The letter is a response to a piece of utter nonsense from Michael Graham, who runs Roker Report.
In Michael Graham’s Love will Tear US APART feature at the end of last season he asserts that the debate over Di Canio is now ‘mostly settled’ because Sunderland beat the Mags 3-0. Well not in my household I have to say, where as the new season approaches myself and my son will be making arrangements to watch any other side than Sunderland until the Italian fascist departs. And I am in contact with plenty of other Sunderland fans that are also doing the same. Indeed when I wore a Love Sunderland Hate Di Canio t-shirt at the recent Durham Miners’ Gala I received overwhelming support that ran 20 to 1 in my favour.
Graham mentions a debate. Well it was one that was fairly easy to win as Di Canio had ample opportunities to refute his previous admittance that he was a fascist by using just five words – I am not a fascist. He refused to do so.
What Di Canio did was to issue a statement "I am not a racist and I do not support the ideology of fascism," that his fascist friends know means absolutely nothing, as back when he made his fascist salutes to Lazio fans in 2005 he responded to after-match criticism by saying: “ I will continue my battle for freedom even with more determination than before. I will do so in appropriate places until I have strength in my body. From today I will avoid certain situations such as public displays of the salute but the people who share certain values know when I looked them in the eyes that I am not the kind of person who has second thoughts.”
Di Canio subsequently demonstrated he couldn’t even keep his commitment to ‘avoid certain situations’ by openly attending in 2010 the funeral of one of his best friends, Paolo Signorelli, who was known as the ‘Black (shirt) professor.’ In the 60s Signorelli helped found the New Order fascist organisation that regularly committed atrocities such as the Bologna train bombing that slaughtered 85 members of the public in 1980.
So by his words and actions it’s clear Di Canio is a fascist. Some Sunderland fans have said ‘so what, we are not interested in politics.’ I can accept that view a lot more easily than the attempt by Graham to paint a rather rosy of that horrible little man, Mussolini. Graham twists himself in knots attempting to show he wasn’t so bad in the context of the times. To be honest I am slightly sad he didn’t mention he got the trains to run on time.
What are we to make of nonsense such as he ‘won the support of the working class through legitimate leadership.” So organising a coup d’etat, then rigging and getting rid of elections before killing and imprisoning your political opponents is legitimate leadership! Eradicating all forms of working class self-organisation such as trade unions meant he was a dictator of a police state. Graham can’t even bring himself to state this in his article.
There was no intrinsic racial policy to Italian fascism? What therefore are we to make of Mussolini’s statement in 1928 that he feared ‘the whole White race, the Western race can be submerged by other coloured races which are multiplying at a rate unknown to our race?” In 1938 he told a Rome audience after the invasion of Ethiopia: “This is why the racial laws of the empire will be rigorously observed and that all who sin against them will be expelled, punished, imprisoned. Because for the empire to be preserved the natives must be clearly and forcefully aware of our superiority.” There are hundreds of similar quotes that Graham has ignored. All of which rather casts doubt on his claims to be a historian.
To claim such a title is quite something. Unless I am mistaken it would mean Graham is a person who studies and writes about the past and is regarded as an authority on it. That’s the general definition. I can find nothing anywhere for Michael Graham to make such a claim. The only historian with such a name specialises in flute history. As far as I know the ALS writer has no books or papers published in his name on history.
Former Sunderland season ticket holder
Hate Di Canio