Verona Arena on an evening when Nabucco is performed in the open air amphitheatre, as it is every year. We wonder whether Verdi would have approved of the uses to which his music was put in creating an Italian national identity.

Verdi’s hometown is located in the Parma province of Padania, the northern region bisected by the Po valley and which comprises a third of Italy and is one of its wealthiest regions. In 1996 Padania was also the object of a planned separation from the Italian state government by the Northern League political party. The party’s leader Umberto Bossi chose the chorus of  Va Pensiero as Padania’s national anthem. Here is Edward Coleman on the Northern League, from the October 1996 edition of History Today: ‘The Northern League – originally the Lombard League before it was expanded to include like -minded organisations from all regions of northern Italy – began as a protest movement against the corrupt party political system, the centralisation of state bureaucracy in Rome, and above all, taxation. In the opinion of the League’s supporters, the hard-working, law-abiding population of the North conscientiously paid their taxes only to see them squandered on the unproductive and crime-ridden South.

From modest beginnings the League has risen to become a major political force in Italy in the 1990s. It entered government as a coalition partner of Berlusconi in 1994 and then withdrew its support causing that government to collapse at the end of the year. Under the populist leadership of Umberto Bossi it has since taken up a more radical stance. Whilst previously calling for autonomy for the North within a federal Italian state, in this year’s elections it presented itself on a platform of outright independence.’ [18]

We wonder whether the ghost of Verdi, floating down the Po valley, drawn to the sound of his music trailing behind the Northern League’s election campaign as it made its way through the north, would have found the calls for separation somewhat at odds with his support for the Risorgimento.

New York Times journalist Celestine Bohlen reported that Padania’s independence celebrations were to include a fleet of ships sailing from Mantua to Venice under Bossi’s victorious guidance [19]. At some point in the proceedings Va Pensiero would have been performed, probably as an accompaniment to the hoisting of the flag of Padania. Bossi shifted the Northern League’s attentions to immigration when separatism proved unpopular with the voters. By 2001 the Northern League had struck an alliance with Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and had entered the political mainstream. That year Berlusconi made Bossi minister for devolution. In 2008 Berlusconi appointed him minister for federal reform. By then the Northern League was part of the Italian Parliament and Bossi had become one of the most influential members of Berlusconi’s government.

Bossi’s call for the replacement of Italy’s national anthem, Fratelli D’Italia with Va Pensiero didn’t amount to anything, but it wasn’t without support: ‘The music of the current anthem is indeed mediocre’, wrote Christian Science Monitor correspondent Anna Momigliano in August 2009. ‘ – quite a shame for a country that has produced artists of the calibre of Vivaldi and Puccini, not to mention Mr. Verdi himself. The lyrics are also difficult to understand, and a bit too militaristic for my taste. I always wondered, in school, why we had to sing three times: ‘We are ready to die, if Italy calls.’ As a fourth grader, I didn’t hold martyrdom as my top priority. Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi might have been thinking the same thing, when accompanied those lyrics with a ‘not so sure’ hand gesture during his party convention in March.’ [20]

And on the question of immigration, Bossi’s thinking about what ought to be done with the hundreds of boats which in June 2003 alone had carried three thousand illegal migrants from North and central Africa to Italy was pretty straightforward: the boats, after they had been emptied, should be shot. This was a clarification of his earlier idea that the Navy open fire on the migrants. Bossi had told the press that he wanted to hear the roar of cannons.


Four. ‘echoes of the 1930s.’

