Ian Maclaren - Wikipedia
"Drastic action is called for – and justified – when you find yourself in a particularly difficult situation. English equivalent: Even in paradise it is not good to be alone. . Meaning: "It is impossible to do something that everybody will approve of. .. to go on fighting and lose – by a strategic retreat you can return to the battle or. When the struggle was over, Sicily became the first piece of the Axis homeland . forces to meet what he anticipated would be fierce Axis resistance. . After a day of heavy fighting, Patton decided to reinforce his battle-weary center with went to great lengths to inform everyone of the impending nighttime. The aphorist Ian McLaren, according to this site (Page on dayline.info) first coined the phrase. It means to be aware that other people struggle, not always visibly, just as you do, and to extend them some sympathy because of it. I prefer the variant that says everyone is.
A mist had enveloped the farmhouse. Through the whiteness, the hillside echoed with the clink of sheep bells and the "Ga-Ga-Ga! After breakfast, Francesco from Libera Terra arrived to take me on an educational "anti-mafia" tour.
In the public imagination, nowhere is most associated with the mafia than Corleone. It once had the highest murder rate in the world - violent deaths between and - inspiring American novelist Mario Puzo to borrow the town's name for his fictional crime family in The Godfather. Its notoriety was perpetuated by the success of The Godfather films and when local boy Salvatore "the beast" Riina rose to become the boss of bosses in Since then - despite the opening of the anti-mafia museum Museo Anti-Mafia and the arrest on-the-run boss Provenzano in - the town has struggled to rid itself of its mafia image, and recently even proposed changing its name.
Mafia tours are considered distasteful in Corleone. No scenes for The Godfather were shot here - tours focus on the film locations around Savoca on the east coast.
In Corleone, only Bar Central still cashes in with bottles of yellow amaro liqueur with its own Il Padrino Godfather label. They eat cannoli, photograph old men in the street and think: Outside the Casa Del Popolo, the old Communist party headquarters, four pensioners sat in the sun, dressed in heavy tweed suits and peaked caps. The men guided us to a nearby mountain pass, where, on May 1they witnessed the massacre of 11 contadini peasants when the mafia fired on a Labour Day celebration.
Mario Nicosia, an agile 89 year old with pale blue eyes, and Zerafino Petta pointed to the craggy limestone outcrop where the shots were fired.
Eight kilometres north of Corleone, the agriturismo is set on the abandoned estate of Salvatore Riina: In the 80s, the Corleonesi bosses ruled Palermo as fugitives hiding out in remote cottages in the wilderness. The stone farmhouse with five bedrooms - once privy to whispered murder plots and heroin deals - perches above the green valley of The Dragon's Throat: The estate is run by the Pio La Torre co-operative, named after the Communist leader who first proposed the idea of confiscating the mafia's land and assets - gunned down in Palermo in The hostess is the daughter of the policemen who arrested former Corleone boss Luciano Liggio in Il Mirto e la Rosa "I think the Mafia is afraid of me because I'm a feminist," says restaurant owner Antonella Sgrillo who lectures about pizzo in local schools.
Her restaurant specialises in vegetarian and Sicilian fusion cuisine. Kursaal Kalhesa A European Union-funded project, Kursaal Kalhesa is a wine bar, restaurant, bookstore and travel agency within an Arabic palace in the Kalsa neighbourhood. Golosandia Pizzo-free gelato anyone? Sicilians are convinced that ice-cream is good for you; they eat theirs in a brioche or sweet bun as a meal.
Golosandia's ice-creams are homemade with local produce: On the Axis side, General Alfredo Guzzoni was supreme Axis commander in Sicily, though in practice the German disdain for Italian generals extended to him as well as other Italian officers. Guzzoni was actually one of Italy's more competent generals, having seen action in France and Africa, but not particularly gifted as a strategist.
Personally, he commanded the Italian Sixth Army and related units --a total of nearlymen. Hans Hube commanded some 30, German troops in tank and infantry units. Italian carabinieri units, military forces normally charged with law-enforcement duties, were also placed under Guzzoni's command. Much was at stake, and the battles of Sicily made up in tactics and execution what they lacked in strategy and vision.
