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Army s'agapo

 

 

In Greece

 The Italian occupation army in Greece was called "armata s'gapo" (σαγαπάω = I love you), as it was more focused on seducing local girls than suppressing Greek partisans. However, historians have clarified that Italians did engage in fighting and cruelly suppressing Greek partisan movements. These episodes were generally limited to remote mountainous areas, while the majority of Italian soldiers never truly fought in Greece. This fact was initially forgotten but later highlighted in successful films, especially "Mediterraneo" and "Captain Corelli's Mandolin."

Certainly, making love instead of war is an attractive slogan from an anti-militaristic perspective. However, it raises questions about whether the characters in "Mediterraneo" are genuinely anti-militaristic or simply prefer love over war for its pleasure. The film seems to neglect the dangers and sacrifices that come with anti-militarism. Italian soldiers, portrayed in the movie, seem to prefer ignoring the global tragedy to focus solely on love and themselves.

The term "armata s'agapo" doesn't suit a wartime army, regardless of its motivation. The term itself was coined disparagingly by the English and was also perceived as such by Italian authorities in the 1950s, leading to the prohibition of a film on the subject. In the face of war's tragedy, the soldiers seem more interested in romantic relationships than confronting enemies. This is akin to the master trying to seduce the beautiful worker.

The term "s'agapo" is romantic because "agape" in Greek carries a lofty meaning; in Christianity, "agape" refers to love in a religious sense, often replaced by the Latin "caritas" with the same meaning (to be dear). Passion, on the other hand, might be referred to as "eros."

 

In Italy

 It's unlikely that Americans can be labeled the "armata l love you"; they were perceived as crude and vulgar, seeking only sex. In Northern Italy, there was partisan struggle, republicanism, reprisals, and significant political fervor. In the South, however, a different scenario unfolded. A mass of men (young and without women) descended upon a starving population.

They had an exaggerated amount of food (canned goods), and inevitably, some women (not all) fed their families and themselves by prostituting. This is depicted by authors like Malaparte in "La Pelle." Some "black Neapolitans" were born, including a famous jazz player, Senese, inspiring the renowned "Tammurriata Nera." Some lucky women were even married and went to America.

The phenomena of prostitution and moral decline are masterfully narrated by Eduardo, Moravia, and Malaparte and in all the memoirs of that time. The arrival of the Americans also led to a crisis in traditional ethics and customs, as highlighted by Eduardo in "Napoli Milionaria."

We cannot solely blame the Americans for the general moral decline that typically occurs in such situations. It can be argued that, in this way, Italians opened up to a more modern world. The subsequent economic miracle and cultural fervor happened later and were associated more with the American occupation of the South than the North.

There was a mass rape in Ciociaria by the so-called "Moroccans" (actually Algerian Berbers enlisted in the French army), but it was an isolated incident. However, it doesn't compare to the mass rapes committed by the Japanese in Nanking, the Germans in Russia, or the Red Army advancing on Berlin (even pregnant women were violated in hospitals). In conclusion, wars have always imposed additional costs on women, subjecting them to both brute force and the necessity of having sex with foreigners, followed by contempt and shame from their compatriots for doing so.