Global, Politics

American Militarism and Le donne di Vicenza

“E noi che siamo donne, paura non abbiamo
La base non vogliamo, la base non vogliamo.”
And we who are women are not afraid
We don’t want the base, we don’t want the base.

This past Saturday saw the Italian town of Vicenza embroiled in a fierce protest, with up to 200,000 residents taking to the streets to voice their opposition to the planned US military base to open in their town. The Atlantic Free Press reports:

The women singing and chanting at the head of the massive march on February 17 in the picturesque Italian town of Vicenza have been fighting to stop a U.S. military base from being built in their community….Unlike campaigns organized by activists or political parties, this movement sprang from the community itself. The main organizers are Italian women, many of them housewives who were outraged when they learned that a US military base would be built on the site of an old airfield called Dal Molin. The old airfield, which is now a green space, is right next to their homes and is less than two miles from the city’s historic center.
Many residents also worry that the new base will make Vicenza a target for a terrorist attack. “With the Bush policies causing so much resentment in the world, such a large base could get us caught up in Bush’s wars,” said Vicenza resident Anna Faggi.

The expansion would effectively raise American military presence in the area over 60% to 4,500, and the new base is being planned to be able to “house the full 173rd Airborne Brigade”, a “quick response force” for Europe.
While this project is part of a larger initiative to reduce American military presence in Europe, the new base is scheduled to cost $576 million and be completed by 2011.
These protestors are not people who are anti-American, they are only people who want their city — which was already dedicated a “world heritage site” by UNESCO in 1994 for its architecture — to be used for peaceful purposes, for purposes they determine themselves, without another military base. They are residents who feel betrayed by their government. An additional American presence is not the problem, as one resident stated:

Gina Masi, a 17-year-old from Vicenza dressed in punk-style black with lots of spiked metal, came running up to me afterwards, in tears. “Please tell your people that we are not anti-American,” she insisted. “Look at me. My clothes are American, the music I love is American. Even my boots are American Eagle. But we want to relate to Americans through culture and music, not military bases and war.”

Unfortunately, some Americans don’t want to be related to positively.
To aid these women in their wonderful, worthwhile cause of helping to stop the spread of American global militarism, email [email protected] to offer your help.

4 thoughts on “American Militarism and Le donne di Vicenza

  1. “Wonderful”? Without “American global militarism” there wouldn’t be a modern Italy. (Though there might be an Italian Soviet Socialist Republic or a Mussolinesque equivalent). A little less American Eagle and a little more geopolitical conversance would be a good start for the protestors. Though perhaps this is just standard-issue (and understandable) NIMBYism…

  2. Ciao,
    I lived in Italy for three years about five years ago, at Lago di Fimon. I lived among the Italian people and shared their time and company as well as having access to the Caserme Ederle facilities. I spent many good days downtown and got to know many shopkeeepers and Italian citizens, as well as the Sud Tirol area where I spent a good deal of time. I share the dismay of the people of Vicenza over this new expansion at Dal Molin. The people and the City do not need another influx of troops and dependents (perhaps 20000 in all) to overurn them. I hold that we veterans who have served our country have a right to posit an opinion. Those who have not served their country speak with a hollow voice. Instead of berating a young girl to become conversant in history, arrogant Americans of the GWB mold should learn to keep their arrogant opinons to themselves. The City of Vicenza does not need SUVs and Pickup trucks by the dozens, nor do they need arrogant Americans. There are already 22 bases in Italy, enough to deem the threat of colonization. Americans need to withdraw and allow Europe and Europeans to take care of their own countries. We are now engaged in a war that has entered the fifth year, and the situation there is as dismal and lost as the 10 year plus venture in Vietnam. Enough.

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