The Sicilian Campaign was nothing if not interesting. The rivalry between two great Allied generals, set against a European backdrop in the torrid days of a Mediterranean Summer, has become legendary. Sicily marked the most significant fighting in military history between exclusively American and Italian units, prompting the dismissal of a ruthless dictator.
New kinds of equipment were used, and new kinds of alliances --such as the behind-the-scenes participation of the Mafia. The Italians' tactics in Ethiopia and elsewhere were characterized by every form of disingenuous treachery and cruel atrocity, from the use of poison gas to the use of Nazi-style reprisals against civilians.
Now, in Sicily, Guzzoni found himself commanding the true face of Italy's military --a demoralized, poorly-armed force consisting primarily of poorly-trained, poorly-educated farm boys led by unmotivated officers who one author characterized as "playboys" more interested in wine, women and song than patriotic service facing a worthy adversary of nearly equal numerical strength and far superior firepower.
These were hardly unprepared Ethiopians, Greeks, Albanians or Serbs, but highly motivated, well-equipped troops led by competent generals intent on making Sicily an example for both Mussolini and Hitler, and despite propaganda to the contrary the Italians could not readily deny the significance of a foreign power bombing and then invading Italy. By the Summer ofthe Italians had been defeated almost everywhere; only in certain Balkan regions and a tiny part of southeastern France did they still occupy any foreign territory, and this was soon to change.
The false Italian nationalism imposed by Fascism was already crumbling long before the Allies touched Sicilian shores. A team of Americans of Sicilian ancestry acted as interpreters. It has been suggested that the Americans, whose army included many Italian descendants the largest single "ethnic" group among American drafteesgenerally were more kindly disposed to the Italians than to the Germans, but there is little evidence to support this theory. Army film produced by Frank Capra, himself an immigrant he was born in Palermopaints Mussolini's Italy with the same brush used to depict Hitler's Germany.
It is human nature to hold some affinity for one's own kin, but few of the U. Army's Italo-Americans had ever met their Italian cousins or set foot in Italy. When they did, most were appalled at the abject poverty and squalor they encountered in Italian towns and cities --some thirty years after many of their parents or grandparents had emigrated-- and astounded that any nation which had threatened weaker ones with such arrogance might fall so easily in the face of American resolve.
The Landings The plan called for British troops to land in the southeastern region near Syracuse Siracusawith American forces controlling a landing zone westward in the Gulf of Gela. On the night of July, almost half a million Allied soldiers, sailors and airmen, with an armada of vessels, began the assault on Sicily, using various transport ships and even gliders.
By morning, the Axis command near Palermo knew of the landings. Pantelleria and Lampedusa had fallen, and reconnaissance flights had spotted part of the invasion force the day before. The Italians and Germans raced to the landing area. As it was beyond the range of Allied aircraft, Messina was not initially a bombing objective, but the Gerbini airfields on the Plain of Catania were targeted early in the campaign, to be captured or --if necessary-- destroyed.
By daybreak, fighting had begun. Apart from the coastal areas, Gela and Licata were the first populated localities to see it, though inland Comiso was soon secured. It had been predicted that German forces would fight fiercely, and this was the case. Montgomery's prediction that the Italians would be tenacious now that they were defending home territory proved true only in isolated circumstances, particularly when they were fighting closely alongside the Germans.
They offered little resistance the first sunny day of the attacks, and by the end of the day Syracuse, Ragusa and Noto were under British control, while the Americans grappled with a strong German tank advance. German aircraft also posed a threat. Still, a beachhead had been established; it was about four miles deep and extended along some fifty miles of coastline. The Allied success could be found in the numbers.
By the end of the first day of fighting, the Seventh Army had taken 4, enemy prisoners while suffering 58 of its own men killed, wounded and missing some were captured by the Germans during a strong tank and infantry advance. On the second day, fighting was particularly fierce, with the German tank divisions advancing into the American lines. The Push Inland Within three days of the initial landings 13 Julythe push inland had begun and Niscemi had been captured by the Americans while the British took Vizzini.
But here the campaign began to take an unexpected turn. As the Americans steadily pushed northward and westward against both German and Italian forces, the British were now encountering German ones in the hills leading to the Plain of Catania with its airfields.
In response, Montgomery requested that Alexander authorize British units to move westward in an effort to encircle the Germans, into the zone designated for the Americans.