One possible connection between Bossi’s affection for Va Pensiero and the Northern League’s escalating role in fermenting racism in Italy might be found in Bossi’s view of Northern Italy as an oppressed nation [21], as the Jews of Verdi and Solera’s composition were – albeit by the Italian government, the economically less well off Southern region, foreigners in general, Romanian immigrants, the Roma population, and Africans in particular: according to the Wikipedia page on the League, six Northern League representatives were prosecuted for inciting racial hatred in 2004, although the Court of Cessation later cancelled their sentences. [22]

And when Roma were blamed – without evidence – for a series of rapes the Northern League’s Roberto Maroni, who was also the mayor of Rome, Berlusconi’s minister of the interior, and deputy prime minister, ordered the destruction of dozens of Roma encampments. Writing for euobserver, Leigh Phillips described how ‘A crazed crowd of locals attacked and set fire to a camp of the Roma, and a pitched battle ensued, resulting in hundreds of families once more fleeing in search of shelter further and further out in the desert of the periphery of Rome.’ [23]

Here are a few extracts from Phillips’s report on some of the responses from the EU political and human rights communities: ‘Following the attacks, interior minister Maroni announced he would press for an emergency decree accelerating the authorisation of local ‘patrols’ to assist police by hunting out and reporting on any ‘illegal activities’ perpetrated by immigrants. […] In October, the Northern League announced that it would organise patrols in immigrant and Roma areas of Turin and Piacenza. In July 2007, criminal proceedings were launched against the leader of the Northern League faction on the Opera town council for inciting violence against Roma ahead of an arson attack on a gypsy encampment.

Under the draft’s new laws, local councils would be able to create and co-ordinate these patrols. On 6 February, the Senate approved the measures as part of a ‘security package’ of laws, but the lower house, the Chamber of Deputies, has yet to do so.

The legislative package would also establish a census of homeless people, with their ethnicity recorded in a database held by the Interior Ministry, and would require that doctors report irregular immigrants to the police.

The centre-left opposition Democrats managed to amend the bill to prevent the patrols from being armed and to limit their activities to the reporting of suspicious activity.

The patrols are also not to engage in ‘territorial defence activities’ as originally envisaged in the legislation.

The EU’s Amsterdam Treaty of 1997 gave the bloc a procedure by which the member states can impose sanctions against one of their number, including revoking its voting rights, in the event of a ‘serious and persistent’ breach of human rights.

What defines one is left unarticulated, but Amnesty International believes that the sequence of Italian government actions in relation to immigrants and the Roma amount to such a breach.

‘Technically, no individual groups have been named in the legislation,’ the group’s EU office deputy director, Natalia Alonso, told EUobserver. ‘But in reality, in the context of what is going on – arson attacks on camps by these non-state actors, the census’ ethnic profiling, anti-Roma speech by politicians – we know exactly who the legislation is targeting. Europe needs to hold the Italian government to account. This is a serious and persistent breach of human rights as described in the treaty.’

UK Liberal Democrat MEP Sarah Ludford, deputy chairwoman of the European Parliament’s sub-committee on human rights, told this website: ‘Dealing with integration, these informal settlements can be a real headache, sure. But this is dealt with by proper public policy – processing, reversing cutbacks to police services, improvements in border control, training of immigration officers – all the standard sorts of administrative work of a proper, developed EU country. If migrants are afraid of going to the doctor lest they be deported, then they won’t go, no matter what infection they have. What about cholera or TB? This is atrocious public health policy, let alone the racism of it. And you hardly need an emergency decree to create a neighbourhood watch. These are de facto vigilante patrols, quasi-fascist. There are echoes of the 1930s.’’ [24]

This idea of Italy, in its treatment of its immigrant communities, evoking its fascist past also surfaced in the March 30 2009 Guardian editorial, Italy – Fascism’s Shadow, published after Gianfranco Finis’ ex-neo fascist Alleanza Nationale party joined Berlusconi’s Forza Italia. The editorial was summarised by Workers’ Liberty correspondent Hugh Edward: ‘The newspaper pointed out how, alone of the former axis powers, post-war Italy had never completely confronted its fascist past, concluding that despite the efforts of Fini to distance it from that legacy it remained tainted by that tradition. ‘A day of shame’, it further declared.’

