There have been a lot of claims recently, especially from Italian politicians of the Right, that "Italy is not a racist country." Others, like the Catholic Church* and many foreigners actually living in the country beg to differ. This argument stretches back to the time of Mussolini with claims that he was not anti-Semitic (even becoming an academic issue), that he tried to counter Hitler's race policies and fought their introduction in Italy. However, last November's publication of his mistress Claretta Petacci's diary finally nailed that lie. She even quotes him of boasting "I have been a racist since 1921. I don't know how they can think I'm imitating Hitler," in 1938 prior to the introduction of the Manifesto della razza.
The reason we bring this up again is the news that iMussolini, an iPhone application which allows users to download Mussolini's speeches on video, is being withdrawn due to a legal dispute. The significance of this is that it is Italy's top rated iPhone app, selling more than 1,000 per day during the first week and quickly becoming the best-selling iPhone application on Apple's Italian on-line store. A quick look at the ratings of iL Duce's videos on You Tube, where you don't need to go to the expense of actually owning an iPhone, shows just how popular those speeches still are. Interestingly, of all his speeches, the rather ambiguous 'discorso contro razzismo tedesco' (speech against racism) seems to be the one that carries the most dissenting comments from his posthumous supporters, especially when compared to the videos where he announces and justifies the Manifesto della razza.
See also: Ku Klux Clan.
* L'Osservatore Romano (semi-official newspaper of the Vatican) editorial: "Italy needs to deal with its racism, it is a weeping sore that needs to be treated." "Not only are they disgusting in themselves, but the incidents which dominate the news at the moment take us back to a dumb and savage hate towards another skin colour which we thought we had left behind."