-- by Dave
Here in Seattle we've all been somewhat riveted by the ongoing tragic saga of Amanda Knox, a University of Washington student studying overseas and facing murder charges in Italy for her role in the knife slaying of her British roommate. At this point -- considering how damning the evidence against her is -- the general hope simply is that justice properly plays itself out.
But I don't think anyone quite expected to see Knox being played as a poster child for the anti-immigrant campaign of an Italian neo-fascist party:
- A poster has appeared for Forza Nuova - a right-wing party shamelessly cashing in on the martial imagery of Mussolini's Fascism - which uses a photo montage of Amanda Knox and Rudy Hermann Guede, the two foreigners being held by police over the recent murder of British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, to sell the line 'Against all drugs'.
The FN calls for a return to the old values of 'God, Fatherland and Family' and an end to distinctions between hard and soft drugs. It disapproves of inter-racial sex and demands the "immediate repatriation by force of every foreigner who is not in Italy for work useful to our nation". The echoes of the old regime are obvious.
Forza Nuova doesn't yet have a great draw at the polls - though it does have plenty of adherents prepared to use violence on Italy's football terraces - but two mainstream parties have been launched in Italy in the past six weeks that are also making populist appeals. Both are borrowing the slogans and appeals to fear of the more extremist parties, though dressing them up with greater subtlety - the great trick of Mussolini, who knew how to press the populist buttons and maintain the illusion of democracy.
I guess Tom Tancredo isn't the only anti-immigration fanatic who likes to associate immigrants with criminals. Funny how easily that shoe can fit on other feet.
[Hat tip to Mike M.]