Letter to Chicago Magazine,
As educators, we believe that history is complex. And we also believe
that Scott Ackman and Christopher Schwarz had an obvious ax to grind via their
simplistic dismissal of Italian aviator Italo Balbo in the August issue ("Dubious
Far from being a "Fascist thug," Balbo argued against
Mussolini's eventual political alliance with Hitler. And he--as well as other
high ranking Fascist officials--also publicly resisted Italy's rarely enforced
1938 anti-Semitic laws. It was these types of bold actions, as well as his
amazing flight, that made Balbo so admired both in Italy and around the world.
To remove the Balbo monument(s) is akin to promoting public censorship.
The statue represents a fascinating chapter of Chicago and world history. And
it also invites citizens to take a balanced, nuanced look at a political movement
that has been unfairly linked to Communism and Nazism, systems that were far
more murderous and evil.
Bill Dal Cerro
Italic Institute of America