Alexander approved the move, removing the city of Enna from the American zone. It was always presumed that the American Seventh Army would play a supporting role to that of the British Eighth, which was more experienced in African combat against the Germans. What annoyed Patton was Montgomery's opinion that his seasoned troops were superior to the Americans, and Alexander's decision to extend the British zone westward only seemed to confirm this belief.
The Allies' objective was Messina, where the Axis were to be stopped before they could retreat across the Strait of Messina into Calabria. Unfortunately, Alexander's orders provoked controversy because they effectively required the Americans to wait for the British to reach the road leading northward to Enna, giving the Axis time to reinforce their position by establishing a defensive line in a favorable position.
The underlying problem in all this chaos was that Alexander's strategy was never clearly defined, thus leaving open the possibility of the Sicilian campaign becoming a vaguely-planned series of battles left to "micro-managers" surrounded by mountainous terrain.
Patton supported by his generals solicited Alexander's permission to conduct reconnaissance in the Agrigento area, just beyond the current front line. With Agrigento taken on 15 July, he requested authorization to proceed westward.
Alexander agreed, but soon sent revised orders for Patton to move northward to cover Montgomery's flank. Patton's staff later claimed that these were "garbled. Hube and Guzzoni themselves were in eastern Sicily. Even today, the concept of "eastern versus western" Sicily has strange implications for Sicilians. Two small but historical cities little known outside Sicily straddle a socio-political "divide" in the island's rugged interior. Mountaintop Enna is considered "eastern" while Caltanissetta, just twenty miles to the west, is part of "western" Sicily.
People residing in Enna gravitate toward Catania, while those in Caltanissetta often work or study in Palermo. Some brief but intense fighting at the Fonduto Pass was the most notable action against Italian troops in this region of west-central Sicily.
Other American units sped northward in a "cavalry charge" toward the Madonie Mountains and westward toward Marsala, meeting with little serious resistance. By this time, most of the German units in western Sicily had already moved along the northern coast toward Messina. A sociological point overlooked by many historians is that Allied action in western Sicily brought two predominantly Roman Catholic armies --Italian and American-- into direct engagement, a rare event in the Second World War.
The Americans' advance was to see some bizarre developments. In at least two incidents, overzealous Americans mowed down groups of unarmed German prisoners with machine gun fire. Advancing inland with his troops, Patton encountered some Americans helping an Italian farmer push a stubborn mule off a narrow road. Annoyed, the general got out of his jeep, drew one of his revolvers and shot the animal, remarking that his Army would not be delayed by an ass!
But perhaps the most unusual incident involved a unit sent with special orders to Villalba, a town of no strategic importance in the province of Caltanissetta.
Their orders were to contact a rustic MafiosoCalogero Vizzini, for information which would make it easier with the help of "anti-Fascist" criminals to govern Sicily in the months to come. Many burned their party membership cards. Events in Rome On the morning of 19 July Rome was bombed for the first time in its history. Railroad yards were targeted but some bombs hit civilian areas, killing people and wounding many more.
Almost overnight, the bombing of the capital and the removal of the dictator, coupled with news of an impending and humiliating defeat in Sicily, drove many common Italians to isolate, harass --or even kill-- a number of locally prominent Fascists. In Sicily, effects of this sudden revolt were less than those in other parts of the country.
Sicilian Fascist party offices in various localities were sacked, but in truth these were already largely abandoned during the first days of the invasion. Deprived of American support, they suffered heavy losses, and it was probably then that Montgomery, who was always highly sensitive to the matter of battlefield casualties, began to resent Patton's bravado. The poorly coordinated Anglo-American efforts at the Kassarine Pass had not helped matters. The drive to Messina was taking longer than what had been envisaged, and only on 23 July did the Eighth Army near Catania.
There wasn't much fighting around Palermo. In some cases, Italian commanding officers in areas such as the Madonie Mountains east of the city actually ordered their subordinates not to fire on the Americans. A day later, Patton would arrive in Palermo. The last German soldier, holding out in a small pillbox bunker outside the hilltop town of Altofonte formerly "Parco"was handily disposed of and the American "cavalry charge" to Palermo began in earnest from high ground around Altofonte and Monreale.
