Shalom Life | April 22, 2014

Italian Politician Mocks Primo Levi Holocaust Poem

Beppe Grillo, head of an anti-establishment movement, released the parody on his blog that Jewish activists have labelled an 'obscenity'

By: Graham Sigurdson

Published: April 18th, 2014 in News » World

In Italy, Beppe Grillo, an Italian comic who is now a politician, has refused to apologize for a parody of a Primo Levi Holocaust poem that he posted on his personal blog, criticizing Italy’s government and current political system.

The poem, which was intended as parody, has been called an “obscenity” by Italian-Jewish leader Renzo Gattegna.

Grillo is the head of the anti-establishment Five Stars movement, and paraphrased Levi’s “If this is a poem,” which serves as an introduction to Levi’s memoir of his time spent in Auschwitz. The parody is titled “If This is a Country,” and mocks the Italian media, President Giorgio Napolitano, the Italian government, and disgraced (former) Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

Additionally, Grillo posted a photo of the entrance to Auschwitz which was altered to read “P2 Macht Frei,” which refers to the Secret P2 Masonic Lodge, which was banned in the 1980's after being found that hundreds of politicians and ‘elites’ were members.

Gattegna, who is the president of the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI) called the post “a criminal desecration of the value of memoir and the memoir of millions of innocent victims” that “offends all of Italy,” adding that the post was an “infamous provocation” which was being used to “goad the lowest anti-Semitic sentiments and ride the popular discontent that grows stronger in these times of crisis."

Grillo refused to apologize, saying Gattegna was “stupid, ignorant, not very intelligent and harms the community,” also saying that “When you touch the powerful, these things surface, these lobbies, lobbies of business. It is they who hide behind certain tragedies.”

Not so subtle who he's referring to there.

Grillo’s blog can be found at: http://www.beppegrillo.it/en/. He has received support from Renzo Piano, Dario Fo, Joseph E. Stiglitz, and the Dalai Lama.

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