The Columbus controversy is fast becoming the litmus test for our so-called “community.” Anyone paying attention across the nation is finding out who the real Italic people are – and I mean that ethnically and spiritually.
I get reports from Italic Institute associates around the country, and I want to share with you the true picture of the type of Italian American leadership currently in place. If one phrase best describes these leaders it is “white-flag Italians”- men and women who refuse to come out of hiding or have totally surrendered to the first revisionist they can find.
Here on the East Coast, we have two professors who head Italian Studies program, darlings of social media and seemingly dedicated to our best interests. Oddly enough, one is a Jewish Italian American and the other Irish-American.
Stanislao Pugliese is a long-time Hofstra University professor with whom we have locked horns on a number of occasions. My acquaintance with him began in 1997 when I read a letter he wrote to Newsday at the time of the Storia Segreta Congressional hearing in Washington. While our community was looking for justice in the 1942 persecution of Italian Americans, Pugliese undermined that struggle by writing that our grandparents were accomplices to Fascism since they supported the regime during the 1920s and 1930s. This year, Pugliese is encouraging our community to dump Columbus and replace him with folks like Mother Cabrini, Sacco & Vanzetti, or the eccentric fellow who erected the Watts Towers in Los Angeles from junk and debris.
Pugliese has been joined in this quest by William Connell of Seton Hall. We are not sure if Connell has any Italian blood, but he is certainly an Italophile with solid academic credentials. Unfortunately, both Pugliese and Connell don’t grasp the fact that Columbus Day is about exploration and extraordinary discovery – that’s why it’s a federal holiday. Who in Congress in their right mind would replace the man who launched the modern world with two anarchists, a nun, or a Rube Goldberg? It would be the best argument for Indigenous Peoples Day.
On a deeper level, why are these two professors acting as spokesmen for the Italic People when they technically aren’t from our gene pool? In the case of Pugliese, Jewish scholars assert that Italian Jews are “Italkim,” one of the branches of diaspora Jews. No doubt there was some interbreeding of Italkim with Italians (my own DNA has a 4% match with today’s mixed Jews). But the point is what gall (or chutzpah) must these two men have to use their positions in academia to surrender our Columbus? Would they expect me to stick my fingers in their heritage?
On the West Coast, our associate Ken Borelli sent me newspaper clippings on the removal of the Columbus statue from the San Jose City Hall. In what can be described as bait & switch, Mayor Sam Liccardo (yes, one of us) neglected to inform the Italian community of a crucial hearing at which only the militant Brown Berets, a Mexican American group, appeared that night sealing the statue’s doom. Mayor Liccardo was later denounced by Sons of Italy National President Vera Ferrara Girolami. He joins New York’s Mayor Wilhelm (aka DeBlasio) as an enabler of revisionists.
So, whom can we trust among our politicians and academics? It’s like an Invasion of the Italian Heritage Snatchers – trust no one. -JLM