The orders of the day were explicit: Occupy the city, and along the way commandeer the army and carabinieri bases to the south of the old city, destroying any resistance. Third, commandeer the jails and the main prison Ucciardonefreeing certain political prisoners, particularly several high-ranking Mafiosi whose collaboration was promised by their associates to ensure smooth administration.
Last, but hardly least, in fulfilling a personal promise made by President Roosevelt to King George, free the "Anglo-Italian" families at Palermo, the Whitakers prominent among them, at all costs and wherever in the city they were, and liberate the Anglican pastor and his church confiscated under a Fascist law prohibiting British ownership of property.
It happened that no British were actually imprisoned and the church was in good condition except for a few windows destroyed during a bomb blast.
The Whitakers offered the Americans the use of their palatial residences. Palermo is considered by historians to be the world's most conquered city, occupied by Carthaginians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Normans, Angevins, Aragonese and others, but nowhere else in the Second World War was any city conquered so quickly and easily, without even token resistance.
The Palermitans rejoiced en masse, welcoming the American jeeps and trucks along the rubble of their narrow old streets. In the Anglican church, now restored to its proper owners, a memorial mass was celebrated for fallen Americans, attended by General Patton and other officers. The rapport with the Catholic Church in Italy was more complicated, despite covert American relations with the Vatican.
Palermo, of course, was full of churches, and only two were not Catholic the other one was the Waldensian church. The American ranks were overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, but so were those of the Italian Army --whose military chaplains had rarely officially spoken against atrocities witnessed in Africa and the Balkans. An infamous incident occurred in occupied Yugoslavia, where the massacre of Orthodox Christians took place in a concentration camp with the knowledge --and possible collaboration-- of Franciscans, notably Father Miroslav Filipovic, who supported the establishment of a "Kingdom of Croatia" as an Italian-Fascist puppet state.
Despite a weakly-worded encyclical criticising certain Fascist policies, the Vatican had never taken a strong official position against Mussolini's government, with which it had signed the Lateran Treaties in Even in Sicily, high-ranking clergy sometimes took questionable positions; before the invasion a Sicilian bishop had actually preached against the Americans, though the opportunistic Archbishop Lavitrano of Palermo whose closeness to Fascism and the House of Savoy did not go unnoticed was almost as cordial with Patton as he had been with the Fascists.
All of this left the moral situation of many ordinary Italians ambiguous; their nation's position was weak but so, it seemed, was their Church's.
Later, in the partisans' northern Italian war, such sentiments would fuel the fires of Communism and anti-clericalism. Overzealous Italian partisans killed a number of priests for alleged collaboration with Fascism.
In September, when an aged monarch changed sides, Italy's ambivalent position became truly ridiculous. For now, it seemed slightly bizarre that both the American chaplains and the Italian ones had believed in the concept of a "just war. Could both sides be right? Yes, war was Hell.
A further irony was that many of the people welcoming the Americans as liberators had close male kin who had fought against them in Africa, many never to return. This was not the only affront to Sicilian dignity such as it was. The wholesale prostitution of Palermitan women to American soldiers was shocking, particularly considering that most of the young women in question had never formally prostituted themselves before, if indeed many had ever been intimately involved with any man.
Even where actual prostitution was not an issue, Sicilian men rushed to betroth their daughters to Italo-Americans. Almost immediately, the occupation government had to contend with acute food shortages further afield the Americans provided drugs to cure malaria and a generally unruly populace. Chi he sano e da pie del Sultano. Good health is above wealth. Chi ha nome, ha robe English equivalent: A good name is the best of all treasures. Concise Dictionary of European Proverbs Abbreviated ed.
Chi da giovane ha un vizio, in vecchiaia fa sempre quell'uffizio. Old habits die hard.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.” —Plato | dayline.info
Dictionary of European Proverbs, Volym 1. Chi dorme non piglia pesci. Those who sleep don't catch any fish. Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise. Retrieved on 5 September Chi due lepri caccia, l'una non piglia e l'altra lascia. Grasp all, lose all Strauss, Emmanuel He who works by himself does the work of three people. If you want something done right, do it yourself. Dizionario del dialetto veneziano. Chi lascia la via vecchia per la nuova, sa quel che lascia, ma non sa quel che trova.
Chi mal pensa, mal abbia.