The theme of Italy’s fascist past drifting into the present, haunting the country’s political landscape, permeates Edwards’ report: ‘The newly elected ex-young fascist mayor, now Alleanza Nationale announced a hue and cry campaign to clean up Rome and empty the camps, forcing the immigrants into one of the 53 enclosed camps that dot the Roman littoral (there are 340 in all in Italy the only country in Europe that in spite of the Roma’s persecution and annihilation in the lagers of the Nazis, still demands the enclosure of a people 70% of whom are Italian citizens descended from people living in Italy from the 13th century).

The camps to which they are condemned to exist are like army barracks, surveiled 24 hours a day, with exit and entry controlled by resident permit, work permit, passport, identity card. The gates are locked at 10 o clock – for everyone. Many have no heat or light, none have drinking water nor sewers, many are not accessed by bus routes and those that are require long walks. Many schools are only accessible by special coaches, requiring long journeys and late arrival in school with early departure. The cold and stark language of statistics speak of the consequences of the inhuman condition the Roma and other Slav immigrants suffer.

Among the Roma population (140,000-170,000 — the lowest percentage of any population in Europe) the life expectancy is 50 as against the 70 years for the average Italian.

In Rome, the epicentre of Roma life in Italy there are 16,000-20,000 Roma. Only one of those registered is over 80. Of the 13,000 Roma children in Rome 2,500 attend school. Only two go to a high school, none has ever graduated, nor has any member of the Roma ever been offered a normal house of bricks and mortar.’ [25]

There are hauntings going on here, an echo, in the Northern League’s treatment of Roma and African immigrants, in Bossi’s valorising of Va Pensiero, of the past in the present, a displacing of the memory of the condition of powerlessness, fragmentation and domination, experienced historically by Italy, onto the figure of the Roma and the African, in order to erase the memory, not of the struggle against these things, but of powerlessness itself, of the condition of weakness which cannot but be evoked in the triumphal, celebratory reception still accorded to Va Pensiero.



[0] http://www.wiki.answers.com/Q/Why_would_God_send_the_King_of_Babylon_Nebuchadnezzar_to_attack_and_enslaved_Judah

[1] http://www.everything2.com/title/Psalm%2520137

[2] The Bible – The Biography, by Karen Armstrong, Atlantic Books, 2007

[3] Origin of the War in Europe – Austrian Rule in Italy, The New York Times, 7 May 1859

[4] ibid

[5] The Great Pursuit: The Message For Those In Search of God, by Eugene H. Peterson & Randall Niles (NavPress 2007), quoted in AllAboutPhilosophy.org

[6] http://www.christiananswers.net

[7] http://www.wikpedia nabbuco

[8] http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Nabucco

[9] War & Peace in the Operas of Giuseppe Verdi, by Philip Gossett, Midwest Meeting, Bulletin of the American Academy, Spring 2007

[10] http://www.wikpedia nabbuco

[11] Verdi and Milan, by Professor Roger Parker, Gresham College, 2007

[12] It’s a sin, what we’ve done to this place, by Neal Ascherson, The Observer, 16 November 2008

[13] Return to the demonised and fascinating Babylon, by Michael Binyon, The Times, October 25, 2008

[14] Babylon: Myth and Reality at the British Museum, by Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times, November 10, 2008

[15] Binyon

[16] Babylon ‘will never recover from Iraq war’, by Ben Hoyle, The Times, 10 November 2008

[17] Exhibition exposes modern tragedy of Babylon, by Robert Booth, The Guardian, 14 April 2008

[18] Italy’s first Northern League, by Edward Coleman, History Today, Vol. 46, October 1996

[19] Secession for Northern Italy Goes Forward, Symbolically, by Celestine Bohlen, The New York Times, 23 August 1996

[20] Senator wants to change Italy’s national anthem – to opera, by Anna Momigliano, Christian Science Monitor, 24 April 2009

[21] ibid

[22] http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/lega nord

[23] Italy creates anti-immigrant vigilante ‘patrols’, by Leigh Phillips

[24] ibid

[25] Roma in Italy: ‘We are not maggots’, by Hugh Edwards



<   >